COVID-19: January 4, 2021 Update from Representative Dykema

January 4th COVID-19 Update

I hope you are staying safe, healthy, and warm and that your new year is off to a good start! In this week’s newsletter, I wanted to provide a brief update on the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts.

All information on the vaccine can be found at mass.gov/covidvaccine. Beginning this week, the COVID-19 Command Center will begin releasing data on vaccination rates and numbers in Massachusetts as part of the COVID-19 data it regularly releases. There is also a detailed frequently asked questions page and a designated email for vaccine-related questions in case you have questions or concerns about when you can get vaccinated or how the distribution process will work.

Two major changes that have been recently announced are the advancement of individuals aged 75 and older are moving up into an earlier level of the second phase in accordance with updated federal guidelines, a change expected to affect about 170,000 Massachusetts residents. 

First responders will now be included in the first phase of vaccine distribution, with both on-site and drive-up appointments beginning next Monday, January 11th. More information about this effort can be found at mass.gov/firstrespondervaccine.

I will continue providing new information as it becomes available and I encourage you to take a close look at the detailed information available online if you have any questions or concerns.

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 4,358 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 375,455 total cases and 60 reported deaths as of today at 4pm.
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 4,670, and the average number of deaths is 71.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 8.4%.
  • 55,570 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 1/4)

  • Hospitalization: 2,339 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 48 from yesterday. The 7-day average of hospitalizations is 2,289.
  • Hospital Capacity: 17% of the Commonwealth’s 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 beds are available for new patients (17% of regional ICU beds are available).
  • Long-term care: There are 416 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 31,110 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 7,441 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: 396 (+47 from last week); higher risk
  • Hopkinton: 392 (+26); moderate risk
  • Southborough: 258 (+27); higher risk
  • Westborough: 887 (+57); moderate 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.
  • 266 new COVID-19 cases associated with higher education testing were reported last week. 6,504 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.
  • Please note: Last week, DESE did not report positive case numbers as there was no in-person public education the week of December 27-January 1.

*NOTE: Beginning today, the data dashboard is now available in an interactive format, rather than in PDF reports. You can find all daily and weekly data at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting.

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.

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