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COVID-19 update for April 8; 440 positive cases

For Immediate Release: 4/8/2020 6:13 pm

The City of Worcester has released the following COVID-19 update for April 8:

  • There are now 440 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the City of Worcester. All 440 individuals are being monitored by the Worcester Division of Public Health and are in isolation.

  • Since April 1, Worcester has seen an increase of 325 new cases (average of 46 new cases per day).

  • The Worcester Police Department has 4 positive cases with six members quarantined. One of the positive cases has been cleared to return to work.

  • The Worcester Fire Department has 6 positive cases. Two of the positive cases  are self-isolating and four have been cleared to return to duty. 27 members are in self-quarantine.

  • All combined medical facilities of Saint Vincent Hospital and UMass Memorial Health Care had 130 total COVID-positive in-patients and 41 total COVID-positive ICU patients today. To date, their facilities have had 19 total COVID-related deaths. A total of 83 of their employees have tested positive for the virus.

  • Small Business Resiliency Grants update: Total Applications Received: 290; Eligible Applicants: 189; Anticipated funding amount: $1.4 million. A total of 106 businesses will receive grants of $10,000 and 83 businesses will be funded at the $5,000 level. All 189 grant agreements have been drafted and should be sent out by the end of the day on Wednesday. A total of 46 grant agreements have been signed and returned and are in circulation. Checks are expected to go out beginning next week. Among the grant recipients, 60 percent are businesses owned by a minority/people of color and 40 percent are woman-owned businesses.

  • The state Department of Public Health has issued an order to grocery stores, which are an essential service, related to maintaining healthy practices during COVID-19. Each grocery store shall limit occupancy to 40% of its maximum permitted occupancy level to allow for in-store social distancing, while preserving sufficient public access to food and necessities. Customers of stores offering online delivery/curbside pickup should be encouraged to use those methods before entering the store.

  • Today the City Manager visited the Inspectional Services Division on Meade Street. He spoke to staff about daily operations during COVID-19, discussed some of their needs and learned how they are adjusting their work duties during this time. Employees are still fielding regular calls from residents about housing and other issues including no heat/hot water and sanitary conditions. Housing inspections being done in emergency situations. Inspectors are delivering informational packets to stores that include sanitation and basic COVID-19 information, as well as the state Department of Public Health’s Guidance for Grocery Stores.

  • Housing for the homeless: The City is putting out a call to landlords willing to rent to the homeless population. Homeless individuals with income and funding for first month, last month and security deposit, are looking to rent a single-room occupancy or single-bedroom apartment. Landlords who are willing to help by renting to the homeless population, should contact the Department of Health & Human Services at 508-799-8486.

  • All City basketball courts are closed until further notice. The Parks Department had previously zip tied the nets. Parks has now started adding the placement of angle iron across the rims at all sites. 

  • The City Manager acknowledged the work of Biodun Akande who serves as the Consumer Rights Program Manager in the City's Office of Human Rights. A native of Nigeria, Biodun has lived in Worcester for the last 19 years and has worked for the City since the start of its consumer rights program in the fall of 2016. The consumer rights program works collaboratively with businesses and consumers in Worcester to resolve consumer complaints filed through the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. During the COVID-19 crisis both Biodun and his staff assistant have increased their hours from 24 to 40 hours per week to handle an increase in consumer complaints from the Attorney General’s Office. Biodun has also been helping with setup and telehealth needs at all three of the city’s homeless shelters.
  • The Worcester Together Fund, a joint effort of the City of Worcester, Greater Worcester Community Foundation and United Way of Central Massachusetts, has to date raised $4 million. To donate visit: worcesterma.gov/coronavirus or text “worcestercovid19” to 243725. Checks can also be mailed to: Greater Worcester Community Foundation, COVID-19 Response Fund, 370 Main St #650, Worcester, MA 01608.
  • One of the organizations working with Worcester Together is the South East Asian Coalition who today donated 80,000 masks to the City of Worcester.

  • Senior Center Update: Total number of seniors contacted to date: 2,676; 186 outreach calls were made today and 1,035 meals were delivered.

  • The City of Worcester COVID-19 information line can be reached at 508-799-1019. This service is available in multiple languages. Individuals can speak live with a nurse, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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