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Good afternoon,

As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic continues, I will send out periodic updates to help keep my constituents informed on the state of the health crisis, and what the government is doing to assist people during these unprecedented times.

As we’ve reached the end of the week, I wanted to provide you with some new resources that have been made available, as well as a reminder on other resources available for residents.

The information below includes helpful links to stay updated with reliable data, as well as information on what is happening at the Federal, State, and Local levels of government in my district. As stated in my first update, my office is working remotely throughout this crisis but is still regularly checking emails and phone messages. If you have any questions or concerns, or if there is a way we can help you, please feel free to email me at Bruce.Ayers@mahouse.gov, or contact my office at 617-722-2230.

Sincerely,
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Bruce J. Ayers
State Representative

1st Norfolk District
Proudly serving the people of Quincy and Randolph

 


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UPDATE ON COVID-19 CASES IN MASSACHUSETTS
The COVID-19 Response Center and the administration are releasing new information daily (around 4PM) on cases of Coronavirus in the state. As of yesterday, March 19, there are 328 cases in Massachusetts. This is the largest increase we have seen yet. The chart above, compiled by my colleague Rep Josh Cutler, breaks these cases down by county.

Unfortunately, today the first virus-related death in the commonwealth was reported. A man in his 80’s in Suffolk County passed away yesterday with the coronavirus; he had other preexisting medical issues as well.

The Response Center is also updating numbers of residents subject to quarantine, every Wednesday by noontime. As of this week, there were 2,054 residents subject to quarantine. 886 of them had completed monitoring, with 1168 still under quarantine order. Click here for more information on case counts and ongoing testing efforts.

1st NORFOLK DISTRICT CASES
Both Quincy and Randolph have seen presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. In these cases, the residents have been quarantined and have received medical attention.

THE FOLLOWING INITIATIVES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:
TAX DAY: Today the IRS announced that all federal tax filings for those making less than $1 million per year will receive a 90-day extension; this moves Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. Click here for more information.

STUDENT LOANS: The President announced this afternoon that he is directing the Secretary of Education to suspend repayment of all federal student loans for at least 60 days. More information will be available on this order in the coming days.

PERSONAL STIMULUS BILL: Congress is proposing a bill that would pay each individual American $1,200 as a stimulus to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. There are some stipulations and limitations; you can read those here.

THE FOLLOWING INITIATIVES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED BY THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE GOVERNMENT:
UNEMPLOYMENT WAIVER: The legislature passed a bill that would eliminate the one-week wait period for applications for unemployment. The Department of Unemployment Assistance may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional, or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection, or to care for a family member, and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work. The worker does not need to provide medical documentation, and only needs to be available for work when and as able.

NATIONAL GUARD CALLED IN: Last night the Governor mobilized 2,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to assist with the Coronavirus outbreak.

SCHOOLS STILL CLOSED: Schools will remain closed through at least April 7. Groundwork has begun for the state to examine canceling MCAS testing requirements for the year as well.

SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE: A loan fund of $10 million has been created to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. For terms and conditions, and how a small business can apply for a loan of up to $75,000, please follow this link.

THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE IN QUINCY AND RANDOLPH:
QUINCY SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCE GUIDE: The city of Quincy’s Department of Economic Development has created a resource guide for small businesses that can help them navigate the options available to them during the COVID-19 crisis. That guide is available at this link.

RANDOLPH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The Randolph Chamber is also continuing to provide valuable resources to their members. Their website and information can be found at this link.

NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Both Quincy Public Schools and Randolph Public Schools have made arrangements to ensure that students who depend on schools for food during the school day will still have access to it. Quincy Public Schools is providing “Grab and Go” meals during the closure. Meals can be picked up Monday through Friday from 11AM to 12PM at the following locations: Lincoln Hancock Community School (Water Street side of the building); North Quincy High School; Quincy High School; and Snug Harbor Community School. Additional information can be found by clicking here. Randolph is providing both breakfast and lunch meals Monday through Friday, with pickup from 11AM to 12:30PM. The pickup locations are: Randolph High School (poolside entrance); Donovan School; John F. Kennedy Elementary School; and the Lyons School. More information can be found by clicking here.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS
The Department of Public Health (in partnership with the United Way) has opened “2-1-1” to all callers, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Operators fluent in Spanish are available, and more than 150 other languages are supported through an interpreter services line. Residents with questions can dial 2-1-1 from any landline or cellphone, or use the live chat option on the Mass 2-1-1 website. For more information, follow this link.

Here are some other important numbers for residents of my district:

QUINCY
Health Department: (617) 376-1272
Dept. of Elder Services: (617) 376-1506
Treasurer/Collector: (617) 376-1089
Veterans’ Services: (617) 376-1192
Mayor’s Office: (617) 376-1990

RANDOLPH
Health Department: (781) 961-0924
Dept. of Elder Affairs: (781) 961-0930
Treasurer/Collector: (781) 961-0913
Veterans’ Services: (781) 961-0930 x111

Other organizations that residents in my district depend on are closed, but are still providing services in some shape or form. Quincy Asian Resources Inc. will not provide in-person services, but can be reached via phone at (617) 472-2200. DOVE Inc. (Domestic Violence Ended) is still operating, and their 24-hour hotline is (617) 471-1234. Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP) is modifying their services, with more information available at this link. And Father Bill’s & MainSpring is also altering their services per guidance from public health organizations.

THANK YOU TO THOSE ON THE FRONT LINES
This pandemic has proven that our society cannot function without the dedication of those who provide essential services in one way or another. Our doctors, nurses and medical professionals are to be commended for their sacrifices, as well as our outstanding first responders and those who protect our public safety. Thanks as well to the grocery store workers and the restaurant owners/staff who have worked hard to continue to provide their services in a safe, sanitary method.

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FINAL HEALTH & SAFETY TIPS
These are unprecedented times, but we will get through them together. To do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, residents should listen to public health officials and stay inside when possible; practicing social distancing can make a big difference. Remember to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and maintain a safe distance of 6-feet apart from others. Also, when you go to the supermarket, avoid hoarding items like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, and other similar necessities.

Remember to stay calm, and only obtain your news from trusted sources; do your part to avoid spreading rumors. As the Governor said, “don’t get your information from a friend’s friend’s friend”. To maintain awareness of the situation, you can continually check this link from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; you can also stay updated from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at this link.


State Representative Bruce Ayers · United States

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