COVID-19: July 28, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
July 28 Coronavirus Update
One of the most critical challenges we face as we continue to experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability to safely and effectively continue to provide non-COVID-19-related health care to those who need it. Our hospitals, doctor’s offices, dentists’ offices, and supplementary care providers have worked incredibly hard to preserve access to high-quality care while protecting patients.
Health care providers receive detailed guidance on safe operations from the statewide Department of Public Health and Office of Health and Human Services. As more in-person services resume in Phase 3 of reopening, you can review safety guidance for providers and types of care in a dedicated section of the Reopening MA website. Providers can also find information on purchasing adequate PPE supplies online as well, a critical component of this effort. The $1.1 billion supplementary budget passed by the Legislature and signed into law earlier this month included $350 million for PPE, over $200 million for human service providers, and $44 million for contact tracing efforts
This week, the MA House is also voting on legislation that makes changes to our health care system to support services that have been essential to our health care system both before and during the pandemic, including expanding access to telehealth, guaranteeing insurance coverage of all COVID-19 care, and increasing supplemental payments to community hospitals. Continuing to identify critical areas for improvement in our health care system under these uniquely challenging circumstances will help us ensure that we remain #1 in the nation in our quality of health care.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 256 new confirmed and probable positive cases* of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 116,182 total cases and 15 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 307, and the average number of deaths is 14.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.9%.
- 364 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 14 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 7/28, 37% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 40% of the region’s 2,000 beds are available for new patients.
- Long-term care: As of 7/28, there are 373 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,099 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,447 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.
*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.
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.