COVID-19: October 9, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

October 9th Coronavirus Update

We spend a lot of time in Massachusetts collecting and reporting state and local COVID-19 data so we can better understand the trajectory of the pandemic here in the Commonwealth as well as the effectiveness of our pandemic response. We report detailed data broken down community-by-community as well as state aggregation of a number of key public health metrics.

It’s important, as well, to consider how Massachusetts is doing compared to neighboring states and across the nation. As you no doubt remember, Massachusetts experienced the “surge” in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths earlier than many other states, and for the early moths of the pandemic we ranked in the top 3 for positive cases and deaths.

As our local data clearly indicates, we are not “out of the woods” by any means when it comes to COVID-19, and in fact our cases have slowly but steadily increased in recent weeks. However, our case rate has dropped significantly compared with other states, and Massachusetts now ranks 30th with 2,089 cases per 100,000 people, below the national average of 2,292 cases per 100,000. You can review the full set of state-by-state data and make direct comparisons using the Centers for Disease Control COVID Data Tracker online.

Data from other states helps inform our statewide travel order as well as other decisions about reopening, personal protective equipment procurement, and preparations for a “second wave.” It is important to recognize that our state may be experiencing a different point in the pandemic than others and that our officials do not make public health policy in a vacuum, and robust national data and clear communication among states and with our federal partners is a valuable resource in our pandemic response here at home.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 734 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 135,011 total cases and 12 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 542, and the average number of deaths is 12.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.1%.
  • 500 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 16 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 10/9, 30% of the Commonwealth’s 12,600 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 32% of the region’s 2,200 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 10/9, there are 387 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 25,178 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,173 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 and Regional Updates

  • You can find this week’s DPH report on town-by-town COVID-19 testing and case numbers here, as well as counts of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities across the Commonwealth. Our towns’ numbers are below (through 10/7):
    • Holliston: 104 (+4)
    • Hopkinton: 147 (+2)
    • Southborough: 64 (+11)
    • Westborough: 400 (+2)
  • The weekly public health report also contains facility-specific information on COVID-19 case rates on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, which can be found here starting on page 40.
  • In compliance with the new statewide data collection law, DPH has also begun reporting COVID-19 testing and infection rates at all state facilities, including state hospitals and congregate care facilities. You can find that data on this page.
  • The statewide Department of Correction COVID-19 data can now be found in a new weekly report, which can be found here.

Education

  • The weekly public health report now contains information on testing and positive cases in Massachusetts-based colleges and universities, which can be found here starting on page 37.
    • 211 new COVID-19 cases associated with higher education testing have been reported since last week. 1,058 total cases have been reported associated with higher education testing.
  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education now reports student and staff positive cases reported by school districts within the last week. These reports count all positive cases among students participating in-person or hybrid learning models, and staff who have been in a school building within 7 days of a positive test. This week’s report and reporting definitions can be found here.
    • Holliston: 0 students; 0 staff
    • Hopkinton: 0 students; 0 staff
    • Southborough: 0 students; 0 staff
      • Northboro-Southboro: 0 students; 2 staff
    • Westborough: 1 student; 0 staff

Travel Order Update

  • The state’s COVID-19 travel order, which requires testing or self-quarantine for all visitors and returning residents from all higher-risk U.S. states, is updated weekly based on new public health data from around the country. Information on the order can be found here and information on changes to the state risk designations can be found below.
  • Lower-risk states: Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington D.C.
  • Changes this week: none (as of 4pm 10/9)

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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