COVID-19: July 8, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
July 8 Coronavirus Update
Expanding our ability to test for COVID-19 is an essential part of our reopening plan. As a Commonwealth, we are working to both expand capacity to test (the number of COVID-19 tests that our labs and providers can conduct per day) and access to testing (the population for whom testing is readily available).
The “Stop the Spread” campaign is a month-long initiative to provide testing to all individuals, even those without symptoms, in areas where COVID-19 rates are higher than the state average. Eight cities – Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford – will open additional testing sites and operate mobile testing vans to allow all residents to get tested beginning Friday, July 10th. These communities were identified based on elevated cases in those cities, higher rates over spread over the past two weeks, high positive test rates over the past two weeks and declining test volume since the end of April. More information can be found at Mass.gov/StopTheSpread.
For general COVID-19 testing info and guidance for testing eligibility, visit Mass.gov/GetTested. Currently, asymptomatic individuals with no close-contact exposure to COVID-19 are not prioritized statewide for testing, but the Command Center has reported that testing guidance will continue to be updated as capacity expands and I will be sure to provide new information as soon as it becomes available.
To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here. Past issues and additional resources can be found at https://carolyndykema.com/covid19.* You can also check my Facebook page for more up-to-the-minute updates and communications. Overall, the state Dept. of Public Health website is the best source of accurate and up-to-date information and contains a wide-range of information and a likely source of answers to many of your questions.
While the State House is closed to the public, my office continues to operate remotely. The best way to reach me or my staff at this busy time is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also available by phone if necessary at 617-722-2680.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state reported 264 new probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 110,596 total reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth & 30 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 208, and the average number of deaths is 23.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 2.0%.
- 662 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 41 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 7/8, 34% of the Commonwealth’s 12,300 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 7/8, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,612 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,220 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.
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.