Town of Hopkinton COVID-19 update for April 10

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Editor’s note: This is the town of Hopkinton’s COVID-19 update for April 10.

COVID-19 Updates & Precautions
April 10, 2020 PM update

Previous updates and additional information and resources can be found here:
www.hopkintonma.gov/covid-19

While Town Hall and municipal buildings are physically closed to the public, ​we are open for business.​ Many transactions can be completed online, and we are available via phone and email to assist during regular business hours. A full Town Directory can be ​found here​. Parks, playgrounds and playing fields are closed.

As of 11 a.m. on April 10, Hopkinton’s Health Department is reporting 18 total confirmed COVID-19 cases; seven of those cases are active, with 11 recoveries and zero deaths. We are now at the beginning of the anticipated “surge” in the commonwealth (April 10-20), and based on the latest models referenced by Gov. Baker today, it’s looking more like the peak will be closer to April 20. Cases are expected to continue to climb during this time, and ​local case numbers may not accurately reflect the infections in our community. ​The next two weeks will be critical in stopping the spread. Please stay home, and if you must go out, go out only for what you need and practice social distancing. Please review the newly released CDC recommendations for masks posted below.

Hopkinton Public Schools – NEW UPDATE
The Hopkinton School Committee voted on Thursday evening, April 9, at its regularly scheduled meeting, to eliminate April Vacation (April 21-24). The last day of school is now scheduled for June 17.

Real Estate Tax Extensions – ​NEW UPDATE
The Town has elected to extend fourth quarter real estate taxes and tax exemption application due dates to June 1, in addition to waiving certain fees and interest on late payments. ​Click here for more info​.

Centralized Job Hub – ​NEW UPDATE
Massachusetts needs health care and human services professionals to staff healthcare sites that are being created for COVID-19 patients. You can make a difference by providing aid and comfort to those in need. There are employment opportunities for a variety of roles at temporary care sites across the state. There are many paid positions available in both healthcare and non-healthcare related fields. Find out more at ​https://www.mass.gov/joincovidteam

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Resources – ​NEW UPDATE
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced expanded services for anyone not safe at home during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. SafeLink, the Commonwealth’s statewide, 24/7, toll-free and confidential domestic violence hotline, is now also providing support to survivors of sexual assault. Call the SafeLink hotline at (877) 785-2020 to get help and advocacy. ​Judges are also available 24 hours a day to process restraining orders. ​Advocates are available in English and Spanish and can provide translation in more than 130 languages. If you are experiencing violence within your home or concerned about a loved one that may be experiencing violence, please call the SafeLink hotline for support and resources. If you are in ​immediate danger, please call 9-1-1.​

Grocery Stores Social Distancing – ​NEW UPDATE
The Department of Public Health released further guidance to promote social distancing at grocery stores. The new guidance requires that each grocery store ​limit occupancy to 40% ​of its maximum permitted occupancy level (except stores with a maximum occupancy of less than 25 people). It also sets out procedures by which staff should monitor occupancy levels. The guidance builds on a previous March 23 order for grocery stores, which set out policies for ensuring access to hand-washing facilities and protecting employees in higher-risk populations, among other requirements.

Click here to read the new guidance:
https://www.mass.gov/doc/order-grocery-stores-40-percent/download

Mental Health Help
The coronavirus can cause feelings of stress, loneliness and despair and severely impact mental health. There are many resources for help. The Centers for Disease Control has comprehensive information on stress and coping​.

Hopkinton Youth & Family Services has a resource page for behavioral health, substance use recovery, and other resources to get help during the crisis that is regularly updated with new resources. ​Y&FS Basic Needs Resource Sheet for COVID-19.​ Can’t find what you need? Contact us​. Our office is available to help.

Hopkinton Senior Center staff continue to be available if you have questions or concerns, need assistance obtaining food or have any other need while we are closed. Please contact us at 508-497-9730. Leave a message and your call will be returned promptly.

Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund – ​NEW UPDATE
On April 6, Gov. Baker announced the launch of the ​Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund​, which will help support essential frontline workers and vulnerable populations across the state, including Massachusetts residents and immigrants facing homelessness, food insecurity and loss of critical services as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Donations raised through the fund will be distributed in partnership with the state’s community foundations that cover counties statewide and other critical non-profits, ensuring that Massachusetts communities can benefit from access to this much-needed pool of resources.

CDC Updated Guidance on Wearing Cloth Masks in Public
On April 3, CDC issued a recommendation about wearing cloth face coverings in public settings. This recommendation was made after considering recent studies that have shown individuals with the virus who lack symptoms can transmit the virus to others. CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings including places where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that the mask recommendation does not replace social distancing, stay at home measures, and hand washing recommendations that remain in effect.​ Social distancing, staying at home except for essential travel, and hand hygiene remain vitally important to slowing the spread of the virus. ​Learn more at the CDC website​.

Annual Town Meeting & Annual Town Election:
As a reminder, The Select Board voted at its March 17 meeting to ​delay Hopkinton’s Annual Town Meeting to June 22​. Additionally the board consulted with the Town Manager and Town Clerk at the meeting held on April 7 and voted to delay the Annual Town Election to June 29 in accordance with the emergency legislation passed by the Massachusetts General Court and signed by the governor. The Town Clerk is advising voters to vote by absentee or early ballot by mail to decrease the number of voters that will be physically at the polls on election day.

Stay Updated & More Resources:
You can find many resources and more information at ​www.hopkintonma.gov/covid-19
Hopkinton also posts frequently on social media. Our Twitter is the best place to keep up with all happenings Hopkinton. You don’t need an account to see our twitter feed: https://twitter.com/HopkintonMA

Complete list of Emergency Orders and Guidance from Mass.gov
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-state-of-emergency

Please note: Hopkinton briefings for next week are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Follow us on twitter for interim updates: ​https://twitter.com/HopkintonMA

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