COVID-19: July 2, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
July 2 Coronavirus Update
I want to be one of the first to wish you and your family a happy Independence Day! I hope you have a moment to take time this weekend to reflect on our shared American values. For every great challenge facing the nation throughout our history, we have persevered by coming together and working toward a common good, and the challenge presented by this pandemic is no different.
Today, the Governor announced that we will be entering Phase 3 of reopening, the “Vigilant” phase, on Monday, July 6th. Our public health metrics continue to improve even as more industries reopen, a testament to the commitment of Massachusetts residents to follow all rules and guidelines, continuing to put their own and their neighbors’ health and safety first. On July 1, the 7-day average for daily new cases was 219, down from 574 on June 1 and 1,906 on May 1. More detail on the changes in Phase 3 can be found below, but the key changes are that more indoor-focused businesses, including movie theaters and museums, will be reopening with safety guidance, and indoor gatherings can now involve up to 25 individuals, provided that no more than 8 people per 1,000 square feet gather in any one space.
There will be no newsletter tomorrow, and I hope you have a restful, reflective, and safe holiday weekend.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 195 new reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 109,338 total cases and 51 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 214, and the average number of deaths is 30.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.8%.
- 681 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 79 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.
- Hospital Capacity: As of 7/2, 34% of the Commonwealth’s 12,500 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 7/2, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,497 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,141 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.
- For information on COVID-19 testing and guidance on whether you should get tested, how to get tested, and where to get tested, visit the COVID-19 testing portal at mass.gov/gettested.
- Phase 3 (“Vigilant”) of the Commonwealth’s phased reopening plan begins on Monday, July 6th. A list of industries authorized to reopen in Phase 3 can be found below (including sector-specific guidance where available), and more information on Phase 3 can be found here.
- In Phase 3, visitation guidelines have been updated for congregate care facilities and programs overseen by state agencies, as well as long-term care facilities. Health care providers are allowed to provide additional non-essential care in Phase 3 as well. Complete visitation guidance and health care guidance is available at mass.gov/hhs/reopening.
- Under the updated gatherings order, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space. Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25 percent of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 100 people in a single enclosed outdoor space, but this limit not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible. The updated order goes into effect on Monday, July 6 for most municipalities and Monday, July 13 in Boston.
- If you have questions about whether a business is able to reopen and when remaining industries will be reopening, visit this page. As always, you can submit questions or comments to the Reopening Advisory Board here.
- You can find this week’s DPH report on town-by-town COVID-19 testing and case numbers here, as well as counts of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities across the Commonwealth. Our towns’ numbers are below (through 7/1):
- Holliston: 56 (+0)
- Hopkinton: 125 (+4)
- Southborough: 41 (+0)
- Westborough: 335 (-1)*
- In compliance with the new statewide data collection law, DPH has also begun reporting COVID-19 testing and infection rates at all state facilities, including state hospitals and congregate care facilities. You can find that report here.
- The weekly report to the Supreme Judicial Court of COVID-19 testing and positive cases at jails and corrections facilities can be found here.
- The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a detailed report on the requirements for reopening K-12 education this week, requiring school districts to prepare for scenarios that include continuing fully remote instruction, fully in-person instruction, or hybrid instruction. That report can be accessed here.
- Comprehensive summer school operation guidance for K-12 students was also released this week and can be downloaded on the DESE COVID-19 page.
- UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell both released reopening plans this week, along with many other public and private colleges and universities across Massachusetts. For detailed reopening plans, visit your higher education institution’s website.
- The House and Senate voted to approve final language on early and mail-in voting legislation, which will allow for all MA voters to receive applications for early mail-in voting ballots, create expanded early voting options, and allow for more flexible operation of polling places for the fall statewide elections. It now travels to the Governor for his signature.
- This week, the House voted to approve $200 million in Chapter 90 roads and bridges repair funding, which will be distributed to cities and towns based on the existing formula which accounts for road miles, population, and employment. Our towns’ apportionments for FY21 can be found below:
- Holliston: $510,53
- Hopkinton: $639,701
- Southborough: $434,459
- Westborough: $788,542
- The House also passed legislation to create a legislative commission to investigate and report in racial disparities in maternal health, a field with dramatic inequities nationwide in outcomes for women of color. This legislation now travels to the Senate for consideration.
- On the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, which included $10 billion for structural upgrades and facility improvements for child care programs, an initiative spearheaded by Congresswoman Katherine Clark. The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
*Data cleaning processes occasionally identify and remove duplicate reports, which can lead to a reported “drop” in total case numbers.
All of the towns in the 8th Middlesex District now have centralized COVID-19 resource pages with resources, updates, and alerts regarding town services.
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 resources: https://carolyndykema.com/covid19-state-resources
Department of Unemployment Assistance: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance
Department of Transitional Assistance: https://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.
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.