COVID-19: September 15, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

September 15 Coronavirus Update

The state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative works with local and state officials, as well as with private entities like businesses and universities, to work with COVID-positive individuals to track their history and identify those who may have been exposed to the virus. Most recently, the Governor announced that the Collaborative would assume responsibility for contact tracing at Boston College, where over 100 students have tested positive since reopening last month. In addition to BC, 105 campuses are in contact tracing agreements with the state and the Broad Institute at MIT to address any potential student outbreaks and reduce community spread.

We’re continuing to look for new ways to improve our contact tracing capability, including harnessing smartphone technology in new ways. Private information is protected by Massachusetts law and your name is not released if you test positive or work with contact tracers. If you are contacted, please help do your part by “answering the call” and cooperating with contact tracing professionals. Calls from the MA COVID Team use the prefix 833 and 857 and your phone will say the call is from “MA COVID Team.” Calls are made daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Your local health department will use their local phone numbers to contact you.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 286 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 123,425 total cases and 6 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 316, and the average number of deaths is 12.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.9%.
  • 310 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 8 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.

Heath Care

  • Hospital Capacity: As of 9/15, 36% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 40% of the region’s 2,000 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 9/15, there are 382 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,732 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,915 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.

Local Resources

All of the towns in the 8th Middlesex District now have centralized COVID-19 resource pages with resources, updates, and alerts regarding town services.

HollistonHopkintonSouthboroughWestborough

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 resourceshttps://carolyndykema.com/covid19-state-resources

Department of Unemployment Assistancehttps://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance

Department of Transitional Assistancehttps://www.mass.gov/dta-covid-19-resources-and-support

Statewide Information

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.

Holliston Pantry Shelf | Project Just Because | Southborough Food Pantry | Westborough Food Pantry

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