Census assistance at Tech this Friday, Commuter Rail fall changes, & more | September 22, 2020

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

See our other COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.

Today’s Municipal Meetings

All meetings below will be broadcast live
Lynn Planning Board Meeting – 3:00 PM
Lynn City Council Subcommittee Meetings – 4:00 PM
Lynn City Council Meeting – 5:15
Lynn Conservation Commission Meeting – 6:30 PM

Click here to watch the meetings on our website.

Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) Series on Friday at Lynn Tech Annex

The 2020 Census will soon be ending, but the Lynn Is All In Complete Count Committee (CCC) still has one Final Push to help its residents respond to the 2020 Census. The very active CCC will conclude a series of at least 20 Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) events this week with a major push on Friday, September 25 at Albert Malagrifa Lynn Vocational Tech Institute Annex. To date, the CCC has held more than 100 MQAs in the city. Translator services will be available Friday in Bengali, French, Haitian/Creole, and Spanish.

Census Response Representatives (CRRs) will be on hand with iPads to help residents safely and securely fulfill their civic duty by responding to the census. All census employees and partners will be wearing masks and adhering to local and state health and safety guidelines.

Residents are being urged to complete the 2020 Census today to help make sure their community does not miss out on funding and representation for the next 10 years. They can learn more and complete their census form at 2020CENSUS.GOV.

Date:  Friday, September 25, 2020 from 4-7pm

Address:  Albert Malagrifa Lynn Tech Annex
90 Commercial St. in Lynn

Location Note:  The event will be located in the school’s parking lot behind the building, and at the intersection of Summer Street and Vine Street

Event Hosts: Lynn CCC, Lynn Mayor’s Office, Lynn City Clerk’s Office, City of Lynn, Lynn Public Schools, Albert Malagrifa Lynn Vocational Tech Institute, Lynn Economic Opportunity (LEO) Inc., New American Association of Massachusetts, New England Bangladeshi American Foundation

Additional Census data from Lynn City Clerk/Chief of Elections Janet Rowe:

  • September 30th  is the last day for Census intake.
  • According to our Census rep. Dr. Phil, 19 new households were counted just last Monday.
  • As of last Thursday, Lynn’s response rate has risen to 62.5% with Massachusetts at 68.4%.  Unfortunately, we will not know the enumerated numbers until the Census intake is over at the end of the month.
  • Lynn is not on the list for Hard to Count (HTC) municipalities.

The City of Lynn has been collaborating with the State’s COVID Field Teams to raise awareness around how to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. To date they have distributed over 2,700 flyers and 850 masks across the city in a total of 60 hours.

Keep an eye out for them in the coming weekends!


Find out about COVID-19 testing in Lynn by clicking here.
The “Stop The Spread” iniative has been extended until Oct. 31st.

North Shore Medical Center, Mass General Brigham join Lynn City Leaders to fight COVID-19 in hardest hit communities

NSMC, Lynn Community Health Center and the City of Lynn partnered to offer COVID-19 testing at the Ingalls School in downtown Lynn. Pictured: NSMC staff Natasha Shah, M.D., (left) and Dierdre Smith-Horton, LICSW, distribute free care kits to local residents.

COVID-19 infection rates in Massachusetts may be down overall but they remain stubbornly high in some communities, including Lynn. To keep cases down in these hard-hit spots, North Shore Medical Center (NSMC), Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC), the City of Lynn and Mass General Brigham have collaborated on a public education and outreach campaign to increase testing and encourage residents to remain vigilant about avoiding the disease.

For the past several months, NSMC has joined Lynn community partners to host a series of outreach events where residents can receive free COVID-19 testing and Care Kits containing masks, hand sanitizer, soap and information in multiple languages about avoiding COVID-19.  To date more than 40,000 Care kits have been distributed to Lynn residents.  NSMC is partnering with the City of Lynn to distribute an additional 15,000 kits in the upcoming weeks and with the Lynn Community Health Center to expand testing for area residents.

In addition, a “Keep Cases Down” public information campaign has launched and includes multilingual digital, billboard and social media advertising as well as personalized patient messages through the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway system.  These ads appear in Lynn as well as other communities and LCHC physician Carlos Cappas, M.D., Chief of Behavioral Health, is among the prominent community leaders featured in the campaign.

“We know that we can reduce COVID-19 infections if we continue to mask, practice hand hygiene, and maintain social distancing, says Tina McLoughlin, NSMC Manager of Community Benefits. “This campaign ramps up our efforts to deliver this message deep into our communities and in multiple language to ensure it is effective in diverse communities.”

The Mass General Brigham campaign is targeting communities where higher rates of COVID-19 are reported including Chelsea, Revere, Lawrence, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roxbury, Dorchester, East Boston, Lynn and Everett. The ads include animated videos in English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach communities hard hit by the virus.

Dr. Cappas video – en Espanol

Fall 2020 Commuter Rail Schedule Changes Take Effect November 2

New schedules include levelling out service throughout the day, eliminating gaps in mid-day service, providing more options to riders that promote social distancing, reintroducing Express trains. 

Foxboro pilot will be temporarily suspended and restarted in spring 2021. Fairmount pilot will be expanded with two additional trips.

The MBTA today announced upcoming schedule changes coming to the Commuter Rail network this fall effective Monday, November 2. These updates are being made in response to changing ridership patterns on the Commuter Rail as a result of the pandemic.

“These upcoming schedule changes for the Commuter Rail aim to more evenly distribute service, and are being made in response to changing ridership patterns, including when and how commuter riders travel as many work locations in downtown Boston continue to be closed,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We continue to prioritize the safety of our riders and workforce through enhanced safety and disinfecting protocols, and requiring face coverings within the system. I want to also note my continued appreciation to our essential frontline workforce, who come to work every day through the pandemic in order to provide transit services to those who need it most.”

Commuter Rail service was initially reduced in March 2020. In June 2020, about 85 percent of normal, pre-pandemic Commuter Rail service resumed. Commuter Rail schedules have historically been focused on peak period ridership patterns. The most recent data indicates that around 7 percent of morning peak ridership has returned while all-day ridership is at about 11 percent. Most downtown Boston work locations currently remain closed.

Based on this data and the understanding that travel patterns are changing as employers explore flexible work schedules and telework, the goal of these upcoming Commuter Rail schedule changes is to accommodate traditional ridership while also adapting service where commutes have changed (to accommodate new staggered work start times, for example) and where the Commuter Rail may become a new option for some customers. These schedules aim to level out service consistently over the course of the day and eliminate gaps in mid-day service, providing more options to riders that promote social distancing.

More Information on Fall Changes Effective November 2:

Train counts will increase on weekdays from 505 in fall 2019 to 544 in this fall 2020, utilizing the same number of train sets and crews as October 2019. Thirty-two of the thirty-nine new trains (82 percent) will serve either Fairmount, Brockton, or Lynn:

  • Fairmont service: This fall, mid-day service will operate every forty-five minutes (fall 2019 mid-day service operated every sixty minutes).
  • Brockton service: This fall, mid-day service will operate every sixty to seventy minutes (fall 2019 mid-day service ranged ninety to 120 minutes).
  • Lynn service: This fall, mid-day service will operate every thirty minutes (fall 2019 service ranged thirty to ninety minutes).

Other key service changes include:

  • Providence service: Service will also be more evenly distributed throughout the day with consistent, all-day service and sixty-minute headways.
  • Worcester service: Better commute options will be offered with the reintroduction of Express trains. The Heart to Hub service on the Worcester Line will also resume, operating at more convenient times and also serving Framingham.

These fall 2020 schedule changes are currently being revised with final Commuter Rail schedules made available online within the coming weeks.

Commuter Rail Service Pilot Updates:

In an effort to fairly assess current Commuter Rail service pilots that have been affected by the pandemic and current ridership counts, changes to some Commuter Rail service pilots will be in effect beginning November 2. The criteria for evaluating these service pilots will also be updated to account for lower ridership and new budget realities.

  • The late-night South Shore schedule change pilot that began in fall 2019 will be paused. This pilot will be considered in the future when ridership and large events in Boston return.
  • The Foxboro Weekday Service pilot that began in fall 2019 will be temporarily suspended. This pilot is scheduled to restart in spring 2021.
  • The Fairmount Line Weekday Service pilot that added eight additional trips to the Line in June 2020 will continue and be expanded in the fall 2020 schedules. Two more trips will be added in order to provide trains at a regular forty-five-minute interval.

Commuter Rail Fare Pilot Updates:

The Lynn Zone 1A pilot remains in effect through December 31, 2020. This pilot provides additional travel options for North Shore customers, eases crowding on nearby bus routes, and allows the MBTA to collect ridership data related to the effects of temporary fare changes on relieving crowding.

The Five-Day Flex Pass pilot will be extended to December 31, 2020. The Five-day Flex Pass on mTicket is a bundled fare good for any five days of travel within a thirty-day period.

The Youth Pass is currently valid on all Commuter Rail Zones with this pilot extended to December 31, 2020. The Youth Pass Program is a partnership between the MBTA and participating cities and towns that offers young adults with low incomes roughly 50 percent reduced one-way fares or $30 monthly LinkPasses and was previously only available on bus and subway.

The Foxboro Reverse Commute Fare pilot will end on October 30, 2020. This fare pilot offered a fare equal to that of an interzone 4 fare to commuters who traveled from Zone 1A stations on the Franklin and Fairmount Lines to Foxboro in the morning and returned to Boston in the evening.

For more information, visit mbta.com or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook/TheMBTA, or Instagram @theMBTA.

Updates from state government

  • As of Monday night, DPH reported a total of 125,723 cases of COVID-19. The state has now confirmed a total of 9,107 deaths from the virus.
  • A bill setting the terms for capital improvement bonds bounced back and forth between the House and Senate on Monday, earning final passage in each branch.
  • Representatives took moments Monday to honor the memories of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and former state Rep. John Costello.
  • The Baker administration has left school reopening plans up to local officials but the state education commissioner is now asking 16 districts to lay out plans for when they will bring students back into the classrooms, citing a “stark discrepancy” between their reopening models and local public health metrics.
  • Education Commissioner Jeff Riley on Friday night wrote to officials in the districts that are offering remote-only instruction and have COVID-19 transmission rates that fall into the lowest risk categories in the state’s color-coded assessment system – Amesbury, Bourne, Boxford, East Longmeadow, Gardner, Pittsfield, Provincetown, West Springfield, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public, Hoosac Valley Regional, Gill-Montague, Mohawk Trail, Mohawk Trail/Hawlemont, Manchester Essex Regional, Belmont and Watertown. He asked for more information about their fall reopening plans and gave them 10 calendar days to respond.
  • State and federal officials have not settled on a preferred design for a years-long megaproject in Allston, and are extending the review process to further analyze possible construction layouts and to allow more time for public feedback. Monday had been circled as a deadline for the state Department of Transportation and federal partners to decide a consensus option for the more than $1 billion infrastructure project, but Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the process is “taking a little longer” than a schedule she outlined.
  • Under an updated outline Pollack presented at a Monday MassDOT board meeting, agencies will continue talks into October. Officials will then open another public comment period, then attempt to find agreement on a preferred design this fall.

From Mayor McGee’s office: The Lynn Public Health Department has confirmed that as of today, the number of active, confirmed positive COVID-19 cases is 580 with 7 new cases today. 4,171 Lynn residents have recovered and 117 have died. The total number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Lynn since March 21, 2020, including those who have died and recovered, is 4,868. Please visit the City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.

Stop the Spread Initiative Testing have been extended until Saturday, October 31st

Please visit http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/covid19/resources.shtml#p7GPc1_2 for more information on how you can get a free COVID-19 test in the City of Lynn until October 31st.

We will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 through the City website (www.lynnma.gov), social media, and the Smart 911 emergency notification system (sign up at www.smart911.com).

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