COVID-19: September 28, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
September 28 Coronavirus Update
One of the most successful programs to launch as many of the Commonwealth’s businesses and industries reopen is the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program, which allows cities and towns to make rapid changes to streets, sidewalks, and public spaces to improve social distancing, outdoor recreation, and small business operations to keep communities safe and thriving. The “quick-build” program was so successful that MassDOT announced earlier this month that it had doubled the size of the program from $5 million to $10 million.
Today, the Department announced that Southborough will be receiving an award of $24,500 to convert existing parking lots into safe outdoor seating areas, place picnic tables in green spaces, and purchase large tents for restaurants. In earlier grant rounds, Holliston has received funding for pedestrian safety improvements and Westborough received funding to improve accessibility to public spaces.
You can read more about the program online here or by reviewing the Department’s project update presentation. As of September, the program has received over 200 applications and given out a total of $8.6 million to fund 101 projects in 87 municipalities across Massachusetts, of which 60% are Environmental Justice communities.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 367 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 128,793 total cases and 11 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 439, and the average number of deaths is 14.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.9%.
- 418 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase 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.
- Hospital Capacity: As of 9/28, 35% 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 9/28, there are 383 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,869 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,045 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.
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
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.