COVID-19: July 29, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
July 29 Coronavirus Update
As we continue our cautious reopening efforts, more individuals are taking public transit again. Bus, subway, and Commuter Rail service continue to operate on modified service patterns and face coverings are required on all MBTA vehicles, but as ridership slowly returns, it is important to stay up to date on the latest news.
This Friday, July 31, and on weekends through August, signal work on the Framingham/Worcester Line will necessitate shuttle busing between Framingham and South Station. Face covering will be required on all shuttle buses and shuttle capacity will be limited to 20 passengers per vehicle to protect rider safety. You can read more about the work being done on the Worcester Line here.
As schedules are being regularly revisited to balance demand and prevent crowding, if you are planning on taking public transit you can visit MBTA.com/covid19 to review the current service levels. If you have questions about safety and hygiene policies on MBTA trains and buses, you can visit the MBTA’s Ride Safer page.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 502 new confirmed and probable positive cases* of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 116,684 total cases and 29 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. (see note.)
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 338, and the average number of deaths is 16.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 2.0%.
- 390 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 26 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 7/29, 34% of the Commonwealth’s 12,600 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 29% of the region’s 2,100 beds are available for new patients.
- Long-term care: As of 7/29, there are 373 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,124 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,468 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.
*NOTES ON DATA:
1. A technical reporting error by a hospital group caused a delay in its laboratory test results being reported to DPH. These newly reported test results have been included in today’s dashboard report and are reflected in today’s case totals. However, these positive test results have been assigned retrospectively to the appropriate date of test.
2. 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.