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

October 19th Coronavirus Update

This evening, you may receive or may have already received a Wireless Emergency Alert via the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). This alert will be sent between 5 and 10pm today to all cell phones in areas around several persistently high-risk communities. Although our towns are not among those being notified, it is likely that residents in communities near Worcester and Framingham will receive alerts as well.

The message will be sent in English and Spanish and read as follows: MAGovt Alert COVID19 is a serious threat in [city/town name]. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Do not share food drinks utensils. Stay home if sick. Get a free COVID test. Stop gatherings with family and friends.  Protect you and your loved ones. For more info visit mass.gov/stopcovid19.

Mass.gov/StopCOVID19 provides resources for residents in high-risk communities on state guidance, resources for businesses, and testing. Currently, Southborough and Holliston in the 8th Middlesex District are considered higher-risk, but many of these resources are useful to residents who work in and travel to higher-risk communities across the Commonwealth. You can also sign up for text message alerts by texting COVIDMA to 888-777.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 827 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 141,474 total cases and 15 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 649, and the average number of deaths is 19.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.2%.
  • 500 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 17 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 10/19, 35% of the Commonwealth’s 12,800 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 10/19, there are 390 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 25,301 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,288 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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