Well, its been a while since I did one of these nightly updates as I have been going 24/7 on the re-election campaign. One week from tomorrow!!! Also, for those who have driven by my house - I’m kind of into halloween so me and the kids have been decorating with our spare time. I’m sure our poor neighbors must think we are the Clampett Family (without the oil) - but life is too short not to enjoy it -so as long as my kids will tolerate it, I will continue to go over the top with decorations.
I was also comforted in the fact that our covid numbers were staying pretty flat and no news was good news. Unfortunately, we appear to be in somewhat of a spike. For 3 days in a row we have seen over 1,000 new confirmed cases. Granted, some of this is because of increased testing, but I suspect that some of it is due to weather and thus fewer folks are staying outside, windows open, etc. I also worry that some of these new cases are due to some of us getting a little too comfortable and lax from a social distancing, sanitizing, and overall awareness standpoint.
Unfortunately, 17 people passed away who had Covid bringing the total who have succumbed to the virus in the Bay state to 9,657. In addition, 1,216 new cases were reported out of 20,086 people tested - which still is only 6% of those being testing ending up being positive. While this number is no where near our highs back in the spring - it is a significant jump from a few weeks ago.
The good news is that covid related hospitalizations have not shown a spike although they have claimed slightly to 550. Hospitals using surge beds remain only at one which is another positive sign - although with our losing Norwood Hospital due to the flood - I remain concerned for our area.
ICU admissions have ticked up a little to 105 but still statistically flat as are those on a ventilator / intubated which is currently at 43. The average age of death remains the same as throughout this pandemic, so those succumbing are on average over 80 with preexisting conditions / complications.
I’ve held off on ranting about the hockey rink closure. I honestly believe this was purely reactionary since New Hampshire did it the week prior. Sometimes it seems like our government almost has this “keeping up with the joneses” mentality when it comes to this virus. We pride ourselves in having the position that we are taking this more seriously than anyone else and therefore can’t have some other state outflank us on precautions. When you look at the numbers it really doesn’t make sense - when you consider the sheer number of people playing hockey and the case count - it is well below almost every other metric available. And I will never understand the closing of the rinks to figure skaters - I don’t think this is a group that is smashing each other into the boards - although a triple axle that had the potential for a mid air cross check would probably make me a bit more interested in the sport. (Before I get any letters - I’m joking and not diminishing the athleticism of figure skaters.). Hopefully it will only be for another week and a half but I worry that these spikes will continue to keep the rinks shut down even though there is no correlation between the two. I can hear it now - “how can we open up the rinks when our numbers of positive tests are up?”
Trying to stay restrained on going into a rant. I’m still very concerned with what all of these shutdowns are doing to our kids from a mental and social wellbeing standpoint. Couple that with the remote learning and just the overall uncertainty of the world in 2020 - I fear many of these decisions will have long range repercussions. Not saying we should open everything up - but we need to be cautious as to the unintended consequences if we shut everything down again. Especially for those with very minimal risk factors.
The state did announce that communities that are in the Red will not be able to move onto their next phase of school reopening. Not asking us to go backwards yet, but no moving forward till a community is out of the red. For a place like KP that is extra difficult as they have to deal with the possibility of 3 different towns going red. And since each town is small - the per 100k ratio is off as well. I’m trying to make the case that in situations where it is a regional school district - the towns comprising the school’s population should be looked at as one community. For instance, Wrentham is currently red - but if you looked at all 3 KP towns together as one community - it would probably be green.
Commissioner Riley seemed a bit conflicted with all of this as he also credited the schools in Massachusetts, mentioning teachers and administrators specifically, for doing a "good job" with COVID-19 safety measures like social distancing, hand washing, mask-wearing and people staying home if they are sick. "I think we also really need to think about the fact that we have not seen robust transmission in our schools," Riley said. "And what I mean by that is we've had schools open now for five or six weeks and what we're seeing is, yes there have been cases, but they've been for the most part identified, isolated — people have got close contacts — and the educational programming has been able to continue. I think what we're seeing both across the country and the state is that the fear that schools were going to be seen as super-spreading places has been somewhat unfounded.”
Maybe its just me - but this seems to fly in the face of the guidance of advancing. Even when the school community has 0 cases and are doing everything by the book - they are punished if some unrelated cluster puts the town onto the naughty list.
I guess this is what I get for not writing every night but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that at the end of last week the Baker administration announced a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability. Partnerships for Recovery begins today by directing $115 million in new funding to small businesses and Main Streets hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and for workforce training efforts.
More info to come but Im glad that they are concentrating about helping our small businesses. A few of the highlights are:
Putting $115 million to work right away for small businesses and workforce training, including more than $25 million to get people back to work;
Directing $323 million in existing capital programs as part of the response to continue doing more of what works;
Filing for $122 million through the Revised H.2 budget to supplement existing funding in support of struggling Main Street businesses and skill building for residents;
Steering $43 million in Federal, trust and other state funding toward our most critical needs; and
Committing $171 million to keep people safely housed during the pandemic.
Well, tomorrow (I suppose it is after midnight so its today) is one week from the election. If you haven’t voted - I would sincerely appreciate your vote. If you are planning on early voting it goes through this Friday - but watch my video or call the town clerk for your specifics. I’m an Election Day guy so I will be there on November 3rd - but I’m hearing positive reviews from everyone who has done the in-person early voting. Remember - even though a bunch of people have already voted, election day will probably be a bit on the slow side due to social distancing, wiping things down, and limited persons in the building at a time. So if you are on the fence - it probably is worth doing the in-person at your town hall between now and Friday.
Off to bed, going to try and get a solid 5 hours (ugh). It is funny, I have really missed writing these things - it is somewhat cathartic and it helps me connect with so many people. Keep working hard, stay safe, and don’t forget to vote.