As we continue to move through Massachusetts phased reopening, I wanted to share with you the new information from Needham, Dover, Medfield, and across the Commonwealth:
- In Massachusetts, there are a total of 114,786 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,467,765 individual tests (molecular testing) have been performed. You can access a summary of case details and lab testing and cases by hospital facility and additional COVID-19 response reporting on the dashboard here.
- The Department of Public Health is monitoring the presence of mosquito-borne diseases in Massachusetts, including West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Currently, Massachusetts has found positive mosquito samples of WNV and EEE and there are 2 known human cases of EEE and 1 known human case of WNV. To learn more, click here.
- Today, Governor Baker announced that that Salem, Saugus, and Holyoke have been added to the Stop the Spread program. This program provides free COVID-19 tests through September 12 for residents in communities with a higher number of positive test results. To learn more, click here.
- The House of Representatives and the Senate have enacted a $1.8 Billion bond bill to strengthen the Commonwealth’s information technology and physical infrastructure. The legislation also authorizes funding for food security, law enforcement body cameras, and investments in educational technologies in schools. This bill has been signed by the Governor.
- The Baker-Polito Administration announced $3.3 million in grants to address food insecurity for Massachusetts residents due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. These grants include $37,000 to Volante Farms in Needham.These grants are part of the Food Insecurity Grant Program that was announced in May 2020. Applications will continue to be evaluated on a rolling basis through September 15, 2020. For more information, click here.
- The Charles River Center 5K Run/1 Mile Walk will be taking place virtually this year. Individuals and teams can sign up and run or walk and submit their time during the week of Sunday, September 20 to Sunday, September 27. For more information and to register, click here.
- Needham welcomes Hunter and Vivian Jacob to our community!
- In Needham, the Dine Around Needham, a Progressive Dinner Party will be taking place tomorrow, August 19 from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Restaurant-goers can enjoy a socially distant night out Needham. For more information, click here.
- In Dover, Parks and Recreation have announced that the 2020 Dover Days has been canceled. All on-site events will not be held this year including the Dover Dash: 5K & Fun Run.
- In Medfield, the Town’s water restriction has been elevated to tier 4. This restriction prohibits nonessential water use between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. For more information, click here.
Reopening Updates – Phase 3: Vigilant
- As of August 11, Massachusetts began a series of steps aimed at curbing the recent increase in COVID-19 cases:
- Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people in a single space and 25% capacity in smaller areas;
- Masks are still required when people are unable to socially distance and must be worn for any gathering of more than 10 people from more than a single household;
- Alcoholic beverages can only be served at restaurants if accompanied by food prepared on-site; and
- The Department of Public health, local boards of health, and now state and municipal police are authorized to enforce the new order. Violations can result in a fine up to $500 per violation, or a cease and desist order.
- Last week the Department of Public Health released additional data on the average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, average percent positivity, and total case counts, for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns over the last two weeks – the map can be found here. Each city or town has been designated as a higher risk, moderate risk, or lower risk community. This information will now be included in the Department of Public Health’s weekly dashboard.
- On Monday, July 7, the state entered into the first step of Phase 3 in Massachusetts Reopening. This includes: casino gaming floors, horse racing tracks, indoor recreational and athletic fields, fitness centers and gyms, museums, indoor historic spaces, aquariums, outdoor theaters and performance venues, outdoor event space, indoor event space, indoor non-athletic instructional classes, indoor recreational businesses, movie and TV production, sightseeing and other organized tours, movie theaters, and post-secondary, higher ed, vocational tech, and occupational schools regular operations.
- If you have questions, input, or comments regarding the Reopening Massachusetts plan, you can submit comments online. These comments can be used by the Administration to support efforts to methodically reopen the economy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for the form.
Resources and Additional Information
- Anyone feeling overwhelmed with sadness, anxiety, or stress, or who wants to harm themselves or others, can access the mental health, emotional support, and suicide prevention program Call2Talk by dialing 2-1-1. Call2Talk is also available by calling 508-532-2255 or by texting C2T to 741741.
- If you or someone you know is at risk for sexual and domestic violence, service providers are still accessible. You can find local services by clicking here. You can also call SafeLink, the statewide domestic violence hotline, at 1-877-785-2020. SafeLink can provide resources and support services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- To file an unemployment claim, visit here. If you have trouble filing a claim, please contact my office for assistance.
- If you do not qualify for traditional unemployment benefits but have lost your job due to COVID-19, you may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance under the federal CARES Act. To learn more, click here.
- To apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)benefits call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 (M-F from 8 AM-7 PM & Saturday from 10 AM-2 PM.)
- The WIC (Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition) program provides families with healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to healthcare and other services for families. To check your eligibility and apply for WIC, click here.
- A recent survey by The ROX Institute for Research and Training found that nearly 80% of adolescent girls reported feeling more lonely since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you, or someone you know, are interested in becoming a mentor for a girl ages 7-15 the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
- The Needham Community Council continues to support friends and neighbors of our community, but they need your help. Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities and donation options!
Please remember social distancing is the most effective tool to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to these updates, my office is still accessible so please continue to reach out and we will get back to you.
Our local boards of health, the Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control are continuing to maintain websites with the most updated information regarding COVID-19 that you can access here:
Needham Health Department Updates: https://stories.opengov.com/needhamma/published/lP3WUJtv_
Medfield Updates: http://www.town.medfield.net/1860/Coronavirus-Info-COVID-19
Dover Updates: http://doverma.org/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=Dover-COVID19-Updates-Information-3
Department of Public Health: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information, call 2-1-1, or text COVIDMA to 888-777.
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html