COVID-19: October 13, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

October 13th Coronavirus Update

Housing instability has been a persistent threat during the COVID-19 pandemic, as families work to stay in safe, stable living situations in an unpredictable economic environment. The Legislature passed a temporary moratorium on non-essential evictions at the beginning of the pandemic to protect those in imminent risk of homelessness, and significant state and federal funding has already been dedicated toward housing support.

This week, the administration announced the Eviction Diversion Initiative, a cross-agency effort including $112 million in new funding to keep people safely housed during the pandemic. This initiative includes increases in rental assistance, rapid rehousing funding, assistance to housing consumer education centers, and more programs designed to prevent housing disruption. The statewide eviction moratorium expires on Saturday, October 17th, but federal protections against evictions during the pandemic continue and those with questions can call the Mass 2-1-1 hotline.

More information for individuals and families can be found at a new website, Mass.gov/COVIDhousinghelp, which includes an overview of the initiative and a frequently asked questions page. For more information on the new initiative, you can also read the administration’s announcement in full here.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 632 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 137,565 total cases and 12 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 601, and the average number of deaths is 13.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.2%.
  • 514 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 13 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 10/13, 36% of the Commonwealth’s 12,900 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 38% of the region’s 2,100 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 10/13, there are 388 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 25,214 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,209 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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