COVID-19: July 6, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

July 6 Coronavirus Update

Today marks the first day of Phase III, the “Vigilant” phase of our reopening. This applies to most of Massachusetts, with Boston entering Phase III on July 13th. Key public health data and measures of our health care “readiness” have shown consistent, positive trends, likely due in large part to the commitment of our residents in complying with safety standards and best practices for preventing the spread of the virus. Detailed information on Phase III can be found below:

Industries: Additional industries that conduct business indoors are allowed to open in Phase III in compliance with safety and social distancing guidance, including movie theaters, outdoor performance venues, museums, cultural and historical sites, fitness centers and health clubs, and professional sports teams (without spectators). Sector-specific safety guidance for Phase III industries can now be found online, and those with general questions about when businesses can reopen should review this helpful chart.

Health care: Health care providers may continue to provide in-person procedures and services as allowed in Phase II, with the addition of certain group treatment programs and day programs, including adult day health, day rehabilitation programs, addiction treatment, and community-based services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Health care providers are still required to prioritize care in accordance with safety guidance and PPE availability, and full guidance on all health and human services changes can be found here.

Travel: Non-essential travel is discouraged, but not prohibited. International travel is still largely prohibited, and visitors to Massachusetts from most states (including residents returning from other states) are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state. Visitors from seven U.S. states near Massachusetts – Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont – that have seen promising trends in public health metrics no longer have to self-quarantine, although all residents and visitors are reminded that if you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or feel ill, you should not travel.

Gathering size: Indoor gatherings are limited to 8 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 for gatherings like community events, sports games, concerts, and conventions. This order does not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible.

More information on Phase III can be found here or at mass.gov/reopening. As always, you can submit questions or comments to the Reopening Advisory Board online here.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 157 new reported positive cases* of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 110,131 total cases and 15  reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 195, and the average number of deaths is 21.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.8%.
  • 603 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 33 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.

Heath Care

  • Hospital Capacity: As of 7/6, 40% of the Commonwealth’s 12,500 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 45% of the region’s 2,200 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 7/6, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,555 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,184 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.

*As of 7/6, DPH has changed its formatting for reporting positive case totals, which is why today’s newsletter numbers may not match the DPH-reported total.

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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