COVID-19: September 11, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
September 11 Coronavirus Update
The reopening of outdoor dining service has been a boon to local restaurants and downtowns, offering a socially-distant way for all of us to support our favorite small businesses and to make the most of our summer, even in unusual circumstances.
Due to the success of these initiatives and the creativity of municipalities and business owners to open up more outdoor space for dining, the administration this week announced an expansion of the Shared Streets and Spaces program and an extension of the Governor’s order allowing local licensing authorities to issue permits or exemptions to make expanded outdoor dining possible. Local authorities will now be able to grant extensions past the initial November 1st deadline, and will also be able to modify initial approvals to allow for snow removal, special circumstances, or adjustments due to concerns that have been raised since the initial authorization.
MassDOT’s successful Shared Streets and Spaces program, which allows for quick-build projects designed to increase pedestrian space, outdoor dining, or other mobility improvements that protect public health, has been expanded from $5 million to $10 million in grants up to $300,000 in a mix of state and federal funding. 78 municipalities have received grants already and applications are still being accepted through September 22. Initiatives like these, which can support outdoor dining but also increased recreation space and walkability, maximize our ability to use outdoor spaces to offer creative solutions to support our local businesses throughout the pandemic.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
Today, the state saw 443 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 120,038 total cases and 14 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
The average new cases over the last 7 days is 309, and the average number of deaths is 11.
The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.8%.
330 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 25 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 9/11, 31% 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 9/11, there are 382 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,700 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,885 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 9/9):
- Holliston: 76 (+1) [The Holliston Town website has 74 total cases.]
- Hopkinton: 140 (+0)
- Southborough: 45 (+1)
- Westborough: 374 (+6)
- 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 37.
- 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.
Travel Order Update
- The state’s COVID-19 travel order, which requires testing or self-quarantine for all visitors and returning residents from all higher-risk U.S. states, is updated weekly based on new public health data from around the country. Information on the order can be found here and information on changes to the state risk designations can be found below.
- Lower-risk states: Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming
- Added to lower-risk states: New Mexico
- Removed from lower-risk states: Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia
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.