MHAC’s COVID-19 Updates and Resources: 4/10-4/16

Apr 14, 2020

MHAC is continuing to collect and share updates on COVID-19 from state government, federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, and other key stakeholders.

These updates are to help and inform a wide range of individuals and partners, including communities working to become more age- and dementia friendly.

Please see the latest updates below:

  • Baker Administration Announces Expanded Testing Sites and COVID-19 Response Data by Community

In the past week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the expansion of COVID-19 response reporting to include statewide hospital capacity, PPE distribution data, and cases by city/town. They have also increased National Guard activation and taken other measures with a projected surge in overall cases statewide.

More information from these announcements are available here.

  • Mass. Dept. of Telecommunication and Cable Shares Info on ‘Keep Americans Connected Initiative’

In response to COVID-19, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that people do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity during the pandemic.

Over 600 broadband and telephone service providers in the country have signed on to commit to the following through May 13, 2020:
(1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the
coronavirus pandemic;
(2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus
pandemic; and
(3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to public.

For more resources and information, see the Mass. DTC resource on “COVID-19 Response from Broadband and Telephone Service Providers’ here.

  • AARP Coronavirus Tele-town Hall on Telehealth (4/16)

Experts will share the basics of electronic and virtual telehealth services and how to access them. The discussion will also include how Medicare and private insurers have adjusted and expanded their rules for testing, prescriptions and out-of-network care during the pandemic.

Here’s how to join:
Date: April 16
Time: 1pm ET (12 noon CT, 11am MT, 10am PT)
Call-in: 855-274-9507 (toll free)

You can listen to the livestream or find more information here.   Call recordings will be posted on and on the Volunteer Portal in the TTH Library under Coronavirus TTH.

  • Executive Office of Elder Affairs Creates New Resource for Caregivers: Engaging Older Adults at Home

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing changes to our everyday lives. Many caregivers need new ways to engage older adults at home. To help alleviate the stress that isolation can bring, caregivers can consider exploring these online activities.  Additionally, care​givers can find the latest updates on COVID-19 – including guidance, recommendations, prevention tips, frequently asked questions and more – on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website:

  • National Council on Aging (NCOA) Rolls Out a Resource Guide for Senior Centers to Keep Older Adults Connected

Thanks to some Massachusetts-based council on aging experts, NCOA released a document to assist senior centers that are temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with programming and service continuity ideas for any center.

This “evolving toolkit” can be a useful tool for communities seeking to become more age- and dementia friendly to promote social connection.

  • National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Announces Toolkit and Best Practice List

City governments and transit agencies are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and are rapidly developing policies and projects for this emergency. NACTO has created a resource to address the most critical impacts of the coronavirus and ensure essential services operate in their communities. To help city and agency staff plan responses to the pandemic, NACTO is regularly updating a summary of rapidly-deployed responses.

These include everything from safe social distancing on public transit to free or reduced bikeshare programs and partnerships.