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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:

Statewide Updates

  • Today is the Primary Election! Polls will be open until 8:00pm tonight. To locate your voting location, click here. Or, if you’ve already mailed in your ballot, you can track its status by clicking here.
  • In Massachusetts, there are a total of 117,450 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,649,836 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 3 known human cases of EEE and 3 known human cases of WNV. To learn more, click here.
  • The Department of Public Health has added Colorado, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to the list of “low risk states,” meaning travelers from those states will not have to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in Massachusetts. To view the full list of states and fore more information on the travel order, click here.
  • The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will begin offering dedicated service hours for customers who are 75 years of age or older and are required to renew their Massachusetts driver’s license in person. The new designated service hours will be by appointment only and will be offered on Wednesdays through the month of September.  Click here for more information (scroll down to “Senior Hours” section).
  • The US Department of Agriculture has extended the Child Nutrition Waivers to allow schools serving free meals to all children through December. If you are experiencing food insecurity, call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 or click here.

Local Updates

  • In Needham, the Needham Community Council is now accepting donations of clothing and household goods by appointment only. Click here to learn about making a donation of clean and saleable items. 
  • In Dover, Craig Hughes will be retiring from the Town of Dover effective November 11, 2020. Craig has been a member of the Highway Department for 34 years, serving as the Superintendent of Streets since 2004 and a member of the Fire Department for 45 years, serving as the Fire Chief since 2016. Please join me in thanking Craig for his service!
  • In Medfield, the Town has been awarded $139,316 in Green Communities funding from the Massachusetts Dept. of Energy Resources. The funds will be leveraged with expected utility incentives of $28,858, for a total funding of $168,174 for energy-efficiency projects.
  • 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.

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 education, 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.
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 Updateshttps://stories.opengov.com/needhamma/published/lP3WUJtv_
Medfield Updateshttp://www.town.medfield.net/1860/Coronavirus-Info-COVID-19
Dover Updateshttp://doverma.org/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=Dover-COVID19-Updates-Information-3
Department of Public Healthhttps://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information, call 2-1-1, or text COVIDMA to 888-777.
Centers for Disease Controlhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html