COVID-19 status: As of yesterday, we have a cumulative total of 51 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. We had 7 new cases in the last two weeks. Only PCR test results are reported to MassDPH, and we all know there are more cases now than that. Home testing prevents us from having an accurate count. More important than the count is that everyone who has symptoms or tests positive notifies their close contacts and quarantines or isolates. As Kellianna pointed out previously, PCR tests are always the most accurate. We are fortunate to have a Stop the Spread site at Greenfield Community College. They are efficient, well organized, and results are usually available in about 24 hours. They prefer appointments but may take walk-ins, at least they used to. Their hours are M-F, 8 AM-4 PM. The phone number there is 877-280-2937. You can also go online at https://www.cic-health.com/stopthespread. With at-home tests becoming scarce and giving possible false results, it's worth considering. We do not have any more rapid response tests at the board of health.
In the meantime, keep wearing masks, the N95 kind if you can find them. Also, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education extended its mask mandate for schools through February 28, 2022. Please do not consider the Omicron virus "just a bad cold." While vaccinated and boostered folks without underlying health conditions are protected from serious disease, COVID can cause long-lasting side effects. We need to protect our young children as well, so please consider them.
COVID-19 testing advisory: On January 11 MassDPH issued an updated advisory on COVID testing. For full information, please go to: http://mass.gov/advisory/public-health-advisory-regarding-covid-19-testing.
Biden-Harris Administration free testing: For information on how to access free COVID-19 tests please go to: hhs.gov/about/news/2022/01/10/biden-harris-administration-requires-insurance-companies-group-heath-plans-to-cover-at-home-covid-19-tests-increasing-access-free-tests.html.
Digital vaccination records: You can now get a digital record of your COVID-19 vaccination records. For directions please visit:myvaxrecords.mass.gov.
This information is also being posted on the Wendell Board of Health website.
Wendell Board of Health