COVID-19: October 20, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
October 20th Coronavirus Update
Today marks two weeks to Election Day, and I continue to receive occasional questions from constituents about how COVID-19 has impacted our voting system and what Massachusetts voters’ options are for safe, socially-distant voting.
As you may remember from the September primary elections, Massachusetts voters have three options for casting their ballots in our statewide general/presidential election:
1. Vote early by mail: All registered voters in MA were mailed an application for a mail-in ballot, and you can also request a ballot online. You can request a ballot until October 28, but the Secretary of the Commonwealth recommends requesting one by today, October 20 to ensure it arrives in time. However, you are not required to vote by mail if you request a ballot and you can still choose to vote in person, provided you only cast one ballot. Ballots can be mailed back to your election office (no postage required if mailed within the U.S.) or dropped off in person at your town’s Election Office or dropbox. You can find your election office here. Your ballot must be postmarked by November 3 if mailed or dropped off by November 3 if delivered by hand.
2. Vote early in person: You can vote early in person between now and Friday, October 30 at a designated location in your town. You can find early voting hours and polling locations online here and on Town websites. Please note that early voting hours and locations do vary day to day.
3. Vote in person on Nov. 3: You can vote in person on Tuesday, November 3rd. Polls are open between 7am and 8pm, with the exception of Southborough, where polls are open between 6:30am and 8pm. Polling locations are taking measures to keep voters safe and healthy and all voters are asked to closely follow existing state guidance regarding mask use and social distancing. You can look up your Election Day voting location at WhereDoIVoteMA.com.
It is also important to note that you can still register to vote if you have not already. The deadline for this election is Saturday, October 24 and you can register online. If you have more questions on voting during COVID-19, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections and Voting page or contact your local Town Clerk in Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough, or Westborough.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 821 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 142,295 total cases and 5 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 676, and the average number of deaths is 18.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.3%.
- 517 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.
- Hospital Capacity: As of 10/20, 35% 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 10/20, 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. 6,293 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.