COVID-19: November 20, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

November 20th COVID-19 Update

When we talk about how coronavirus is impacting our communities, I have often focused on the state and local public health data when providing information in this newsletter. In recognition of the increased likelihood of interstate travel in the coming holiday season, I wanted to provide a brief snapshot of how the pandemic is affecting the nation as well.

As you have likely seen on the news, the U.S. has frequently been setting all-time records for daily new cases (which partially depend on our testing numbers) and hospitalizations (which do not depend on testing). The Centers for Disease Control, much like our state Department of Public Health, has an online data tracker where you can review COVID-19 data by state. Massachusetts currently ranks 36th out of 50 states in new cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days, with a case rate of 35.4 per 100,000 in the last week.

If you do travel in coming weeks, please be sure to comply with all quarantine, testing, and additional public health guidance associated with our statewide travel order, which can be found at mass.gov/covidtravel. If you want to learn more about the Commonwealth’s guidance and recommendations for a safe and happy Thanksgiving, you can visit this page.

News Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

  • Today, the state saw 2,288 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 194,338 total cases and 34 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 2,387, and the average number of deaths is 29.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 3.3%.
  • 71,269 new molecular tests for COVID-19 were reported in the Commonwealth today.
  • 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 (as of 11/20)

  • Hospitalization: 904 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 13 from yesterday.
  • Hospital Capacity:  26% of the Commonwealth’s 11,000 non-ICU hospital beds are available for new patients if needed (47% of statewide ICU beds are available). In the MetroWest region, 28% of the region’s non-ICU 1,800 beds are available for new patients (50% of regional ICU beds are available).
  • Long-term care: There are 398 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 26,752 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 6,659 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 Update

  • This week’s public health report provided an update on town-by-town positive case numbers and corresponding risk categories for each of the four communities in the 8th Middlesex District. Town-by-town numbers are below:
  • Holliston: 192 (+21 from last week), moderate risk
  • Hopkinton: 206 (+18), moderate risk
  • Southborough: 100 (+5), lower risk
  • Westborough: 494 (+30), moderate risk
  • Risk categories are formed using a combination of population size, new case rate per 100,000, and positive test rate. For more information on risk categories, click 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 44.
  • 772 new COVID-19 cases associated with higher education testing have been reported since last week. 3,283 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: 1 student; 0 staff
  • Northboro-Southboro: 1 student; 1 staff
  • Westborough: 1 students; 0 staff

Travel

  • 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: Hawaii, Vermont
  • Removed this week: New Hampshire, Maine

Local and State Resources

Town Resources

All of the towns in the 8th Middlesex District have centralized COVID-19 resource pages with resources, updates, and alerts regarding town services.

Holliston | Hopkinton | Southborough | Westborough

Job/Income Loss Resources

COVID-19 is also 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

Department of Transitional Assistance

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.

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