As of 5/26/2020, the positive COVID 19 case count in Massachusetts is 93,271 with 10,505 in Worcester County. There have been 6,416 COVID-19 related deaths reported in Massachusetts. The number of positive tested cases in the Town of Webster is now at 168; however, of the 151 positive cases 121 have fully recovered. Unfortunately, two Webster residents have passed away from the novel coronavirus. Our thoughts are with the deceased’s friends and family.
On Monday, Governor Baker and the Reopening Team introduced phase 1 of the state’s four phase reopening plan. The full plan can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download In summary, the businesses listed in the table below will be permitted to resume operations on May 18 or May 25. All other businesses and workplaces remain closed through Phase 1. No business is required to re-open and may not reopen until it is ready.
- Essential businesses already operating must self-certify and comply with applicable standards by May 25 or July 1.
- Retail curbside pickup only
- Places of worship (40% occupancy limit)
- Firearms retailers and shooting ranges
- Laboratories and life sciences facilities
- Offices limited to < 25% maximum occupancy; work from home strongly encouraged. (Boston office opening delayed to June 1.)
- Car Washes exterior and self-service only
- Hair salons/barber shops by appointment only
- Pet grooming by appointment (curbside drop-off and pick-up)
- Certain outdoor recreational facilities and activities
Contact Tracing: We need your help. If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or had contact with someone who did, the COVID Community Team will be reaching out via phone to you and your close contacts to slow the spread. We’ll make sure that you are getting the medical attention you need and support through quarantine. Your caller ID will show the call is coming from 508-713-3983 or 833-638-1685 or 857-305-2728. Your name will not be released.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has developed a dashboard with many statistics regarding the evolving COVID-19 situation. The Dashboard includes daily and cumulative confirmed cases; cases by hospital, county, and age/sex/ethnicity; testing by date; hospital capacity; nursing home data; and PPE distribution. The dashboard is updated daily and can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting
COVID-19 Public Resources Map: MEMA, together with MA VOAD and other partners, has developed a COVID-19 Public Resources Map showing the location of resources available to the public, such as food banks, houses of worship, school lunch sites, and Project Bread site locations. Please note that this map is not inclusive of all resources, and is only as accurate as the information that has been provided to MEMA. The map can be found here: https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5867d881a9324121839605c56a3d7cc9
Please remember to:
- Avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities.
- Protect yourself by following public health advice about keeping your hands clean and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you need to consult a health care provider, call ahead first or use telehealth services.
- Protect others who are most at risk of COVID-19 by keeping your distance from people (at least 6 feet away from others), especially those who are older, and people living with chronic health conditions.
- If you are outside, avoid crowds.
- Don’t shake hands or hug.
- Stay connected to friends and loved ones by phone or through other technology.
- Get information from trusted sources such as the links below.
- Take care of your emotional health and help others do the same. If you need emotional support during these stressful times, call 2-1-1 and choose the “CALL2TALK” option
Links to Relevant Information
Local information: The Board of Selectmen received an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at their meeting on 3/23/20. A video can be seen here (the audio improves greatly at the 7:37 minute mark) and the minutes of the meeting can be found here. Prior, situational awareness updates can be found here: 3/19/20, 4/2/20, 4/15/20
For more information regarding COVID-19 and the Federal Government’s response, please see the CDC website www.coronavirus.gov.
For more information regarding the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ response to COVID-19, please see www.mass.gov/covid19.
For a complete list of emergency orders click here.
The Commonwealth has established a COVID-19 text alert system for immediate updates from the State. Please text COVIDMA to 888-777 to subscribe.
Here is also an interesting article from the WSJ regarding the virus and how to protect your self.
Town Response to COVID-19
Enforcement of State and Federal Regulations and Recommendations
Town officials have been very busy contacting each and every establishment and business in Town enforcing Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities until their appropriate reopening phase. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. The Baker-Polito Administration issued a list of designated businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to COVID-19 that shall continue to operate. The list can be found here. Restaurants are able to remain open for drive-thru or take out only. Additionally, we are enforcing the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s order to limit public gatherings to no more than 10 people.
Cancellation of all Town-Sponsored Activities and Events
All non-essential Town of Webster sponsored group programs and events are suspended until further notice. If you have any questions about a particular event, please do not hesitate to contact the Recreation Office at 508-949-3800 ext. 1023
Memorial Beach and Town Parks: Memorial beach and town parks will remain open for passive recreational activities that only involve transitory movement (walking, jogging, running, etc.) and for solitary beach fishing. Athletic and recreational activities that bring participants into close, physical contact are prohibited. Playgrounds are closed as well.
Closed Public Buildings to the Walk-in Public
Town buildings will be closed to the walk-in public until further notice; however, employees will still be working and available to assist via the telephone, email, etc. Most, if not all, Town services can be performed online and we encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity. This includes applying for most permits, making payments, etc. If you have any questions about a particular service, please do not hesitate to contact the respective department directly.
As a reminder, many library products are available through the library website or its many smartphone app partners. Library patrons may pick up books placed on hold by calling ahead to the library and coordinating a pick up time in the library vestibule.
Scheduled board and committee meetings have been cancelled as well. Future meetings will only be scheduled to conduct urgent business and may be done via technology to avoid large gatherings.
Individual and Family Relief
School lunches: During school closures free meals will be available to all residents 18 and under Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Meals will be provided in a grab and go drive thru at the following locations:
- Bartlett High School
- Webster Middle School
- Park Avenue Elementary
All meals must be consumed off site. Check www.webster-schools.org for menu updates.
School Closures: All schools have been closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Unemployment: Governor Baker signed S.2599 to provide unemployment assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19. This legislation will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits. To find out more information and to apply for unemployment benefits please visit: https://www.mass.gov/topics/unemployment. In order to better meet the needs of customers whose employment has been affected by the coronavirus, DUA will be hosting daily town hall meetings where we will take our constituents through a step by step process of achieving a successful unemployment claim and taking questions from claimants across the Commonwealth. Click here for more information.
Housing Stability: The Commonwealth announced steps to keep vulnerable families in their homes, preserve the health and safety of low-income renters and homeowners, and prevent homelessness due to reduced or lost income. Please click here for more information.
PPE Need: The Town has received shipments of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Commonwealth. This is critical to keeping our first responders safe. However, the Town is still seeking donations of PPE to supplement our current low supplies for those on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations can be dropped off at the Police Station lobby. At this time the Town is primarily collecting donations of the following materials:
- N95 masks (highest priority)
- Surgical masks
- Face masks with integrated shield
- Protective suits/gowns
- Booties/shoe covers
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitizing wipes
Thank you in advance for your support.
Blood Shortage: The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during the COVID-19 outbreak. There is an urgent blood donation need now for patients with chronic conditions and trauma, as well as for ensuring an adequate blood and blood product supply going forward. The Governor has deemed “Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities” as an essential service. Donating blood is safe and people should not hesitate to give. In addition, there is a need for community blood drive sites in the eastern part of the state. Those who are healthy, feeling well, and eligible to give blood or platelets are urged to make an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Health Care Professional Volunteers: The Commonwealth has developed a portal at: https://www.mass.gov/health-services-covid-19-volunteer-form to connect health care professionals with volunteer opportunities to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Online Symptom Checker: The Commonwealth has developed a web tool for residents to assess their symptoms at www.buoy.com/mass.
Governor Baker has signed legislation into law to protect homeowners and tenants from eviction and foreclosure. An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 emergency ensures housing stability for residents and families, and can be read in its entirety here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H4647.
RMV: The RMV is enforcing a strict no walk-in policy at its eight Service Centers open to the general public. The only transactions that will be processed at service centers are those that require an in-person transaction, including Commercial Driving Licenses or Permits (CDLs / CLPs), some new registrations, out of state conversions and new Mass IDs. Customers who need to complete these transactions will be required to make an online appointment reservation, and customers arriving without an appointment will be asked to leave and make an appointment online to return at a future date.
Appointment reservations can be made online at www.Mass.Gov/RMV in the myRMV Online Service Center under “Make or Cancel a Reservation.” Customers who make an appointment will be sent a confirmation email that they should be prepared to show on arrival at their designated time at a specific Service Center.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) is deferring scheduled repayments for its No-Interest Loan Program for a duration of four months to support relief efforts during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These deferments will help approximately 12,000 students that participate in the $5 million program annually funded through the repayment of loans. For more information see: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-division-of-banks-joins-multi-state-initiative-to-provide-relief.
For owners or managers of multi-unit dwellings, please see recommended precautions developed by the Board of Health.
Suspected Cases of COVID-19 in the Home
- Wear a facemask. Facemasks may include cloth face coverings only if approved PPE is not available.
- Serve meals to the individual in their room –do not dine together.
- If the home has two bathrooms, designate one bathroom for use by the individual with suspected case, and the other bathroom for others to use.
- When asking the individual about symptoms of COVID-19, include additional symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Use the online symptom checker at buoy.com/mass, to quickly screen for symptoms with the resident.
- Takes 2-3 minutes to complete online screening questions using a phone, tablet, or computer.
- If symptoms require a medical consultation, free telemedicine services are available through buoy.com/mass to all individuals served by MassHealth.
- Arrange a phone or video call with the individual’s health care provider if symptoms match those of COVID-19.
- When a resident shows symptoms of illness or has potentially been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, contact the individual’s PCP so the resident can receive COVID-19 testing.
- Testing sites are available by appointment. Here is the list of testing sites across the state: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download