As of 11/25/2020, the confirmed COVID 19 case count in Massachusetts is 2004,060. There have been 10,319 confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in Massachusetts. The number of positive tested cases in the Town of Webster is now at 512; however, of the 512 positive cases 428 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 you make plans for Thanksgiving this year please keep in mind these tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Please stay home as much as possible.
This past week, we had 34 new cases. The last reported positivity rate of COVID tests for Webster residents was 3.95%. This places Webster as in the yellow designation.
As a reminder, you can be tested for free at any number of locations through the "Stop the Spread" program. The number of COVID tests administered in the Commonwealth has increased drastically. In the spring, about 2,000 tests were administered in a typical day. Now 20,000 tests are typically administered in any given day. Additional information regarding hospital capacity and other COVID-19 statistics can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting
The Town, including the School Department, are monitoring these cases closely and will make adjustments to operations as necessary. The Webster Public Schools will remain remote for the majority of their students for the time being. For more information, please see their website at https://www.webster-schools.org/.
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Stay At Home Advisory: The Administration issued a revised Stay At Home Advisory to ensure residents avoid unnecessary activities that can lead to increased COVID-19 transmission. The revised Stay At Home Advisory instructs residents to stay home between 10 PM and 5 AM. The Advisory allows for activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs, and taking a walk.
Early Closure of Businesses and Activities: Gov. Baker issued a new executive order that requires the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM. The following businesses and activities must close to the public each day between the hours of 9:30 PM and 5:00 AM.
Restaurants (in-person dining must cease at 9:30 PM, although takeout and delivery may continue for food and non-alcoholic beverages, but not alcohol)
Liquor stores and other retail establishments that sell alcohol must cease alcohol sales at 9:30 PM (but may continue to sell other products)
Adult-use marijuana sales must cease at 9:30 PM (not including medical marijuana)
Indoor and outdoor events
Theaters/movie theaters (including drive-in movie theaters), and performance venues (indoor and outdoor)
Youth and adult amateur sports activities
Recreational boating and boating businesses
Outdoor recreational experiences
Casinos and horse tracks/simulcast facilities
Driving and flight schools
Zoos, botanical gardens, wildlife reserves, nature centers
Close contact personal services (such as hair and nail salons)
Gyms, Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
Indoor and outdoor pools
Museums/cultural & historical facilities/guided tours
Face Covering Order: Gov. Baker announced an updated order related to face-coverings. The revised order requires all persons to wear face-coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. The revised order still allows for an exception for residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition, but it allows employers to require employees to provide proof of such a condition. It also allows schools to require that students participating in in-person learning provide proof of such a medical or disabling condition.
Gatherings Order: Gov. Baker signed an updated order restricting gatherings. The order reduces the gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues (e.g. wedding venues) remains the same. The new order also requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 PM.
The new gatherings order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. The gatherings order authorizes continued enforcement by local health and police departments and specifies that fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering.
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. The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states as well as other pertinent information can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order
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.