Watertown School Surveys Find More In-Person Learning Wanted, COVID Testing Popular

The number positive tests for COVID-19 is going up for students and staff in the Watertown Public Schools, but they have remained low for those attending in-person. Superintendent Dede Galdston discussed COVID in the schools, as well as the results of the Watertown Public Schools’ surveys taken by parents, students and staff at Monday’s School Committee meeting. The district has 13 students and/or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, but only three of those people are attending school in-person: two at the Early Steps preschool and one at Watertown High School. A total of 44 students and staff are in quarantine, including 15 at the preschool and 12 at Lowell Elementary School. Since Sept.

Watertown Restaurant First Awardee of Group Looking to Save Local Eateries

Watertown’s Donohue’s Bar & Grill received the first grant from the Step Up to the Table Foundation, a group looking to save local restaurants during COVID-19. Donohue’s was nominated by Josh Vernon, who sent in a letter talking about how much the restaurant has given back to the community since it opened in 1998, particularly to the Watertown Boys & Girls Club. “When you mention Donohue’s to anyone from the Watertown area, they think of family and a wonderful place to gather together for all reasons JD would never ask for help, so as a friend and customer I felt he deserved this nomination so he can continue giving back to his community and supporting his staff,” Vernon wrote in his nomination. Like restaurants across Massachusetts, Donohue’s has faced many hurdles during the pandemic, from being closed in the early days of COVID, to continued reduction of capacity and other restrictions. See a video, below, posted by the Step Up to the Table Foundation when it told owner JD Donohue about the grant:

As Phase 2 of State’s Vaccination Plan Approaches, Town Waits for Vaccine

Watertown residents anxiously await the COVID-19 vaccine, but to the chagrin of Health Director Larry Ramdin, he does not have any to distribute. Last week, Gov. Baker announced that Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution would begin on Feb. 1, beginning with people age 75. Second in the order of priority will be people 65 and over and people with two comorbidities

“We are spending a lot of time responding to people’s calls asking for the vaccine,” Ramdin said. The Health Department vaccinated members of the Watertown Fire and Police departments as part of Phase 1 recently, but Radmin said they were able to get the vaccine through a collaboration with the town’s of Belmont, Arlington and Lexington.

Health Department Plans to Host COVID Vaccine Clinics, Stresses Need to Keep Up Prevention Steps

Watertown Fire Chief Bob Quinn gets a COVID-19 vaccination shot during the clinic for police and firefighters run by the Watertown Health Department last week. The light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel can be seen, with the first vaccinations by the Watertown Health Department starting last week, but Health Director Larry Ramdin said people must continue their virus prevention practices even after they get their shots. On Jan. 14 and 15, members of the Watertown Police and Fire departments received their first COVID-19 vaccine shots, Ramdin said. He and Public Health Nurse Wil VanDinter have begun planning for public clinics in Town, but do not know when they will be able to administer the vaccine to the general public, Ramdin said.

Watertown Back in Yellow COVID Category, Cases Continue to Rise

After moving into the state’s “Red,” or high-risk of COVID-19 transmission, group for a week, Watertown went back into the “Yellow,” or moderate-risk group. The latest Mass. Department of Public Health report (released on Jan. 15), showed that the Town’s positive test rate dropped to 4.91 percent. The previous report had Watertown at 5.14 percent, and any positivity rate over 5 percent for a town of Watertown’s size is one of the thresholds to put it in the Red.

Find Out About Applying for Second Round of PPP Loans

Small businesses can start applying for the latest round of federal Payroll Protection Program. PPP loans available for businesses that did not get the grant in the first round, and the application process began on Jan. 11. Also, businesses that got PPP in the first round can apply for the Second Draw can begin applying on Jan. 13.

Watertown Moves into High Risk for COVID-19, Health Director Asks Residents to Remain Vigilant

Watertown moved into the Red, or high-risk, category in the most recent Mass. Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 reporting. The Watertown Health Director fears that people are suffering from “COVID fatigue” and have become lax about taking measures to stop the spread of the virus. In the latest data from the MassDPH, Watertown has an average of 55.8 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, which was up from 51 per 100,000 the previous week. The number that moved the Town from “yellow” to “red” was the positivity percentage of tests, which was 5.14 percent (up from 4.7 percent the previous report).

State Offering New Round of Pandemic Grants to Small Businesses

Grants are available for small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new round of grants for small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic has been announced by state officials. Sectors given priority for the grants include restaurants, hair and nail salons, gyms and fitness, indoor recreation, event support and independent retailers. The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) has up to $668 million available to support businesses in sectors experiencing the most significant economic hardship and a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The application deadline is Jan.