COVID-19: June 30, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

June 30 Coronavirus Update

Our state takes pride in providing the best public education in the nation. During the pandemic, students of all ages have faced unprecedented disruption to their learning environment, and teachers, staff, caregivers, and families have stepped up to adapt to these challenging circumstances in new and creative ways. As we plan for the coming school year, educators at all levels have worked tirelessly to prepare to provide flexible, high-quality instruction regardless of what our public health landscape will look like.

This week, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released detailed reopening guidance to help school districts plan for the fall. Districts will be asked to present a plan to the Department in August that accounts for the possibility of in-person, hybrid, or fully remote learning. For circumstances where students physically return to school, DESE has provided guidance on hygiene, social distancing, and face covering requirements for students in 2nd grade and above. You can visit the Department’s COVID-19 page and download a copy of the report at doe.mass.edu/covid19

The Department of Early Education and Care has also released an updated version of its child care and youth-serving program safety standards, which can be accessed here. Finally, Massachusetts’s colleges and universities have released a variety of plans for reopening, with some institutions planning to reopen in the fall with safety guidance and student screening, others keeping instruction remote, and still others offering students the choice of instruction type. The state’s higher ed. guidance can be found here, but you should reach out to your individual college or university for school-specific plans.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state has 108,882 total reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 114 new cases & 0 reported deaths* as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 206, and the average number of deaths is 29.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.8%.
  • 733 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 29 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 6/30, 35% of the Commonwealth’s 12,200 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 43% of the region’s 2,100 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 6/30, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,453 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,106 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.

*Today’s overall death total has actually decreased, due to DPH data management process that removes duplicative reporting.

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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