COVID-19: July 15, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

July 15 Coronavirus Update

As we enter Phase 3 of reopening, state officials are working to ensure that our infrastructure and the resources needed by workers returning to work are accessible and safe. In our region, the commuter rail, which has steeply decreased during the pandemic, will need to offer schedules that meet commuter needs while keeping crowding to a minimum.

The MBTA continues to periodically modify service levels in response to changing demand, and updates schedules and additional service alerts can be found at MBTA.com/covid19. Face coverings are required on all MBTA transportation. This week, the MBTA announced that Green Line and bus service will return to normal fare box collection. Additionally, Keolis reports that Commuter Rail conductors have been instructed to open additional doors and cars to allow for more social distancing and low-contact boarding. For more information on general MBTA safety and sanitization measures, visit the “Ride Safer” FAQ page.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state reported 217 new probable and confirmed cases* of COVID-19, with 112,347 total reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth & 28 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new reported cases over the last 7 days is 249, and the average number of deaths is 18.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.7%.
  • 580 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 28 from yesterday.
  • The Department of Public Health regularly releases a daily reporting dashboard containing detailed information on hospitalizations, demographic data, and county-by-county breakdowns of cases. To view the DPH dashboard, visit here.

Health Care System

  • Hospital Capacity: As of 7/15, 33% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 41% of the region’s 2,200 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 7/15, there are 368 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,759 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,303 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.

NOTE ON DATA: The DPH data dashboard now breaks out confirmed vs. probable cases, with “probable” cases representing those with positive antibody tests. This is why data reported on p. 1 of the dashboard doesn’t appear to “match” the data displayed in the chart above.

Local Resources

All of the towns in the 8th Middlesex District now have centralized COVID-19 resource pages with resources, updates, and alerts regarding town services.

HollistonHopkintonSouthboroughWestborough

The Department of Public Health also releases weekly reports on town-by-town COVID-19 case numbers and rates, which can be found online here.

Resources for Residents Experiencing Job Loss or Loss of Income

COVID-19 is causing broad disruption to the economy which is affecting incomes of many residents and families. There are a number of State resources and supports available to support workers who may find themselves unemployed or otherwise income-constrained during this uncertain time. 

Guide for job/income loss resourceshttps://carolyndykema.com/covid19-state-resources

Department of Unemployment Assistancehttps://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance

Department of Transitional Assistancehttps://www.mass.gov/dta-covid-19-resources-and-support

How You Can Help

Holliston Youth and Family Services requests your support of the Community Action Fund, which provides emergency assistance to those affected by COVID-19. Learn more or donate here.

The Westborough Rotary Club has launched a COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to provide assistance to those affected by COVID-19. Learn more or donate here.

The American Red Cross is asking for blood donations, the need for which is significant due to blood drive cancellations.The need is dire due to the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives. People can donate at the Worcester American Red Cross Donor Center, 381 Plantation St. Worcester or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Some local donor sites, including the Natick Senior Center, are available for appointments as well.

Information on our local food pantries can be found below. The most pressing need right now is cash donations to ensure that food drop-off and delivery do not inadvertently contribute to the spread of the virus.

Holliston Pantry Shelf | Project Just Because | Southborough Food Pantry | Westborough Food Pantry

Current Statewide Advisories

Safer at Home: As of May 18, the statewide stay-at-home advisory is now the  Safer at Home advisory. In many ways, this advisory remains in the same spirit as previous policies: You should practice social distancing and limit your non-essential interactions as much as possible. 

Face Covering: As reopening continues, the statewide face covering advisory remains in effect for public indoor and outdoor spaces in situations where social distancing is not possible. The full advisory and detailed guidance can be found online.

Reopening Guidance: For more information on the state’s phased reopening plan and particular industry-specific guidance, visit mass.gov/reopening. For questions about business reopening timelines, visit this page.

A list of all executive orders in place during the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 state of emergency can be found here.

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