Travel Order: Starting August 1, all visitors and Massachusetts residents returning home, including students returning to campuses for the fall semester, must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower risk state or they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts, or they are included in one of the other, limited exemptions. Individuals who get a test must remain in quarantine until they receive their negative test results. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.
Travelers are exempt from this requirement if they are coming from a state that has been designated by the Department of Public Health as a lower risk COVID-19 state or fall into another narrow exemption category. The travel order and other information is available at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order
Free COVID Testing Available in Springfield and Agawam Until August 14th
The Commonwealth is launching a strategic testing program in communities across Massachusetts that have continued to see a higher number of residents testing positive for COVID-19. Springfield and Agawam are two of those communities. Get the full information here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Update:
- On Monday, a veteran resident of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke who was clinically recovered from COVID-19 (following CDC guidance) again experienced COVID-like symptoms, and was proactively transferred to a hospital for treatment and tested positive. The Home has been implementing protocols for clinically recovered individuals including residing on a unit with other clinically recovered veterans. The Home has immediately taken necessary precautions and is performing full-house testing with support from the Massachusetts National Guard.
- The resident lived on a unit dedicated for clinically recovered individuals. All residents on that unit are quarantined. Individuals are determined recovered according to CDC guidance.
- Regular onsite testing is being conducted every two weeks. Monday and Tuesday of this week (July 27 & July 28) full-house onsite testing for residents and staff is being conducted with support from the Massachusetts National Guard.
- Residents are closely monitored and if there is any sign of COVID-like symptoms, they are immediately retested.
- Visitation has been temporarily suspended to protect the health and safety of veteran residents and loved ones, as the outdoor visitation plan is contingent on the continued stability of infection control and public health metrics, which are monitored daily and coordinated with state and local health officials.
- Families were notified that in-person outdoor visitation has been suspended, and will be notified when it resumes in the future. Video visits between veteran residents and their loved ones is continuing this week, and the Family Hotline is available for ad hoc updates with support from social work and clinical staff.
- Families can call the Family Hotline at 413-552-4764 Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Families can also request updates via email at CommunicationsMailbox-HLY@Mass.gov. Please note the Soldiers’ Home can only share medical information about a resident with the authorized health care proxy on file.
- In June, the Baker-Polito Administration released the independent report ordered by Governor Baker to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, and announced a series of reforms to strengthen its governance and oversight of the Home, improving staffing processes, providing quality care for our Veterans, and planning for significant capital improvements.
- The Soldiers’ Home leadership is committed to ensuring the safety of the Veteran residents and restoring the Home to its rightful place that treats them with dignity, honor and respect. The Soldiers’ Home leadership is moving into the Transition & Rebuilding Phase that is focused on rebuilding staff leadership and team and positioning the facility to move forward safely.
- Phase 1 of the refresh project, which involved updating the interiors of the 3rd floor units for enhanced infection control, is nearing completion this month.
- Holyoke’s Clinical Command continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, monitoring staffing levels, while bringing on additional management staff for nursing, facilities, and administration. The Holyoke
Soldiers’ Home has been intently focused on following infection control procedures and maintaining best practices for the safety of veteran residents and staff, and to support the recovery of veterans as the health status of many stabilizes. All veteran residents’ health is being monitored and retesting is being conducted for veterans both on- and off-site as clinically appropriate.
- The current status as of July 27 is as follows:
- The current status of all residents:
1 veteran has tested positive across the Home and Holyoke Medical Center
20 veterans are negative
COVID-19 RESPONSE COMMAND CENTER
DAILY SITUATION REPORT
21 veterans have recovered, meaning they previously tested positive and are now
101 veterans have pending test results
2 veterans have refused testing
117 veterans are onsite
28 veterans are offsite
25 veterans are at a dedicated skilled nursing unit at Holyoke Medical Center
3 veterans are receiving acute care offsite
- Since March 1, there have been 101 veteran deaths (76 deaths of veterans who tested positive, 20 veterans who tested negative, 1 veteran whose status was unknown, 4 veterans were clinically recovered)
- All employees had been determined clinically recovered, and employees are being retested Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Currently there are 989 positive COVID cases in Holyoke >1% increase
7353 confirmed cases in Hampden County < 1% increase
1102 in Hampshire <1% increase
397 in Franklin < 1% decrease
648 in Berkshire county <1% increase
Weekly Public Health Report (Updated Wednesday) Contains town-by-town numbers, long-term care facility information, and more: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-weekly-public-health-report-
Massachusetts comprehensive daily “dashboard” illustrating the spread of this virus across regions and demographics: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-daily-dashboard-
Testing has a turnaround time of 4-6 days and many cases are being clinically diagnosed (no testing or reporting involved). All are advised to behave as though they are carriers of Covid-19.
The curve we need to flatten: County numbers graphed over time can be found here: https://www.wmasscovid.com/
Massachusetts has now experienced a total of 8,360 deaths among the 109,096 confirmed Covid-19 cases. *Massachusetts is now reporting “probable” Coronavirus deaths in addition to confirmed cases.
Mass website featuring all Covid-19 testing sites: www.mass.gov/covid-testmap
Please be advised that you may be contacted by Public Health officials as part of the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Initiative sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to someone who has tested positive, you may receive a call from your local Board of Health or from the MA Department of Public Health. The call will only take a few minutes and is a necessary step to limit the spread of the virus. Your information will not be shared with any other agencies and these officials will never ask for your social security number or health insurance information. If you have any questions about a call you received, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full list and safety protocols available at : www.mass.gov/reopening