COVID-19: October 21, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema
October 21st Coronavirus Update
As you know, our efforts to respond to COVID-19 often require different policies and guidance from town to town, state to state, or even country to country as we look at where each community stands with respect to the trajectory of the pandemic and tailor our response to meet each community’s needs. In this spirit, I wanted to share some updates from around the state that were announced today, which may be valuable to you in your planning and travel, but also provide a snapshot of where we are as a Commonwealth.
Halloween in Salem: Countless families across Massachusetts travel to Salem each fall under normal conditions each fall to celebrate the Halloween season and learn about the City’s rich cultural history. However, large crowds and an influx of out-of-town or out-of-state visitors traveling to the City create an elevated risk of virus transmission, and today Governor Baker and Mayor Driscoll announced a number of measures designed to limit seasonal visitors in coming weeks, including limited Commuter Rail access and early business closures. In general, local and state public health officials are urging all potential visitors to avoid visiting Salem this fall and to instead come back next year.
Drive-thru testing in Revere: Today, the administration announced an express drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Revere, which will be able to serve up to 1,000 residents a day at full capacity. This site, like all Stop the Spread sites, is located in a higher-risk community to encourage residents there to get tested, but is open to all Massachusetts residents. You can book appointments online or learn more about free COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts at mass.gov/gettested.
Remote learning in Boston: Today, Boston Public Schools announced that due to the recent uptick in cases, all students will shift to remote learning effective tomorrow, October 22. This is due to the City’s rising positive case rate, which is currently at 5.7%, far above the statewide average of 1.3%. This model will remain in effect until the City sees consecutive weeks of falling positive cases.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- Today, the state saw 646 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 142,491 total cases and 22 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
- The average new cases over the last 7 days is 694, and the average number of deaths is 19.
- The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.3%.
- 519 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 2 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 10/21, 32% of the Commonwealth’s 12,900 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 29% of the region’s 2,100 beds are available for new patients.
- Long-term care: As of 10/21, there are 390 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 25,374 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,306 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.