December 24, 2020 Update
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December 24, 2020 – The Town of Needham and Needham Public Health today provided the following update regarding COVID-19.
State DPH COVID-19 Numbers
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports the number of positive cases and deaths daily on the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
Town-specific case numbers are published by the state every Thursday.
• 766 Needham cases to date (12/24/2020). This is an increase of 69 cases since the 12/17/20 report. Needham is in the YELLOW category this week. Read the state’s Weekly Public Health Report here.
• 91 Coronavirus deaths in Needham to date (12/17/20).
Happy Holidays – Please Celebrate Safely
Happy holidays from the Town of Needham! While we hope you have an enjoyable holiday with your loved ones, please heed the guidance of public health officials: limit gatherings to immediate household members only. Wear a mask if you’re around people other than those who live in your home, wash your hands and remain at a safe distance. Do not share food or drinks with others as a further preventative measure. Together, we will get through this. More information and guidelines from safe celebrations here.
New Business Restrictions Take Effect December 26th
Beginning December 26, 2020, Massachusetts will implement temporary capacity limits to stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations rise. Most businesses will be required to reduce capacity to 25 percent of their maximum. This includes restaurants, personal service businesses, retailers and most offices. Businesses must adhere to the following capacity limitations. These limits are in effect until January 10, 2021 unless further extended by the Governor.
State Aid for Small Businesses Available
The Governor yesterday launched a $668 million program to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state will start releasing millions in new funding to restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses throughout the Commonwealth as soon as next week. More details on how to apply and eligibility requirements are available at www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org.
MBTA Extends Reduced Commuter Rail Schedule
The Commuter Rail will continue operating on reduced service through Jan. 8, a change that initially took effect Dec. 14 because of low employee availability stemming from COVID-19 absences. The reduced schedule includes daily service on all Commuter Rail lines and at all stations, and it is posted as the Storm Schedule online at MBTA.com and in-person at major stations. Regular train service includes 541 daily trains, but as of December 14, Commuter Rail is operating 246 daily trains. Weekend trains will continue to operate on a regular schedule.
Face Coverings/Mask Must be Worn
Governor Baker signed an executive order requiring everyone to wear face coverings in public beginning May 6th.
& What You Need to Know
December 7th Update
New COVID testing site now open in Newton
A new COVID-19 test site is now open at the Riverside MBTA Station, just off of I-95, in Newton.
Run by CIC-Health, the site is expected to be open seven days a week and open to all adults and children. Tests are $80 but discounts are available for groups of two, three or four individuals booking at the same appointment.
This site does not accept insurance.
Appointments are required and can be booked online here. All tests are self-administered from inside a drive-up window.
Walk ups are not permitted. All patients must be in a car to be tested.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health urges all symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, to be tested for COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: All symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested for COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever, chills or shaking chills
- Signs of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, lowered oxygen saturation)
- Fatigue, sore throat, headache, body aches/myalgia, or new loss of sense of taste or smell
- Other less common symptoms can include gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), rash, and inflammatory conditions such as “COVID toes”.
- In elderly, chronically ill, or debilitated individuals such as residents of a long-term care facility, symptoms of COVID-19 may be subtle such as alterations in mental status or in blood glucose control
Close Contacts of COVID Cases: All individuals in Massachusetts identified as a close contact by a Local Board of Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Community Tracing Collaborative, or a healthcare provider should be tested.
Asymptomatic Individuals: Asymptomatic individuals can be recommended for diagnostic testing at the discretion of their healthcare provider, a state agency, or an employer. Individuals are encouraged to confirm with their insurance whether the test will be covered.
Testing locations can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download
Important & Helpful Links
Resources for Families:
- Center at the Heights: 781-855-3629
Resources for Businesses
- **NEW** Information for Businesses
Donate or Volunteer
Contact Tracing Collaborative
The state has launched the Contact Tracing Collaborative to help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you get a call from one of these phone numbers, 833-638-1685 or 857-305-2728 please pick up the call and participate in the discussion. You can help slow the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Video Library
Visit the Town of Needham's YouTube Channel to find all our video updates regarding COVID-19 and the town.