Summary of weekly COVID report from Mass DPH, new COVID-19 testing & vaccine info, 2020 Persons of The Year virtual celebration, & more | January 21, 2021

LYNN NEWS ROUND-UP
JANUARY 21, 2021

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


The City of Lynn is currently in a modified Phase 2, Step 2 until further notice. Learn more by clicking here.


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.

The City of Lynn is unfortunately still a high-risk community, although there are signs of hope. On January 5th a new 24-hr new case record was broken with 210 new cases, breaking the previous record of 196 set only a few weeks prior. From Dec. 23rd until Jan. 5th it has been rare for that number to be below 150, and before that numbers were consistently getting higher. However the positive news is that the number of new cases hasn’t been above 140 since Jan. 16th, showing a positive trend in Lynn not seen since early November. Another bit of good news is that deaths related to COVID-19 seem to have slowed in the city with only 10 deaths reported in November, 23 in December, & 14 so far in January.

The average daily incidence rate per 100,000 for Lynn over 14 days this week was 127.2. The last 2 weeks it was at 128.2 & 99.6. The positivity rate this week was 12.87%, the lowest it has been in some time. The last 2 weeks this rate was 14.46% & 14.63%. It is important to note that while testing numbers are currently high – 16,552 tests have been conducted in the last 2 weeks – this does not mean that case numbers go up simply because of that, the number to watch is the positivity rate. The higher the positivity rate the more the virus is spreading, and vice versa, regardless of number of tests.

As calls grow to re-open schools across the state numbers released last week may slow that process. From Jan. 7-13 there were 523 students & 407 staffers across the Commonwealth that tested positive for COVID-19. These cases don’t include those learning remotely & are only for those that reported a positive test within 7 days of being inside school buildings. These numbers are from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who estimate approx. 450,000 students & 75,000 staff currently in public school buildings.

The outlook for the nation is not much better. The United States currently has 24.7 million cases, up from 23.4 million last week. There are currently 96.2 million cases reported worldwide, up from 93.2 million last week. Daily records have been broken for new cases & deaths within 24 hours constantly for months, in particular the last several weeks, proving right predictions that the holiday season would lead to higher numbers. The death toll in the US now sits at approx. 410K with over 4,121 dying yesterday alone. On January 12th the 24-hour deaths record was set with just over 4,406 dead, breaking the record set the previous week.

In Massachusetts there are currently 222 communities in the red category (about 2/3 of the state) & 55 in the yellow category. Last week there were 229 communities in the red & 53 in the yellow.

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

In late fall Mass DPH began to use a different system for categorizing communities, based off their populations. Communities with populations less than 10,000 residents, between 10,000 & 50,000 residents, & more than 50,000 residents have had new metrics applied to them. Their results fall into 4 color categories; grey, green, yellow, & red. Positivity rates & average daily cases will continue to be determined by two-week rolling average. Officials say the new categories help to make the community-specific data more nuanced, and better account for increases in cases in smaller communities. They will also incorporate examples where cases at colleges, nursing homes, or jails may push an entire community into the red category. The new metrics are as follows:

  • For communities with fewer than 10,000 residents:
    • Grey = 10 or fewer cases
    • Green = 15 or fewer cases
    • Yellow = 25 or fewer cases
    • Red = More than 25 cases.
  • For communities with between 10,000 and 50,000 residents:
    • Grey = 10 or fewer cases
    • Green = Less than 10 average cases per 100,000 residents & more than 10 cases
    • Yellow = 10 or more cases per 100,000 residents or a test positivity rate of 5% or more
    • Red = 10 or more cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 5% or more
  • For communities with more than 50,000 residents:
    • Grey = 15 cases or less
    • Green = 10 average cases per 100,000 residents and more than 15 cases
    • Yellow = 10 or more cases per 100,000 residents or a test positivity rate of 4% or more
    • Red = 10 or more cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 4% or more

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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 13,429 1,795 127.2 Lower 150,990 16,552 2,130 12.87% Lower
STATEWIDE 458,089 73,601 75.5 Lower 12,536,712 1,221,035 83,583 6.85% Lower

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 opens a PDF).

Previous Weekly Public Health Reports can be found  by clicking here.
All information above was sourced through official government sources.


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For phasing details and the most up-to-date status of where MA is in our vaccination timeline please visit mass.gov/covidvaccinephases


New COVID testing site at Manning Field open Mondays from 1-5PM


The City of Lynn is pleased to announce a new COVID-19 testing option through a partnership between Mass General Brigham and North Shore Medical Center. A mobile van will offer free walk-up testing for asymptomatic Lynn adults and children every Monday from 1:00-5:00pm in the Manning Field parking lot (entering on Ford Street) for the duration of the winter and spring.
This program is made possible in part through funding from the National Institutes of Health grant and RADx-UP (Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics in Underserved Populations). For more information please visit http://www.kraftcommunityhealth.org/mobile-covid-testing.

For a full list of COVID-19 testing locations in
the City of Lynn please click here.

The above info. was sent to us by Mayor McGee’s office.

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Essex Media Group’s 2020 Persons of The Year virtual celebration on Jan. 28th

LCTV will be broadcasting the Essex Media Group’s 2020 Persons of The Year virtual celebration next Thursday, Jan. 28th at 7PM. You can watch on TV (Comcast: 3 / Verizon: 38), live streamed on our website, our Facebook page, or our YouTube channel.
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Click for full list of Lynn troops selling cookies virtually

Phase 1 vaccinations in MA to begin in pharmacies, more health care facilities

On Tuesday the Baker-Polito Administration announced the expansion of more vaccine locations in each region of the Commonwealth at pharmacies, health care providers and a second mass vaccination site to boost the capacity to administer vaccines per week by the thousands. The Commonwealth will continue to add more vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts.
  • MA will become one of the first states in the nation to launch the COVID-19 CDC Pharmacy Partnership. Starting this week, the program will deliver a total of 10,000 doses to at least 15 CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens pharmacies per week for eligible residents in the Phase 1 priority groups.
  • Fenway Park will become the state’s second mass vaccination site, joining
    Gillette Stadium. The ballpark will open on February 1st to start administering up to 500 vaccines per day to eligible residents in the Phase 1 priority groups.
  • UMass Amherst will expand their vaccination site to provide inoculations for eligible residents in Phase 1 priority groups.
  • Hospital Depot Initiative is launched – This new program will facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccine for independent physician practices prioritized under Phase 1.
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We are currently in Phase 1 of the MA COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline.
Current eligible groups under Phase 1 include: Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care; Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities; First responders (EMS, Fire, Police); and Congregate care settings (including corrections and shelters).
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For info on the COVID-19 Vaccine in Massachusetts, including timelines for various vaccine distribution groups, see: www.mass.gov/covidvaccine
For details on this new announcement, see: https://bit.ly/3bOA1Iu
The above info. is courtesy of the MA Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)

Please visit the new Massachusetts and City of Lynn Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ page on the City’s COVID Resources webpage by clicking here..


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“Housing Lynn” public comment period extended to January 28th

Click here to learn more about this project

The 14-day public comment period for Housing Lynn: A plan for inclusive growth has been extended by a week! Please submit written comments on plan content to housinglynn@mapc.org by Thursday, January 28.

Visit mapc.org/housing-lynn to review the plan! In addition to the full document and a robust executive summary in both English and Spanish, you’ll see a new one-page overview of the plan.
If you have any questions or wish to submit comments please contact: housinglynn@mapc.org
The above info. is courtesy of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

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Updates from state government on state-wide restrictions, vaccine rollout, & more

  • As of Thursday night, DPH reported a total of 458,089 cases of COVID-19. The state reported 3,987 new confirmed cases. The state has now confirmed a total of 13,547 deaths from the virus.
  • Citing improvements to COVID-19 metrics since the start of the year, Governor Baker announced Thursday that he will lift the 9:30 p.m. curfew that he imposed in November on restaurants and other businesses, effective Monday at 5 AM. While restaurants, health clubs, casinos, movie theaters, and other businesses will be able to stay open later than 9:30 p.m. next week, they will still not be allowed to fill their places of business to greater than 25 percent capacity. Governor Baker announced that restriction, which initially took effect Dec. 26, will remain in place for at least another two weeks, until Feb. 8.
  • Governor Baker announced that more health care workers, including those who work with patients in their homes, are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines as of Thursday. Speaking from Gillette Stadium, which opened this week as a mass vaccination site, Governor Baker said the first phase represents a “commitment to preserving our health care capacity and protecting some of the most vulnerable residents here in the commonwealth and making sure we have an equitable distribution process.”
  • Health care workers involved in pandemic response, first responders, the staff and residents of long-term care facilities and congregate care sites like shelters, prisons and group homes have already been able to receive the shots. The newly eligible groups include personal care attendants, home health and hospice workers, nurses and others who perform home visits, dentists, medical and nursing students, physical therapists, hospital interpreters, behavioral health clinicians, blood donation workers, podiatrists, substance use disorder treatment program staff, asthma and allergy specialists, school nurses, clergy members who work with patients, acupuncturists and more, according to a state website that provides more details on each phase of the vaccine plan.
  • The second of the three vaccine-distribution phases, envisioned to start at some point next month, includes individuals with multiple conditions that put them at high risk of COVID-19 complications, people age 65 and older, workers in sectors including early and K-12 education, transit, grocery, utilities, public health and the court system, among others.
  • The state currently has 150 vaccine sites, he said, including the large-scale operation at Gillette Stadium. A second mass vaccination site, at Fenway Park, is slated to open Feb. 1. Governor Baker said 825,650 doses of vaccine have been shipped to providers here as of the end of Wednesday, and 377,459 of those doses have been administered.
  • Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack is leaving Governor Baker’s cabinet to join the Federal Highway Administration next week. Secretary Pollack will step down Tuesday to become the FHA’s deputy administrator in the new Biden administration, Baker’s office announced Thursday morning. Registrar of Motor Vehicles Jamey Tesler will take over as acting transportation secretary, while RMV chief operating officer Colleen Ogilvie will rise to the role of acting registrar.
  • Governor Baker next week will file a budget that recommends increasing the state’s $1.13 billion general local aid account by $39.5 million, keeping with his administration’s past practice to align growth in non-school aid for the cities and towns with estimated increases in tax revenue for the coming year. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito teased the local aid increase on Thursday in remarks to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which is hosting its annual meeting virtually over the next two days. The 3.5 percent increase amounts to an additional $112,535, on average, for all 351 municipalities.
  • The local aid increase to be included in Baker’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposal comes after the administration and the Legislature level-funded unrestricted general government aid in this year’s budget, which wasn’t signed until December. Governor Baker is expected to file the budget bill on Wednesday. The increase, which matches the estimated growth in tax revenues agreed to this month by Baker and legislative Democrats, would boost unrestricted aid for city and town governments from $1.128 billion in fiscal 2021 to $1.168 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
  • The House sent business relief legislation (H 55) from Governor Baker that would freeze the rate schedule for unemployment insurance trust fund contributions to the temporary House Ways and Means Committee during their Thursday session. The governor refiled the bill last week after the Legislature did not move it across the finish line in the final hours of the 2019-2020 session and it remained in House Ways and Means as the clock expired on the 191st General Court.
  • The Legislature passed its first bill of the new session Thursday, sending to Governor Baker’s desk a piece of sick-leave legislation that was among the unfinished business of the 191st General Court. George Monfreda, an employee of the Department of Mental Health at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, is in line to get a “sick leave bank” allowing co-workers to donate their sick, personal, or vacation days for his use.
  • Troubling news pertaining to the Massachusetts labor market from the credit rating agency Fitch. In November, the Massachusetts jobless rate dropped to 6.7 percent and mirrored the national unemployment rate after several months of exceeding the country’s average. But if people who have exited the labor force entirely, meaning they are unemployed but not actively seeking work, are factored in, Massachusetts would have the highest unemployment rate in the country at around 13 percent, the credit rating agency said.
  • While Massachusetts’ official unemployment rate improved in November, Fitch said its own adjusted unemployment rate for the state got worse, “implying deeper labor market challenges.” Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont are the only three states that have a Fitch-adjusted jobless rate that is five percentage points or more higher than the official number. The scale of labor market exits was becoming evident in November as the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the Massachusetts labor force had decreased by almost 44,000 people in October.
  • The state’s labor force participation rate, which reflects the percentage of working-age adults who are either employed or seeking a job, dropped 0.8 percentage points in November to 63.1 percent even as the overall unemployment rate improved. By the end of November, the median state jobs recovery since April, which Fitch said was “the nadir of 2020 job losses,” was 59 percent. But Massachusetts had recovered fewer than half of the jobs, Fitch said. The others on the list of states that have recovered less than half of the jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic, Fitch said, are Minnesota, Oklahoma, Delaware, New York, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Illinois, California, New Mexico, North Dakota and Hawaii.
  • Job losses in the leisure and hospitality industries continue to lead the way, representing 35 percent of all job losses in November despite making up just 11 percent of total pre-pandemic employment. The leisure, hospitality and tourism industry employed 376,000 workers and was the third-largest industry in Massachusetts as of 2018, according to a report from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and Boston Foundation

Special thanks to MassAccess for providing us with this summary.


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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 1,914 with 91 new cases today. 11,787 Lynn residents have recovered and 171 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 13,872. Please visit the City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.

Yesterday Governor Baker announced the extension of the existing 25% capacity limits for most businesses and limitations on gatherings through 5:00AM on Monday, February 8th. Gathering limits will remain at 10 people for indoors and 25 people outdoors at least until February 8th. The Administration also announced that the Early Closing Order requiring many businesses to close at 9:30pm and the Stay at Home Advisory urging residents to remain home between 10:00PM to 5:00AM would both be rescinded effective Monday, January 25th at 5:00AM. Please read the Governor’s full press release here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-awards-another-37-million-in-grants-to-638-businesses-extends

The City of Lynn remains in a Modified Phase 2 Step 2 of the State’s Reopening Plan with the local orders remaining in effect. The Mayor and the Public Health Director will revisit these two local orders before February 1st to determine if Lynn will remain in this modified phase or rescind the orders.

Please visit http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/covid19/resources.shtml#p7GPc1_2 for the most up to date COVID-19 Testing information.

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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