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As the COVID-19 Command Center and other agencies and organizations provide updates on COVID-19, I wanted to share with you the new information being reported:

Reopening Updates – Phase 1: Start

  • Today, the Baker-Polito Administration released the Reopening Advisory Board’s report. This report details a four-phased strategy for reopening businesses and activities in the Commonwealth while fighting against COVID-19. The reopening will be driven by public health data based on six indicators that must continue to show progress to move into the next stages:
    • COVID-19 positive test rate
    • Number of individuals who died from COVID-19
    • Number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals
    • Healthcare system readiness
    • Testing capacity
    • Contact tracing capabilities
  • Phase 1 will begin tomorrow, May 19. The first step of Phase 1 will allow construction, manufacturing, and places of worship to reopen under sector-specific guidance that details necessary safety measures.
    • Essential businesses stay open and continue to operate, but must comply with safety standards, and must self-certify by May 25, 2020.
    • Hospitals and community health centers who attest to meeting specific capacity criteria and public health/safety standards will be allowed to resume a limited set of in-person preventative, diagnostic and treatment services.
    • To learn more about the reopening process and to read the guidance, click here.
  • As businesses reopen in Phase 1, they must require masks and coverings for all employees, provide handwashing supplies and capabilities, sanitize high touch areas, develop staffing and operations plans, and establish protocols to ensure employees can practice adequate social distancing, For more information, and to purchase hygienic and protective supplies, click here.
  • The Departments of Early Education and Care and Public Health are developing guidelines that balance families’ need for child care with health and safety. The initial reopening plan will focus on families who have no safe alternative to group care by increasing emergency child care capacity, which has remained open and accessible to children of essential employees.

Statewide Updates

  • In Massachusetts, there are a total of 87,052 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 469,199 tests 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.
  • Today, the Department of Public Health updated the Stay at Home advisory to the “Safer at Home” advisory. This advisory recommends everyone to stay home unless they are headed to a newly opened facility or activity. Those over the age of 65 are advised to stay at home except for trips required for health care, groceries, or that are otherwise absolutely necessary.

Local Updates

  • In Needham, the Town of Needham has modified its Memorial Day observances. In lieu of a parade and ceremony, the public is invited to visit wreaths that will be placed in nine locations around town for viewing and visitation. Click here to view a map of the locations.
  • In Needham, the tap water in town may have an unusual odor over the next several days but is safe to drink. Due to a mechanical pump failure, the Needham Water Department is activating its connection to MWRA which supplements the local supplies during high demand periods.
  • In Medfield, the Town of Medfield, Medfield Public Schools, and the Dale Street School Building Committee are holding an online community forum on the Dale Street School Project on Tuesday, May 19 at 7:00 PM. Click here for more information.
  • In Dover, the Board of Health issued a reminder regarding Community Transmission. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is increasing slowly, the Board of Health would like to issue a reminder that confirmed cases includes only those who have had symptoms, been tested, and tests have been positive. The number of cases may be higher and it is important to remain vigilant when in the community.
  • Verizon is offering small business relief grants for small businesses facing immediate financial threats due to COVID-19. These grants are meant to help small businesses meet payroll, pay rent, and cover additional immediate operational needs. Applications are due May 20 at 11:50 PM. For more information, click here.

Resources

  • 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 8am-7pm & Saturday from 10am-2pm.) 
  • 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.
  • Text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive daily text updates from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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.
EmailDenise.Garlick@mahouse.gov
Phone: 617-722-2380

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 Updateshttp://www.needhamma.gov/85/Public-Health
Medfield Updateshttp://www.town.medfield.net/1860/Coronavirus-Info-COVID-19
Dover Updateshttp://doverma.org/
Department of Public Healthhttps://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19, call 2-1-1, or text COVIDMA to 888-777.
Centers for Disease Controlhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html