The Town of Ware, along with the rest of the state, has experienced a very large surge in cases over the past few weeks. The wave began as the delta variant, but the new omicron variant has taken over in Massachusetts as the dominant strain. This variant is characterized by very high transmissibility (even higher than delta), but there is no evidence yet that it is more severe. The following information is intended to help people stay safe during the holidays.
State Mask Advisory
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently announced the re-adoption of their mask advisory. Complete information on this advisory can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-mask-requirements
The Massachusetts DPH advises that all people, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask when indoors and not in your own home. This advisory is particularly urged if you are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection, or if you live with someone who is at increased risk.
Due to the significant increase that the Town of Ware has seen in their COVID-19 case counts, there are a number of recommendations we have to stay safe during the holidays:
- Vaccines are our best protection. If you are not vaccinated, this is the time to go get your shot. If you are, but you over 18 and haven't had the booster, try to find an appointment to get the booster shot if you're 6 months past a Pfizer/Moderna shot or 2 months past a Johnson & Johnson shot (the Pfizer booster was also just approved for 16+)
- Wear a mask indoors (and not in your own home). The state's mask advisory covers this, but we want to support this recommendation and urge that everyone wear a mask while our numbers are surging
- Make use of preventative testing. Get tested, and request that others get tested, before getting together for the holidays
- Err on the side of caution when it comes to symptoms. Do not assume that your new stuffed nose or cough is the cold. When you develop symptoms, go get tested and limit your contact with others until you get your results back
Everyone who is vaccinated should feel relatively comfortable. The number of breakthrough cases (those who are vaccinated and get infected with COVID-19) is very low, and those vaccinated people who do get sick tend to have very positive outcomes. The rate of hospitalization of vaccinated cases is only 2.5%. Wearing masks right now is intended to protect the most vulnerable populations: the immunocompromised and the unvaccinated.
As always, if anyone has specific questions or needs more personalized advice, they can always reach out to the health department at (413) 967-9615 or to me directly at email@example.com