COVID-19: September 8, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

September 8 Coronavirus Update

As we enter the second week of September, preparations continue for the return of K-12 students to our public schools. Normally, students would already be back in class, but due to COVID-19 and related preparations for our schools’ “new normal,” all four of our towns will welcome students back next week, with Westborough beginning on 9/15 and Holliston, Hopkinton, and Southborough beginning on 9/16. 

Our teachers and professional staff are already hard at work preparing for the new year, and our state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in conjunction with the Department of Public Health, continues to release guidance and “best practices” to support school districts as they prepare to offer safe, high-quality learning. One key group in this effort are our school health professionals – in particular, our school nurses. DESE released guidance for school health offices at the end of last week that included information on when and what types of PPE to wear, protocols for exams, screenings, and medication, and additional public health information that will be critical to keeping our students healthy both in and out of school. You can read that information online.

Our response to this unprecedented pandemic truly “takes a village,” and our school districts’ work to bring students safely back to school has required an immense amount of planning, preparation, and support from the community. Thank you to all our students, teachers, staff, and families for your work to make this coming school year a success!

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 168 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 121,214 total cases and 8 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 297, and the average number of deaths is 15.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 0.9%.
  • 328 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 6 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 9/8, 38% of the Commonwealth’s 12,600 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 9/8, there are 381 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 24,658 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,862 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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