COVID-19: February 22, 2021 Update from Representative Dykema

February 22nd COVID-19 Update

Last week, additional Phase 2 individuals became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, including those over 65, those with certain medical conditions, and residents of senior and low-income housing. As you may be aware, the large influx of individuals looking to schedule appointments last Thursday morning caused the state’s COVID-19 website to crash and many individuals were not able to schedule appointments.

In response, the Baker administration has committed to additional improvements to vaxfinder.mass.gov, including additional stress testing for high-volume periods, the ability to “hold” an appointment spot while you fill out your personal information, and the creation of a “waiting room” function when appointments are uploaded in batches. These improvements are expected in the coming weeks.

In brighter news, the first mass vaccination site in the MetroWest region opens today at the Natick Mall. The site is open to all eligible residents statewide and will provide 500 doses per day initially, eventually scaling up to 3,000 doses per day. For more information on this site or to find a vaccination site near you, visit mass.gov/covidvaccinemap.

Vaccine supply remains a persistent constraint for the vaccine distribution process. Last week, Massachusetts received 114,125 doses of the vaccine and has now received over 1.5 million doses in total. For the last several weeks, Massachusetts has actually administered more doses of the vaccine than we’ve received, which means that our distribution infrastructure is sufficient to fully utilize the supply we are receiving, but our ability to scale up or accelerate the distribution process remains highly dependent on the amount of the vaccine we receive from the federal government.

You can read more about our vaccine supply below in this newsletter and read the most recent full weekly vaccine report here. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including new information about eligibility for those who are now able to receive the vaccine, visit mass.gov/covidvaccine.

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 1,150 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 540,794 total cases and 26 reported deaths as of today at 5pm.
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 1,437, and the average number of deaths is 46.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.9%.
  • 49,929 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 2/22)

  • Hospitalization: 888 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 39 from yesterday. The 7-day average of hospitalizations is 998.
  • Hospital Capacity: 20% of the Commonwealth’s non-ICU hospital beds are available for new patients if needed (28% of statewide ICU beds are available). In the MetroWest region, 17% of the region’s non-ICU beds are available for new patients (32% of regional ICU beds are available).
  • Long-term care: There are 424 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 34,570 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 8,488 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.

Vaccine Distribution

  • Last week, 225,341 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered. To date, 1,209,614 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in MA.
  • Last week, 114,125 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were shipped to Massachusetts. To date, 1,527,150 doses have been shipped to MA.
  • For more information, you can review the weekly COVID-19 vaccine report on this page.

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: 620 (+11 from last week); moderate risk
  • Hopkinton: 648 (+19); moderate risk
  • Southborough: 385 (+11); moderate risk
  • Westborough: 1,250 (+44); moderate risk

Education

  • The interactive data dashboard now contains weekly information on testing and positive cases in Massachusetts-based colleges and universities, which can be found here.
  • 647 new COVID-19 cases associated with higher education testing were reported last week. 11,442 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.
  • Due to the school vacation week, the Department did not release district-by-district COVID-19 positive tests last week. The next report will contain COVID-19 positives for staff and students in the last two weeks.

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, North Dakota
  • 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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