COVID-19: August 14, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
August 14 Coronavirus Update
Our warm weather and long, sunny days have helped many of us cope with the challenges of COVID-19 and social distancing by taking part in outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, and picnics. Today, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released standardized guidance for adult and interscholastic sports, which provide guidance for allowable play and proper hygiene protocols to make additional safe athletic activity possible.
Sports are divided into low, medium, and high-risk categories based largely on proximity of competitors, with lower risk sports possible with social distancing or no physical contact and higher risk sports bringing competitors into closer contact and higher risk of particle transmission. Activity types are divided into four levels: individual practices, group practice, competitions, and tournaments. In our current reopening state, lower risk sports are allowed to hold all levels of competition, but moderate and higher risk sports can only engage in Level 1 practice.
Full updated guidance from EEA can be found here, and additional guidance on outdoor recreation and youth athletics are also available online. You can submit questions and comments on this specific guidance here. Have fun and play safe!
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 212 new positive cases* of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 113,729 total cases and 14 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 268, and the average number of deaths is 14.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.4%.
- 398 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 3 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 8/14, 31% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 30% of the region’s 2,000 beds are available for new patients.
- Long-term care: As of 8/14, there are 378 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,478 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,634 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.
- You can find this week’s DPH report on town-by-town COVID-19 testing and case numbers here, as well as counts of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities across the Commonwealth. Our towns’ numbers are below (through 8/5):
- Holliston: 63 (+1)
- Hopkinton: 136 (+1)
- Southborough: 43 (+0)
- Westborough: 357 (+7)
- The weekly public health report also contains facility-specific information on COVID-19 case rates on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, which can be found here starting on page 24.
- In compliance with the new statewide data collection law, DPH has also begun reporting COVID-19 testing and infection rates at all state facilities, including state hospitals and congregate care facilities. You can find that data on this page.
- The statewide Department of Correction COVID-19 data can now be found in a new weekly report, which can be found here.
*NEW NOTE ON DATA: The DPH data dashboard no longer reports “probable” cases (those with positive antibody or antigen tests) as an individual metric. In order to better align with other state and national reporting patterns, the Department now reports confirmed case totals only as primary metrics. Testing information on antibody and antigen tests is included in daily dashboards, and definitions of “confirmed” and “probable” can be found on p.4.
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
Information on the state of emergency and related orders can be found here.
Reopening guidance can be found at mass.gov/reopening.
Information on COVID-19 testing can be found at mass.gov/gettested.
How You Can Help (updated)
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.
Southborough’s Community Fund has supported local COVID-19 response efforts and families impacted by the pandemic, as well as other charitable organizations in Town. 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.