COVID-19: August 3, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
August 3 Coronavirus Update
As we move into August, many of our colleges and universities will prepare to welcome back some or all students on a limited basis. These returns have been planned to keep students and staff as safe as possible, while recognizing the importance of ensuring access to high-quality public and private higher education.
Each college and university will be making its own decisions about when and how to reopen as long as Massachusetts remains in Phase 3 (Phase 2 allows for some, more limited on-campus services and education). Statewide guidance for reopening of higher education follows four key principles:
- Protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and people in surrounding communities.
- Enable students to make meaningful progress towards their educational goals.
- Contribute to research and innovation.
- Minimize adverse economic impact on families, employees and the Massachusetts economy.
All colleges and universities in Massachusetts, public and private, must work with local boards of health in developing reopening plans, hygiene protocols, and virus containment protocols. All institutions of higher education in Massachusetts are subject not only to statewide workplace safety standards, but must also submit a reopening checklist and plan to the Commonwealth. It is also important to note that both students arriving on campus from outside Massachusetts or another approved “lower-risk” state and any family members traveling with them are subject to the testing and quarantine requirements in the statewide travel order. More information on reopening higher education can be found online here.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 199 new confirmed and probable positive cases* of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 118,657 total cases and 10 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 390, and the average number of deaths is 16.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 2.0%.
- 375 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 31 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 8/3, 36% 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 8/3, there are 376 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,244 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,508 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.
*NOTE ON DATA: The DPH data dashboard now breaks out confirmed vs. probable cases, with “probable” cases representing those with positive antibody tests. This is why data reported on p. 1 of the dashboard doesn’t appear to “match” the data displayed in the chart above.
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
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.