COVID-19: December 29, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

December 29th COVID-19 Update

I hope your holiday season is going well and that you are staying safe and healthy. I personally know how difficult is is for many of us to celebrate virtually or without our loved ones, but I want to thank all of you for your efforts to keep our communities safe.

As of this weekend, temporary public health guidance for gathering size and business capacity is in effect now through January 10th. This order supersedes the guidance in “Phase 3, Step 1” of reopening. 

All indoor gatherings are now capped at 10 people, and all outdoor gatherings are now capped at 25 people, regardless of venue or setup. Most businesses, including restaurants, office space, and places of worship, will be limited to 25% capacity. Nonessential elective surgical procedures are suspended for the near future to ensure hospital resources remain available for critical care. 

In the weeks following Thanksgiving, we’ve seen a dramatic and concerning uptick in COVID-19 metrics. In the last 30 days, hospitalizations are up 117%, daily new cases are up 65%, and daily deaths are up 95%. Please continue to follow all local and state guidance to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. 

More information on the new guidance can be found here or at mass.gov/reopening. I wish you a peaceful and reflective holiday and all the best for the coming new year.

News Updates

Below is a summary of the most recent efforts to respond to the wide range of needs in our communities. For a summary of previously issued guidance and state restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic, visit mass.gov/covid19. For previous updates visit carolyndykema.com/covid19.

Coronavirus Testing and Response

  • Today, the state saw 3,659 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 346,423 total cases and 58 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 4,040, and the average number of deaths is 58.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 7.6%.
  • 61,067 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 12/29)

  • Hospitalization: 2,259 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 29 from yesterday. The 7-day average of hospitalizations is 2,137.
  • Hospital Capacity: 16% of the Commonwealth’s 9,061 non-ICU hospital beds are available for new patients if needed (26% of statewide ICU beds are available). In the MetroWest region, 15% of the region’s non-ICU 1,512 beds are available for new patients (22% of regional ICU beds are available).
  • Long-term care: There are 415 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 30,532 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 7,291 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 contains town-by-town numbers on positive cases in each community, as well as a color-coded risk assessment for each city or town. This week’s numbers for the towns of the 8th Middlesex District can be found below, and the full weekly public health report can be found here.
  • Holliston: 349 (+42 from last week); higher risk
  • Hopkinton: 366 (+38); moderate risk
  • Southborough: 231 (+38); higher risk
  • Westborough: 830 (+77); higher risk

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 36.
  • 465 new COVID-19 cases associated with higher education testing were reported last week. 6,238 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. Last week’s report and reporting definitions can be found here.
  • Holliston: 3 students; 3 staff
  • Hopkinton: 0 students; 0 staff
  • Southborough: 3 students; 1 staff
  • Northboro-Southboro: 6 students; 0 staff
  • Westborough: 15 students; 1 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
  • Removed last week: None
  • Added last week: None

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.

Press Release

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