COVID-19: September 23, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

September 23 Coronavirus Update

Every Wednesday evening, the Commonwealth releases updated town-by-town COVID-19 case numbers in a weekly public health report that can be accessed online. The most recent two weeks of data, on a rolling basis, are used to assign a “risk level” to each community in the Commonwealth based on the “daily incidence rate,” the number of cases per 100,000 reported in each city and town.

Here are the data for the four towns in the 8th Middlesex District (through 9/23):

  • Holliston: 93 (+6 from last week)
  • Hopkinton: 142 (+1 from last week)
  • Southborough: 44 (+0 from last week)
  • Westborough: 389 (+7 from last week)

As you may notice, the last 14 days of data has resulted in Holliston being given a “red,” or higher risk, designation. This designation triggers increased support and coordination with the statewide COVID-19 Command Center and the COVID-19 Enforcement and Intervention Team. As you may remember from past newsletters, this designation also helps to inform the recommended learning model for K-12 schools, although the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends that districts review at least three weeks of data before making learning model changes.

Fire Chief Mike Cassidy, the Director of Emergency Management for Holliston, provided the following additional information about Holliston’s recent designation.

The Board of Health was notified by its nursing consultant on Wednesday, September 16 of 10 new positive cases of coronavirus in Holliston. Of those, 9 were related to a long-term care facility in town, and 1 was at a single-family home. On Friday, September 18, a second positive case was reported to be co-located at the address of the single-family home reported two days earlier, bringing the total number of active cases in town to 11. The Department of Public Health (DPH) was aware of the cluster of cases, related to the long-term care facility, of which case management was being handled by the town’s nursing consultant. 

Although the community risk designation was expected to be raised by DPH on September 23, based on the case data for the two week period ending September 19, the positive cases correlate primarily to isolated locations in town, and are not indicative of wider spread of the disease in our community. However, this serves as a reminder for citizens to remain vigilant and continue to consistently practice disease transmission mitigation steps of frequent hand washing, wearing approved face coverings, observing physical distancing, and avoiding crowds of people.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 542 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 126,408 total cases and 17 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 384, and the average number of deaths is 15.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.8%.
  • 361 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 10 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 9/23, 37% of the Commonwealth’s 12,500 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 43% of the region’s 2,100 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 9/23, there are 383 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,802 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,000 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

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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