COVID-19: August 27, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
Shopping at our local businesses when you are able is one of the ways that we can all work together to support our communities as they continue to weather the economic impacts of the pandemic.
This weekend, August 29 and 30, is Massachusetts’s “Tax Free Weekend.” In 2018, the Legislature passed a law that made our Commonwealth’s tradition of establishing a tax-free weekend an annual requirement, usually taking place in August of each year. Personal use purchases up to $2,500 are exempt from sales tax this weekend, with small exceptions including meals. You can learn more about the sales tax holiday and review frequently asked questions here.
If you are interested in “buying local” in your food shopping, the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture has put together a dedicated COVID-19 “buy local” page that includes information on modified farmers’ market hours, curbside delivery, and more. You can also search the MassGrown map for local food producers near you.
I hope you will consider “shopping local” this weekend and, as always, remember to bring a mask with you and wear it when you enter an establishment or cannot socially distance.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 365 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 117,450 total cases and 20 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 306, and the average number of deaths is 17.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.0%.
- 333 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 23 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 8/27, 34% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 35% of the region’s 2,000 beds are available for new patients.
- Long-term care: As of 8/27, there are 379 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,584 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,772 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.
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.