As of 9/21/2020, the confirmed COVID 19 case count in Massachusetts is 125,723. There have been 9,107 confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in Massachusetts. The number of positive tested cases in the Town of Webster is now at 296; however, of the 296 positive cases 282 have fully recovered. Unfortunately, eleven Webster residents have passed away from the novel coronavirus. Our thoughts are with the deceased’s friends and family.
As show in the table below, in late May and early June the Town of Webster had a steady increase in the number of positive COVID-19 patients while much of the rest of the state saw significant decreases. The majority of these cases were at a long-term care facility in town. At this single facility there were nine COVID-related deaths and 85 confirmed positive cases. All efforts are underway to ensure that the best care and protection is supplied at this facility which now has the virus under control. Other positive cases in town appear to be members of a household of someone that previously tested positive for the virus.
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You should get a test for COVID-19 if:
- You develop any symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, or
- You are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
For additional information, including where you can be tested, please see: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing
Here is data on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, average percent positivity, and total case counts, for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns over the last two weeks. Based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk, moderate risk, or lower risk community. Click here to view a map with these designations by community.
CVS announced it is expanding COVID-19 testing sites at several of its locations across Massachusetts beginning September 18th.
Last month, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a requirement that all students attending kindergarten through college must have a flu immunization by December 31. The requirement also applies to children over six months of age attending child care. Exemptions may be made for medical or religious reasons. In addition, the state adopted a policy, based on the federal PREP Act, which enables qualified pharmacy staff to administer a flu shot to children as young as three years old. The previous minimum age in Massachusetts was nine.
Flu can be very serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 –61,000 deaths annually since 2010. In Massachusetts, during the 2019-2020 flu season more than 40,000 confirmed cases were reported to the Department of Public Health (DPH), with 55,000-60,000 emergency department visits for flu, resulting in 7,000-8,000 hospitalizations. DPH will begin its annual flu surveillance reporting for the 2020-2021 on October 9.In anticipation of increased demand for flu shots this year, public health officials have been working to increase the vaccine supply. Over the past several years, DPH has purchased approximately 900,000 doses annually. This year the Commonwealth will receive 1,156,000 doses, a 28 percent increase.
DPH recommends people:
- Get a flu vaccine as soon as possible. The flu vaccine is widely available across the state, including at health care provider offices, pharmacies, school and workplace vaccination clinics, and flu vaccine clinics sponsored by local boards of health. A list of flu vaccine availability based on zip code can be found at vaccinefinder.org.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and use hand sanitizer when washing is not possible.
- Always cover your cough, and sneeze into your sleeve – not your hands.
- Stay home when you are sick with fever and a cough or sore throat and keep children home from school and daycare when they are sick.
- Contact your healthcare provider promptly if you think you have the flu, especially if you have health conditions that make you more likely to develop severe illness when sick with the flu. The provider may prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the course of illness. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, cough, and sore throat. Symptoms can also include body aches, headache, chills, runny nose, and fatigue. Some people are at higher risk of serious health problems when they get flu, including pregnant women, infants, older adults, and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurological and neuromuscular conditions, and weakened immune systems. Flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated death by half among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds among healthy children. Nationwide, there were 188 pediatric deaths from flu last year.
For more information about influenza, visit www.mass.gov/flu, or call your health care provider, local board of health, or DPH at (617) 983-6800.
Travelers from COVID-19 lower-risk States are not required to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and do not need to quarantine. States are included on the list based on meeting two criteria: average daily cases per 100K below 6 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as a 7-day rolling average. Data is fromcovidexitstrategy.org as of September 9, 2020.
The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states include: •Colorado
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
Additional information about the Massachusetts COVID-19 travel order, including the list of lower-risk states, exemptions, business guidance, and other details, is available here.
Transition to Third Phase of Four-Phase Approach
Massachusetts is in Phase Three of the Reopening Plan. The Department of Public Health (DPH) also issued updated guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Revised Gatherings Order:
Under the updated gatherings order, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space. Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25 percent of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 50 people in a single enclosed outdoor space. This includes community events, civic events, sporting events, concerts, conventions and more. This order does not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible. This revised order does not supersede previously issued sector guidance.
Public Health Guidance:
In Phase III, health care providers may continue to provide in-person procedures and services as allowed in Phase II, with the addition of certain group treatment programs and day programs. These programs include adult day health, day habilitation programs, and substance abuse services day treatment and outpatient services. Certain human services programs can reopen including community-based day services for adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities and psychosocial rehabilitation clubhouses. Health care providers are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards, and must continue to utilize prioritization policies established in Phase II for care delivery and scheduling, as well as monitor patient volume for non-essential, elective procedures and services.
In Phase III, visitation guidelines have been updated for 24/7 congregate care facilities and programs overseen by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, including the Departments of Developmental Services, Youth Services, Children and Families, Public Health, Mental Health and the Mass Rehabilitation Commission. Offsite visits, including overnight visits, will be allowed, under specific guidelines. Other updated guidelines, including visitation for long term care facilities, was also released. Complete visitation guidance is available at www.mass.gov/hhs/reopening.
Contact Tracing: We need your help. If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or had contact with someone who did, the COVID Community Team will be reaching out via phone to you and your close contacts to slow the spread. We’ll make sure that you are getting the medical attention you need and support through quarantine. Your caller ID will show the call is coming from 508-713-3983 or 833-638-1685 or 857-305-2728. Your name will not be released.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has developed a dashboard with many statistics regarding the evolving COVID-19 situation. The Dashboard includes daily and cumulative confirmed cases; cases by hospital, county, and age/sex/ethnicity; testing by date; hospital capacity; nursing home data; and PPE distribution. The dashboard is updated daily and can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting
COVID-19 Public Resources Map: MEMA, together with MA VOAD and other partners, has developed a COVID-19 Public Resources Map showing the location of resources available to the public, such as food banks, houses of worship, school lunch sites, and Project Bread site locations. Please note that this map is not inclusive of all resources, and is only as accurate as the information that has been provided to MEMA. The map can be found here: https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5867d881a9324121839605c56a3d7cc9
Please remember to:
- Avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities.
- Protect yourself by following public health advice about keeping your hands clean and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you need to consult a health care provider, call ahead first or use telehealth services.
- Protect others who are most at risk of COVID-19 by keeping your distance from people (at least 6 feet away from others), especially those who are older, and people living with chronic health conditions.
- If you are outside, avoid crowds.
- Don’t shake hands or hug.
- Stay connected to friends and loved ones by phone or through other technology.
- Get information from trusted sources such as the links below.
- Take care of your emotional health and help others do the same. If you need emotional support during these stressful times, call 2-1-1 and choose the “CALL2TALK” option
Links to Relevant Information
For more information regarding COVID-19 and the Federal Government’s response, please see the CDC website www.coronavirus.gov.
For more information regarding the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ response to COVID-19, please see www.mass.gov/covid19.
For a complete list of emergency orders click here.
The Commonwealth has established a COVID-19 text alert system for immediate updates from the State. Please text COVIDMA to 888-777 to subscribe.
Please contact the Webster Board of Health at 508-949-3800 ext. 4002 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any COVID-19 related concerns.
Blood Shortage: The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during the COVID-19 outbreak. There is an urgent blood donation need now for patients with chronic conditions and trauma, as well as for ensuring an adequate blood and blood product supply going forward. The Governor has deemed “Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities” as an essential service. Donating blood is safe and people should not hesitate to give. In addition, there is a need for community blood drive sites in the eastern part of the state. Those who are healthy, feeling well, and eligible to give blood or platelets are urged to make an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Online Symptom Checker: The Commonwealth has developed a web tool for residents to assess their symptoms at www.buoy.com/mass.