COVID-19: September 18, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
September 18 Coronavirus Update
Although Massachusetts is a national leader in COVID-19 testing capacity, with over 3.2 million molecular tests administered to date, my office still receives questions about testing availability and rules. If you feel sick, you should contact your health care provider to get tested ASAP. For additional information on testing, see below.
Stop the Spread initiative: The Stop the Spread initiative provides free testing to all Massachusetts residents, regardless of symptoms, in 18 communities across Massachusetts. There are Stop the Spread sites in Marlborough, Framingham, and Worcester.
CVS drive-through testing: Yesterday, CVS announced that it was doubling its total number of drive-thru test sites to more than 4,000 nationwide. Typically, those seeking tests through this method do have to be prioritized for testing. You can find MA-based CVS sites and check if you qualify for testing (which is covered by insurance at no cost to you) here.
Additional testing information:
- Testing criteria and guidance
- Searchable test map
- Information on PCR (molecular) vs. antibody testing
- Additional frequently asked questions and answers
Our overarching goal as we work to expand testing capacity to 75,000 tests per day by December to comply with our federal testing goals is to ensure that anyone who need a test can get one, and that we are continuously increasing our testing capacity until we find a permanent, effective treatment solution.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 431 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 124,570 total cases and 8 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 338, and the average number of deaths is 13.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.8%.
- 338 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 39 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 9/18, 31% of the Commonwealth’s 12,500 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 9/18, there are 382 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,764 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,946 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 9/16):
- Holliston: 87 (+11)
- Hopkinton: 141 (+1)
- Southborough: 46 (+1)
- Westborough: 382 (+8)
- The weekly public health report now contains information on testing and positive cases in Massachusetts-based colleges and universities, which can be found here starting on page 37.
- 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 40.
- 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
- Added to lower-risk states: none
- Removed from lower-risk states: Wyoming
- Holliston Youth and Family Services recently announced it was considering applications for rent and mortgage assistance for Holliston residents using CARES Act funding, offering assistance up to $2,000/month to qualifying individuals and families. More information can be found here.
- The state is recommending that all individuals get a flu shot this fall as soon as possible to help prevent against increased hospitalization numbers in the event that a “second wave” of COVID-19 occurs and increases stress on our health care system. You can learn more at mass.gov/influenza.
- The administration has worked to increase its identification, investigation, and enforcement of COVID-19 safety and guidance violations and wants to make it as easy as possible for residents to anonymously report possible violations. You can submit non-compliance concerns for travel advisory quarantine, face covering, gathering, or other public health rules using this form and workplace-related concerns to the Department of Labor Standards.
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.