State COVID numbers rise as Lynn returns to “red category”, government aid/vaccine updates, LPS in-person update, + more | March 26, 2021

LYNN NEWS ROUND-UP
MARCH 26, 2021

See our COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.


ICYMI: The free election section of our website is also now live with information valuable to voters such as candidate lists, voter registration deadlines, interactive polling location map, & more. CLICK HERE TO VISIT!


Lynn city buildings now reopened to the public. Click here for more info.

MA has advanced to Step 1 of Phase IV. Click here for more info.

COVID Vaccine Clinics available for Lynn Educators & essential workers on March 27, April 3, April 10, & April 11. Click here for more info.


Weekly COVID-19 numbers from Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health

Map courtesy of WCVB, click for full-resolution image

Every week the MA Dept. of Public Health releases numbers for how COVID-19 has impacted the state, and we try to highlight some of these numbers so the community is informed about how COVID is impacting Lynn & the state. Their numbers factor in the past week as well as the week before, giving 2 weeks worth of data.

Two weeks ago the City of Lynn officially entered the yellow COVID-19 risk category for the first time, but this week Lynn has returned to the red category. This is bad news for Lynn, which has been hit hard throughout the pandemic. Just last month Lynn passed 15,000 total cases but we currently stand at 16,275. Lynn currently has 354 active cases, up from 306 last week. New 24-hour cases have not risen above 81 & 25 people have died since the start of February, both statistics tredning in a positive direction for the city.

There is concern a lack of vaccine availability, the coming warmer weather, the return of youth sports, re-opening schools to in-person learning, & loosening restrictions could cause a spike in cases. After weeks of declining numbers the increase in Lynn & return to the red category proves these words of caution to be true. With those factors in mind it is still recommended to take COVID-19 seriously until you’ve been fully vaccinated, & even after to still mask up and distance for at least a little while to help mitigate the spread to ensure those that aren’t able to get the vaccine yet remain healthy. Please read about the Lynn Tech vaccination site by clicking here.

The average daily incidence rate per 100,000 for Lynn this week was 29.5 while it was at 22.3, 21.8, 26.1, 3& 1.4 the last 4 weeks. The positivity rate this week was 4.69% while it was 3.81%, 3.63%, 4.37, & 5.32% the last 4 weeks. These are both concerning increases for Lynn,after promising decreases that the city hasn’t seen in months. You can view these trends for Lynn yourself on the City of Lynn’s COVID-19 dashboard by clicking here. You can click the icon in the top-right corner of each section to see it enlarged.

The state of Massachusetts has also seen some negative trends this week. The average daily incidence rate per 100,000 for MA this week was 21.5 while for the past 4 weeks it was 19.5, 20.3, 23.3, & 30.0. The positivity rate this week was 2.01% but the 4 weeks prior it had been 1.83%, 1.83%, 1.93%, & 2.15%. Earlier this month the number of communities in the red category had rapidly declined, reaching a low of 14, but we are currently double that. The number of communities in the yellow has fluctuated due to communities changing categories from red to yellow and yellow to green, but has remained below 200 for weeks.

The United States currently has 30.1 million cases, up only 400K from last week. There are currently 126 million cases reported worldwide, up from 122 million last week. Internationally cases have remained fairly constatnt, with at least 3million more a week for several weeks now. Increases in case numbers in the U.S. have dropped significantly, but are still fluctating. At it’s height back in early January 208,336 new cases were reported with a 7-day average of 254,873. Yesterday 69,586 new cases were reported, with a 7-day average of 58,579.

The death toll in the US now sits at approx. 546K, while it was at 539K, 530K, 520K, & 508K the previous 4 weeks. This accounts for approx. 20% of the worldwide death toll, is second only to Brazil at 303K. The good news is that deaths are trending downwards, but are still at the levels we first saw back in April 2020. Yesterday 1,270 were declared dead due to COVID-19, & the 7-day average for deaths sits at 1,019.

In Massachusetts there are currently 32 communities in the red category & 179 in the yellow category. The last 4 weeks there were 20, 14, 19, & 28 communities in the red. The last 4 weeks there were 175, 181, 178, & 190 communities in the yellow.

Last week’s map courtesy of WCVB, click for full-resolution image

The MA Department of Public Health continues to conduct surveillance for COVID-19 variants of concern including B.1.1.7 (first identified in the UK), B.1.351 (first identified in South Africa) and P.1 (first identified in Brazil).

Surveillance, consisting of genetic sequencing on portions of COVID-19 positive specimens, has been ongoing in a collaboration between the Massachusetts State Public health Laboratory with clinical diagnostic laboratories and academic partners, including the CDC. Surveillance data so far has identified B.1.1.7 and the B.1.351 cases without any recent travel; it is critical to do everything possible to keep variants of concern from becoming widespread.

The public health risk reduction measures remain the same. Individuals must continue to wear masks or face coverings while out in public, maintain 6-foot social distancing, stay home when you are sick, and get tested if you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact

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Below are the statistics for Lynn & the state.

City/Town Total Case Count Case Count (Last 14 Days) Average Daily Incidence Rate per 100,000 (Last 14 days) Relative Change in Case Counts Total Tests Total Tests (Last 14 days) Total Positive Tests (Last 14 days) Percent Positivity (Last 14 days) Change in Percent Positivity
Lynn 15,896 417 29.5 Higher 201,864 10,168 477 4.69% Higher
STATEWIDE 584,024 20,975 21.5 Higher 18,201,030 1,175,822 23,589 2.01% Higher

If you would like to find out full statistics for the entire state, including maps & town-by-town data, you can find the full weekly report from MA Dept. of Public Health by clicking here (link downloads a PDF).

Previous Weekly Public Health Reports can be found  by clicking here.
All information above was obtained via official state & federal sources.


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Find a mass vaccine location near you by clicking here. For phasing details and the most up-to-date vaccination timeline please click here.

A vaccination site has opened at Lynn Tech for Lynners.

Find out more & watch a video tour by clicking here.
Schedule an appointment by clicking here.


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Baker-Polito Administration Provides Weekly Dose Updates, $100 Million for Disproportionately Impacted Communities, Announces Homebound Vaccination Program

Photo courtesy of State of MA

Yesterday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the weekly distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses to providers across the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has received 330,000 first and second doses from the federal government as part of the state allocation of doses.

The Administration also announced $100 million in funding for four communities – Chelsea, Everett, Methuen and Randolph – that are all designated hardest hit communities but received disproportionately smaller levels of federal funding in the recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act compared to other communities.

The Administration also announced the launch of the Commonwealth’s homebound vaccination program to build on the Administration’s efforts to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth have equitable access to the vaccine.

Dose Update

The Administration provided the weekly update for doses allocated from the federal government.

This week, the state received a modest increase in supply of first doses, for a total of 172,000. This includes 7,900 doses of J&J vaccine.

In total, the Commonwealth received 330,000 first and second doses as part of the state allocation. These figures do not include doses provided directly from the federal government to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program or to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

This week, first doses and second dose state allocations (total doses), were distributed among providers as follows:

  • Health systems and health care providers (excluding community health centers): 115,120
  • Mass vaccination locations: 109,750
  • Regional Collaboratives and Local Boards of Health: 55,850
  • Community Health Centers: 28,820
  • Retail pharmacies (non-CVS) state allocation: 10,350
  • Mobile Clinics supporting long-term care facilities, congregate care, affordable/low-income senior housing and homebound individuals: 9,800

Weekly allocations are subject to change based on federal availability, demand from providers, and obligations to meet second doses. Providers have 10 days to use their doses and must meet specific performance thresholds.

The Administration has also been informed that the federal government will send a one-time allocation of 40,800 doses of J&J vaccine to the Commonwealth next week as well as a one-time allocation of 20,000 Pfizer first doses.

Federal Doses

In addition to the state allocation, the federal government distributes vaccines to CVS Health sites as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership as well as to certain Massachusetts federally qualified community health centers. These quantities fluctuate on a weekly basis and are not counted as part of the state’s weekly allocation.

This week, 115,800 first and second doses were allocated to the retail pharmacy program.

15 FQHCs received 24,570 doses directly from the Federal Government.

Municipal Funding

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that a total of $100 million in aid will be distributed to Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph, four communities that were hit hardest by COVID-19 but are expected to receive disproportionally smaller amounts of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These four municipalities will be able to use this $100 million in direct aid to support costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including direct response efforts, addressing negative economic impacts, replacing revenue lost during the pandemic, making investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, as well as other eligible expenditures.

Based on preliminary estimates published by the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Massachusetts is expected to receive a total of approximately $7.9 billion in direct aid through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, including $3.4 billion to counties, cities, and towns in Massachusetts. A portion of this $3.4 billion is being allocated to municipalities based on the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program formula, while assistance to other communities is being allocated on a per-capita basis. The use of these two different allocation formulas creates disparities in distributions among cities and towns, and Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph are the four designated hardest hit communities with disproportionately smaller levels of federal funding compared to other hardest hit communities.

The commitment announced today by the Baker-Polito Administration includes distributing $100 million to address disparities in funding allocations among these four hardest hit communities after the US Treasury publishes final payment figures in the coming weeks. The Administration will work with the Legislature to use existing or future sources of federal revenue to fund this commitment.

Homebound  Vaccination Program

Beginning March 29, the Administration will launch a homebound vaccination program to provide in-home vaccinations to homebound individuals who cannot leave their home, even with supports, to get to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

In-home vaccinations will be available to homebound individuals who:

  • Have considerable difficulty and/or require significant support to leave the home for medical appointments
  • Require an ambulance or two-person assistance to leave the home
  • Are not able to leave home for medical appointments under normal circumstances.

168 local Boards of Health (representing about 40% of MA’s population) will conduct a homebound vaccination program for their community residents, while homebound residents of 183 municipalities (representing 60% of MA’s population) will receive vaccines through the statewide service through Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA).

Health care providers, Aging Services Access Points (ASAP), Local Boards of Health, Councils on Aging (COAs) and other community organizations will be connecting individuals to the homebound program. In addition, homebound individuals and their loved ones can call 1-833-983-0485 to schedule an appointment and determine if they meet eligibility for in-home vaccination. The registration phone line is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and has representatives who speak English and Spanish, as well as translation services available in 100+ languages.

“CCA is honored to lead this critical mission of vaccinating homebound citizens of Massachusetts,” said Christopher D. Palmieri, President and Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Care Alliance. “Since our inception, CCA’s approach to care has been rooted in the community to ensure the most appropriate site of care for the individuals we so proudly serve. Over the past few weeks, we have successfully vaccinated hundreds of our own homebound health plan members, and our team is ready to expand this effort across the state and aid the Commonwealth’s vaccination effort in any way we can.”

The above press release is courtesy of Governor Baker’s office.

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Lynn Public School Family Letter #15: Transition Update

Click to go to LPS’ reopening website
Dear Lynn Public Schools Families,
I am writing with an update on plans for the expansion of in-person learning. Last week, you were provided the timeline with specific dates for students to return. Since then, we have been collecting your input and refining our plans. There are two changes to our plans that I hope will be welcomed.
First, a reminder to all families that, in keeping with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidance, any family may choose to remain in remote learning for the remainder of the school year. Students who choose to remain in remote learning will continue to receive live instruction and supports. A choice to remain in remote learning will not impact a student’s ability to be promoted to the next grade or graduate from high school.
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For families who have chosen in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, I would like to share the following updates:

  • Kindergarten (AM / PM), 1, and 2 will now begin five days of instruction beginning April 5th.
  • Grades 3-5 will begin five days of instruction beginning April 12th.
  • There are no changes to the middle school and high school timeline for expanding in-person learning.
Moving the timeline up to begin five days of in-person learning for all elementary students is something about which we are excited. It is also cause for additional planning and preparation which continues in earnest. You can count on additional communication directly from your student’s school.
I wanted to get this information to you as quickly as possible to allow you to plan accordingly. For your convenience, I have pasted graphics with a timeline for all schools as well as the hours. As always, please contact your student’s school with questions or concerns.
Respectfully,
Patrick Tutwiler, PhD
Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools
Download this letter as a PDF in English or Spanish.
The above press release is courtesy of the Lynn Public Schools.

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North Shore Community College freezes tuition and fees for FY22

Click to see article from NSCC’s website

The North Shore Community College Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to retain tuition and fees at FY21 levels for FY22.

The recommendation came from Interim President Dr. Nate Bryant. “Given the Covid challenges our students have faced and continue to face, and the implications on their academics, families and work, adding an additional burden of increased fees would make it increasingly difficult to meet their educational goals.  At this time, NSCC is in a financial position where an increase in tuition and fees is not warranted.”

Board members agreed and the motion passed unanimously.

FY21 tuition and fees total $223.  Thus, a full-time student, taking 15 credits for 2 semesters, would pay $6,690 in tuition and general fees. Eligible students also will continue to receive over $20 million in federal, state, private, and college-funded financial aid in FY22. College-funded financial aid, primarily scholarships and grants, has been increased by $71,000 or 13 percent over the last five years. In addition, NSCC has disbursed $2,534,732 to students in COVID-related funding.

“While NSCC and other public higher education institutions face revenue shortages due to pandemic-related financial challenges, we need to do everything within our power to ensure high quality education is within financial reach of our students, and that they can retain and complete their academic goals,” Bryant added.

The above press release is courtesy of NSCC.


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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 386 with 57 new cases today. 15,743 Lynn residents have recovered and 203 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 16,332. Please visit the City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.

As of Thursday, March 25th, 25,557 Lynn residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine, which is approximately 25% of our population. 14,815 Lynn residents have been fully vaccinated, or 15% of our population. This information can be found on the new weekly COVID-19 Municipality Vaccination Data report released today by the State with a new breakdown by Municipal Zip Code. You can find the full report by searching for “Weekly COVID-19 Municipality Vaccination Data Report” at this link.

COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at Lynn Tech Fieldhouse for people who live or work in Lynn & Nahant or are Lynn Community Health Center Patients and meet state eligibility requirements (Massachusetts Phase 1 & Phase 2 Steps 1, 2, 3 & 4: 60 year of age or older or with two or more chronic health conditions, Educators and certain workers. Residents age 75+ may be accompanied by one caregiver who can book an appointment themselves.) Please visithttps://www.lchcnet.org/covid-19-vaccine-scheduling to make an appointment online. Residents without access to the Internet can call 2-1-1 to make an appointment 7 days a week.

Please visit http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/covid19/resources.shtml#p7GPc1_2 for the most up to date COVID-19 testing information, as well as more detailed information on the State and City of Lynn’s Reopening Guidelines. 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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