The CDC has just raised the COVID risk for Franklin County from Low to High. Cases and hospitalizations at Baystate Hospital in Springfield and at Baystate Franklin in Greenfield are rising, although deaths are not. People should wear a high filtration mask in public indoor spaces, stay up to date with vaccines and boosters, and get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID. We have also just passed several milestones. The U.S. now has had more than 1,000,000 total deaths since the start of the pandemic. Wendell just passed the 100 mark for total cumulative PCR confirmed cases in our town. The actual number is likely much higher due to unreported home test results. We also have several new variants showing up, so please follow precautions. To find the status of any county, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html.
If you are not vaccinated and/or boosted, we recommend you do so. Viruses mutate much faster than vaccines that are an exact match for them can be developed. Boosters may not keep you from getting the virus altogether, but they are effective at preventing serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and death. For information on booster eligibility and vaccines, visit https://frcog.org/covid/. The J&J vaccine is no longer recommended for boosters due to a possible link to blood clotting problems.
For current information on testing, the best source is https://frcog.org/covid-testing-options. The site at Greenfield Community College is reopening, but the date has not yet been announced. If you have not already done so, you can order a second set of 4 free rapid response home tests by visiting https://www.covid.gov/tests/.
Do you need help with food security? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may be able to assist you. It can provide monthly funds for food, connections to free education training resources, utility discounts, free school meals, and reduced costs for Commonwealth museums and cultural institutions. Visit https://www.mass.gov/snap-benefits-formerly-food-stamps to get started. You may also want to try the Mass Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which adds money back on your EBT card when you use SNAP to buy fruits and vegetables from local vendors. For more information, go to https://www.mass.gov/healthy-incentives-program-hip.
The Wendell Board of Health has an open position for a new board member. We meet twice a month, currently on Zoom, on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. If you are interested in serving your community with us, contact us at for more details.
We wish all our Wendell moms, grandmothers and great-grandmothers a happy and healthy Mother’s Day!
For the Wendell Board of Health