COVID-19: September 24, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

September 24 Coronavirus Update

As you know, our work to safely reopen our economy and return to a “new normal” is a collaborative and constantly-evolving process, often incorporating new information or adjusting guidance as we track public health trends. I wanted to share two important changes that will go into effect over the next several days.

Restaurants: Updated guidance going into effect Monday, September 28 updates a number of food service and restaurant safety standards, most notably increasing the number of diners that can be served in a party to 10 if distance between tables can be maintained and allowing for bar seating if diners can remain separated from serving staff.

Nursing homes: Updated guidance going into effect tomorrow (today), September 25 will adjust the safety and social distancing protocols in place for nursing and rest homes. Most notably, limited indoor visitation is now allowed, and additional health and safety guidance has been released to facilitate safe visits as the weather gets cooler and outdoor capacity may be limited.

For more information on other services, businesses, and public health guidance related to reopening, visit mass.gov/reopening. You can submit questions and comments about reopening guidance here.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 455 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 126,863 total cases and 15 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 389, and the average number of deaths is 15.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.8%.
  • 375 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 14 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 9/24, 31% of the Commonwealth’s 12,700 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 9/24, there are 383 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,811 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,011 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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