COVID-19: August 5, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
August 5 Coronavirus Update
As you know, quickly identifying and responding to possible exposure or infection of COVID-19 is a central component of our pandemic response, and we are always looking for new and creative ways to add tools to our belt that will enable us to expand testing capacity and reduce turnaround time.
Today, Massachusetts joined an interstate testing compact with six other states – Maryland, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia – to purchase antigen tests, a rapid-testing product that the FDA reports can return results in under an hour, although they are less accurate than standard PCR molecular testing. Each state will purchase roughly 500,000 antigen tests from U.S.-based manufacturers to expand rapid testing capabilities. This procurement is designed to supplement, not replace, existing molecular testing to provide rapid results in circumstances where turnaround time is essential, including congregate care settings, nursing homes, and other group living facilities.
This interstate compact, which additional interested states are authorized to join, allows for the creation and maintenance of sustainable, cost-effective supply chains to ensure that Massachusetts is getting adequate testing supplies quickly and efficiently. To learn more, you can read the full announcement here.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 440 new confirmed and probable positive cases* of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 119,643 total cases and 2 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 423, and the average number of deaths is 11.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 2.2%.
- 396 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 21 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 8/5, 33% 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 8/5, there are 376 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,434 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,515 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 (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.