Board of Health Update - May 13, 2022

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Board of Health Update, May 13, 2022

Our apologies that the May 6, 2022 update was not posted last week

Statewide, new Covid cases continued to climb last week to 40,620 compared to 31,688 two weeks ago (+28% compared to +14% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased 40%, from 5,635 two weeks’ ago to 7,870 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 41%, from 2,602 two weeks’ ago to 3,674 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased by 33% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs increasing from 45 to 66. Of the 728 hospitalized, 484 (66%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 27 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 9 cases two weeks’ ago (1,436 total to date). Topsfield had 24 new cases last week, compared to 15 two weeks’ ago (1,246 total to date); Middleton had 57 new cases last week as compared to 59 two weeks’ ago (3,202 total to date) and Georgetown had 19 new cases last week compared to 20 two weeks’ ago (1,555 total to date).

Covid Omicron variants continue to emerge with increasing infectious ability. The original variant, BA1.1 has been overtaken by variant BA.2 and during the last few weeks, BA.2 is being overtaken by BA.2.12.1, even more infectious and increasing cases requiring hospitalization.  For an overview of these variants, go to: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions.

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Board of Health Update, April 29, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases increased last week to 27,680 compared to 24,195 two weeks ago (+14% compared to <1% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased 6%, from 5,005 two weeks’ ago to 5,289 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 10%, from 2,036 two weeks’ ago to 2,241 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased by 12% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs increasing from 27 to 31. Of the 431 hospitalized, 205 (48%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 12 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 14 cases two weeks’ ago (1,400 total to date). Topsfield had 15 new cases last week, compared to 9 two weeks’ ago (1,207 total to date); Middleton had 41 new cases last week as compared to 14 two weeks’ ago (3,086 total to date) and Georgetown had 23 new cases last week compared to 13 two weeks’ ago (1,516 total to date).

A new study published in the British medical journal, the Lancet, evaluated 2,300 people hospitalized with Covid one year after hospitalization. The study found that only approximately 25% felt fully recovered. Women were 33% less likely than men to be fully recovered. The most common long-Covid symptoms were fatigue, muscle pain, poor sleep, slowing down physically, and breathlessness. The authors concluded that until effective treatments are developed, long Covid will become a prevalent long-term condition. For the full article, see: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2213-2600%2822%2900127-8

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Board of Health Update, April 22, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased slightly last week to 24,195 compared to 24,266 two weeks ago (<1% compared to +32% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased 26%, from 3,683 two weeks’ ago to 5,005 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 29%, from 1,579 two weeks’ ago to 2,036 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased by 25% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 30 to 27. Of the 384 hospitalized, 239 (62%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 14 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 14 cases two weeks’ ago (1,388 total to date). Topsfield had 9 new cases last week,  compared to 4 two weeks’ ago (1,192 total to date); Middleton had 14 new cases last week as compared to 21 two weeks’ ago (3,045 total to date) and Georgetown had 13 new cases last week compared to 15 two weeks’ ago (1,493 total to date).

The Covid 19 Omicron variant continues to mutate into more transmissible forms of the virus.  Omicron subvariant BA.2 is now the dominant Covid 19 virus in the U.S., accounting for approximately 75% of all new cases.  A subvariant of BA.2 itself, BA.2.12 is now emerging and accounted for 19% of new Covid cases last week.  Both variants have symptoms of a bad cold in vaccinated and boosted people. For more on Omicron variants, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html?....

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Board of Health Update, April 15, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases increased last week to 24,266 compared to 14,393 two weeks ago (+69% compared to +32% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased 23%, from 2,984 two weeks ago to 3,683 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 22%, from 1,289 two weeks’ ago to 1,579 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased by 53% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs increasing from 28 to 30. Of the 307 hospitalized, 175 (43%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 14 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 6 cases two weeks’ ago (1,374total to date). Topsfield had 4 new cases last week,  compared to 9 two weeks’ ago (1,183 total to date); Middleton had 21 new cases last week as compared to 11 two weeks’ ago (3,031 total to date) and Georgetown had 15 new cases last week compared to 12 two weeks’ ago (1,480 total to date).

As new Covid cases and reinfections of fully vaccinated people increase, many question getting a second booster of vaccine.  The CDC recommends a second booster for those over age 50 and those with compromising conditions. For details on CDC guidance, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html?s_c...

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Board of Health Update, April 8, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases increased last week to 14,393 compared to 10,931 two weeks ago (+32%% compared to +24% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased 20%, from 2,485 two weeks’ ago to 2,984 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 25%, from 1,028 two weeks’ ago to 1,289 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased by 9% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs increasing from 22 to 28. Of the 200 hospitalized, 77 (39%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 6 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 9 cases two weeks’ ago (1,360 total to date). Topsfield had 9 new cases last week,  compared to 10 two weeks’ ago (1,179 total to date); Middleton had 11 new cases last week as compared to 9 two weeks’ ago (3,010 total to date) and Georgetown had 12 new cases last week compared to 5 two weeks’ ago (1,465 total to date).

The increases in Covid cases over the past few weeks appear due to the spread of Omicron variant BA.2.  CDC reports that over 73% of all new Covid cases in Massachusetts are now caused by BA.2.  While BA.2 is twice as infectious as the original Omicron, it does not appear to cause a more severe disease. Vaccination, including a booster provides the best protection against BA.2. For more information, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicronvariant.html?s....

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Board of Health Update, April 1, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases increased last week to 10,931 compared to 8,787 two weeks ago (+24%% compared to -6% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased 16%, from 2,135 two weeks’ ago to 2,485 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 15%, from 896 two weeks’ ago to 1,028 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased by 0.6% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 39 to 22. Of the 221 hospitalized, 80 (30%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 9 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 7 cases two weeks’ ago (1,354 total to date). Topsfield had 10 new cases last week, as compare to 12 two weeks’ ago (1,170 total to date); Middleton had 9 new cases last week as compared to 10 two weeks’ ago (2,999 total to date) and Georgetown had 5 new cases last week compared to 4 two weeks’ ago (1,453 total to date).

The FDA and CDC have now approved a second Covid booster for those over 50 and younger people with coexisting conditions.  There are questions about whether it is needed. People with coexisting conditions should consider receiving it. A study just release in the New England Journal of Medicine carried out in Israel (where the second booster has been approved since January) found that while there appears to be no harm from getting the booster, it doesn’t appreciably increase protection against Covid.  To read the article go to:  https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2202542

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Board of Health Update, March 25, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases continued to decrease last week to 8,787 compared to 9,327 two weeks ago (-6% compared to -17% two weeks ago) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 3%, from 2,208 two weeks’ ago to 2,135 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 2%, from 918 two weeks’ ago to 896 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased by 3% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs increasing from 29 to 39. Of the 234 hospitalized, 77 (33%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 7 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 2 cases two weeks’ ago (1,345 total to date). Topsfield had 12 new cases last week, as compare to 5 two weeks’ ago (1,160 total to date); Middleton had 10 new cases last week as compared to 5 two weeks’ ago (2,990 total to date) and Georgetown had 4 new cases last week compared to 3 two weeks’ ago (1,448 total to date).

The current Covid case trend is leveling and has slightly increased over the past week.  This may be due to the emergence of the Omcron BA.2 variant that has become the dominant variant for Covid cases in the Northeastern U.S., and is causing another surge in the UK and Europe. While BA.2 is more highly transmissible than the original, BA.1 Omicron, it does not appear to cause a more severe disease and those vaccinated are afforded protection from hospitalization if infected.  The CDC urges those who have not received a vaccine booster do so as soon as possible. For more information, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLSCPqK8SJY.

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Board of Health Update, March 18, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases continued to decrease last week to 9,327 compared to 11,174 two weeks ago (-17%). Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 22%, from 2,828 two weeks’ ago to 2,208 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 9%, from 1,009 two weeks’ ago to 918 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased by 21% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 40 to 29. Of the 228 hospitalized, 146 (61%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 2 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 2 cases two weeks’ ago (1,338 total to date). Topsfield had 5 new cases last week, as compare to 6 two weeks’ ago (1,148 total to date); Middleton had 5 new cases last week as compared to 1 two weeks’ ago (2,980 total to date) and Georgetown had 3 new cases last week compared to2 two weeks’ ago (1,448 total to date).

A new variant of Omicron, BA.2, is being closely followed. It appears more transmissible than the original Omicron and is increasing in the UK and parts of Europe. It has the same risk of severe infection as Omicron and Covid vaccines appear effective in preventing severe symptoms and hospitalizations. As it spreads throughout the UK, CDC and WHO continue to recommend vaccinations for the unvaccinated, and masking in crowded indoor spaces for those with weakened immune systems or other co-morbidities. For more information, see: https://www.who.int/news/item/22-02-2022-statement-on-omicron-sublineage...

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Board of Health Update, March 11, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases continued to decrease last week, to 11,174 from 15,661 two weeks ago (-29%) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 37%, from 4,493 two weeks’ ago to 2,828 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 35%, from 1,558 two weeks’ ago to 1,009 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased by 24% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 65 to 40. Of the 290 hospitalized, 168 (58%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 2 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 5 two weeks’ ago (1,336 total to date). Topsfield had 6 new cases last week, as compare to 5 two weeks’ ago (1,143 total to date); Middleton had 1 new case last week as compared to 3 two weeks’ ago (2,975 total to date) and Georgetown had 2 new cases last week compared to 5 two weeks’ ago (1,445 total to date).

The Omicon surge appears to have subsided.  We have reached Covid case numbers equal to June of 2020, and again in June 2021, the two lowest months in the pandemic.

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Board of Health Update, March 4, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases continued to decrease last week, to 15,661 from 23,321 two weeks ago (-33%). Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 36%, from 7,026 two weeks ago to 4,493 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 44%, from 2,801 two weeks’ ago to 1,558 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased by 25% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 97 to 65. Of the 383 hospitalized, 215 (56%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 5 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 6 two weeks’ ago (1,334 total to date). Topsfield had 5 new cases last week, as compare to 2 two weeks’ ago (1,137 total to date); Middleton had 3 new cases last week as compared to 12 two weeks’ ago (2,974 total to date) and Georgetown had 5 new cases last week compared to 13 two weeks’ ago (1,443 total to date).

The downward trend in new case numbers in the past 4 weeks is encouraging. We are almost out of the December/January surge from Omicron. 

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Board of Health Update, February 25, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases continued to decrease last week, to 23,321 from 35,570 two weeks ago (-34%). Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 34%, from 10,589 two weeks’ ago to 7,026 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 42%, from 4,857 two weeks’ ago to 2,801 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased by 34% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 152 to 97. Of the 512 hospitalized, 282 (55%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 6 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 4 two weeks’ ago (1,329 total to date). Topsfield had 2 new cases last week, as compare to 5 two weeks’ ago (1,132 total to date); Middleton had 12 new cases last week as compared to 16 two weeks’ ago (2,971 total to date) and Georgetown had 13 new cases last week compared to  two weeks’ ago.(1,438 total to date).

Deaths from Covid 19 are decreasing as well as case count.  To date, there have been 22,626 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in Massachusetts since the pandemic began, with an additional 715 probable deaths.  While the average age of all Covid-19 cases is 33, the average age for deaths is 75. In Boxford, we have had 9 Covid-19 deaths since the pandemic began with an average age of 80.5.

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Board of Health Update, February 18, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased to 35,570 last week, down from 60,589 two weeks ago (-41%) Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 39%, from 17,372 two weeks’ ago to 10,589 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 43%, from 8,519 two weeks’ ago to 4,857 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased to 33% as compared to those hospitalized two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 213 to 152.  Of the 776 hospitalized, 414 (53%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 4 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 20 two weeks’ ago (1,323 total to date). Topsfield had 5 new cases last week, as compare to 18 two weeks’ ago (1,130 total to date); Middleton had 16 new cases last week as compared to 50 two weeks’ ago (2,959 total to date) and Georgetown had 5 new cases last week compared to 16 two weeks’ ago. (1,425 total to date).

Your Board of Health rescinded its Indoor Masking Order at its meeting last Wednesday.  While this means face coverings are no longer required in Boxford building.  The Board still recommends their use by Seniors, if you haven’t received a booster, or if you are unvaccinated.  Masks have been proven in many accredited scientific and clinical studies to prevent the transmission of and infection by Covid-19.

As Omicron winds down we may be facing another variant.  Workers in Japan have characterized a variant (mutation) of Omicron called BA.2.  The variant appears as infective as Omicron and able to infect persons who have not received a booster, and appears to cause more serious symptoms than Omicron.  The preliminary study on Omicron-BA.2 is at: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.14.480335v1.full.pdf

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Board of Health Update, February 11, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased to 60,589 last week, down from 107,766 two weeks ago (-44%). Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased 42%, from 30,227 two weeks’ ago to 17,372 last week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 40%, from 14,812 two weeks’ ago to 8,519 last week. 

Last week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased to 30% as compared to those hospitalized 2 weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 273 to 213.  Of the 1,161 hospitalized, 599 (52%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past week, there were 20 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 34 two weeks’ ago (1,319 total to date). Topsfield had 18 new cases last week, as compare to 22 two weeks’ ago (1,125 total to date); Middleton had 50 new cases last week as compared to 79 two weeks’ ago (2,943 total to date) and Georgetown had 16 new cases last week compared to 26 two weeks’ ago.(1,420 total to date).

A new study on over 150,000 men who had Covid-19 as compared to two, non-Covid 19 control groups, revealed that one year after contracting Covid, those individuals were 67% more susceptible to heart failure. The study was done with the US Veterans Affairs data base and the subjects were primarily white males.  For the complete study see: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01689-3#MOESM1 .

A new, multicenter study by a number of medical schools in California and published by the CDC looked at the effectiveness of various types of masks against Covid 19 in indoor settings. They found that cloth masks reduced the chance of contracting Covid-19 by 56%, surgical masks reduced infection by 66%, and N95 masks reduced infection by 83%. You can access the study at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/pdfs/mm7106e1-H.pdf

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Board of Health Update, February 4, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased to 107,766 this week, down from 181,280 last week (-41%). Over the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased by 51%, from 61,836 two weeks’ ago to 30,227 last week.  Cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 49%, from 29,268 two weeks’ ago to 14,812 last week. 

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased to 34%, with those in ICUs decreasing from 396 to 273.  Of the 1,661 hospitalized, 812 (49%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

We are finally seeing a decrease in the Covid surge from the holidays. Over the past week, there were 34 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford, as compared to 66 two weeks’ ago (1,299 total to date). Topsfield had 22 new cases last week, as compare to 56 two weeks’ ago (1,107 total to date); Middleton had 79 new cases last week as compared to 124 two weeks’ ago (2,893 total to date) and Georgetown had 26 new cases last week compared to 54 two weeks’ ago 1,404 total to date).

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Board of Health Update, January 28, 2022

We apologize for missing our Update last week. The data in this update include cases during the last two weeks, since January 14, 2022.

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased to 181,280 this week, down from a weekly total of 260,605 two weeks ago Over the past two weeks, new  weekly cases in ages 0 to 19  decreased an average of 29%, from 65,813 two weeks’ ago to 50,786 over the past two weeks, with new cases in 0 to 9 year olds  decreasing by 16%, from 29,172 two weeks ago to 24,573 over the past two weeks. 

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid decreased to 21% as compared to hospitalized cases two weeks ago, with those in ICUs decreasing from 484 to 396.  Of the 2,521 hospitalized, 1,2,84 (51%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Over the past two weeks, there were 129 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford.  as compared to 132 the week of 14 January (1,265 total to date). Topsfield had 112 new cases over the past two weeks, as compare to 99 the week of 14 January (1,085 total to date); Middleton had 248 cases over the past two weeks as compared to 184 the week of 14 January (2,814 total to date) and Georgetown had 108 new cases over the past two weeks compared to 99 the week of 14 January.(1,378 total to date).

Studies are ongoing for diagnostic methods to better detect and treat persons having Long Covid.  For example, researchers in Switzerland carried out a study on patients infected with Covid-19 from initial disease to a year later. They found a blood immunoglobulin (antibody) ‘signature’ in the Covid patients (but not in control patients) that, together with initial Covid symptoms, appears to correlate to the chance of developing Long Covid. See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-27797-1.pdf

 

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Board of Health Update, January 14, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 76% last week as compared to 83% last week, for a weekly total of 260,605 new cases.  This week, new  cases in ages 0 to 19  increased by 85% as compared to 68% last week, from 35,619 last week to 65,813 this week, with new cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 86%, from 15,708 to 29,172. 

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased to 3,180, with those in ICUs increasing from 416 to 484. Of the 3,180 hospitalized, 1,505 (47%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

There were 132 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford in the past week (as of January 13) as compared to 77 the previous week (1,136 total to date). Topsfield had 94 new cases, a decrease from from 99 the previous week (973 total to date); Middleton had 199 new cases, up from 184 the previous week (2,566 total to date) and Georgetown had 99 new cases, up from 86 the previous week. (1,270 total to date).

A limited number of Covid rapid tests will be soon be available through the Town. Check the notice page on the Town web site for details on how to request the tests. There will be a charge of $10 for each kit with a limit of 2 per household.

Massachusetts has set up a website where you can confirm your vaccination status. The website will link you to a copy of your records. You can print the record out or share it with a QR code.  Go to https://myvaxrecords.mass.gov/Board of Health Update, January 7, 2022

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 83% last week as compared to 23% last week, for a weekly total of 147,893 new cases.  This week, new  cases in ages 0 to 19  increased by 68% as compared to 8% last week, from 21,194 last week to 35,619 this week, with new cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 65%, from 9,512 to 15,708. 

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased to 2,524, up by 39%, as compared to an 11% increase last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 382 to 416. Of the 2,524 hospitalized, 1,019 (40%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

There were 77 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford in the past week (as of January 6)  as compared to 79 the previous week (1,004 total to date). Topsfield had 99 new cases, up from 63 the previous week (879 total to date); Middleton had 184 new cases, up from 96 the previous week (2,367 total to date) and Georgetown had 86 new cases, up from 33 the previous week (1,171 total to date).

Your BOH is hosting a clinic for Covid vaccinations and boosters at Masconomet Regional High School on the January 22nd, from 9am to 11:45 am; and again on 12 February 12th, from 9 am to 11:45 am. The clinic is open to all Tri-Town residents. The Pfizer vaccine will be available for ages 5 years and up, the Moderna and J&J vaccines for ages 12 and up.  Information will be posted on the Town website on how to sign up.

Covid testing kits will soon be available for Boxford residents. Details will be posted on the Town web site.

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Board of Health Update, December 31, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 23% last week as compared to 9% last week, for a weekly total of 80,922 new cases.  This week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 8% as compared to 7% last week, from 19,683 last week to 21,194 this week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 1%, from 9,438 to 9,512. 

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased to 1,817, increasing by 11%, the same as last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 363 to 382. Of the 1,817 hospitalized, 631 (35%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

There were 79 new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford in the past week (as of December 30) as compared to 47 last week (927 total to date); Topsfield had 63 new cases, up from 43 last week (780) total to date); Middleton had 96 new cases, up from 63 last week (2,183 total to date) and Georgetown had 33 new cases, down from 45 last week. (1,085 total to date).

Many people who have had Covid-19 and recovered have long term effects (‘Long Covid’) such as fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression that may last for many months.  A new study  released from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) on people who have died of Covid indicates that the virus may be able to invade and survive in body organs including brain, heart, liver, muscle, skin, and fat tissue. Viral RNA was found in tissues for up to 283 days after onset of Covid symptoms.  For a preliminary release of the study go to: https://assets.researchsquare.com/files/rs-1139035/v1_covered.pdf?c=1640020576.

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Board of Health Update, December 24, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 9% last week as compared to 34% last week, for a weekly total of 65,831 new cases.  This week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 7% as compared to 31% last week, from 18,419 to 19,683, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 4%, from 9,108 to 9,438. 

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased to 1,632.  The rate of hospitalization decreased by 11% as compared to last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 319 to 363. Of the 1,632 hospitalized, 500 (31%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

New cases of Covid decreased last week from the week before in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of 23 December). Boxford had 47 new cases as compared to 79 two weeks’ ago (848 total to date); Topsfield 43 new cases, down from 71 (717 total to date); Middleton 63 new cases, down from 121 (2,087 total to date) and Georgetown 45 new cases, down from 104 (1,042 total to date).

The Covid Omicron variant is rapidly becoming the dominant cause of Covid-19, displacing the Delta variant.  First observations indicate that infection by Omicron is less severe and less likely to require hospitalization in fully vaccinated people (including a booster). For more details on Omicron go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html.

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Board of Health Update, December 17th, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 34% last week, for a weekly total of 60,631 new cases.  This week, new  cases in ages 0 to 19  increased by 31%, from 14,022 last week to 18,419 this week, with new cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 29%, from 7087 to 9108.  Ages 0 to 19 new cases represented 30% of all new Covid cases last week in Massachusetts, the second highest age group increase after the 32% case increase for ages 20 to 49.

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased to 1473, up 17% from last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 261 to 319. Of the 1473 hospitalized, 425 (29%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Essex county confirmed and probable deaths from Covid-19 total 2,655 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 75 new deaths since November 26th, 2021. The average age of those dying from Covid is 74.

The surge of new cases of Covid continues in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of December 16th), Boxford had 79 new cases, up from 38 new cases last week (801 total to date); Topsfield 71 new cases, up from 39 last week (674 total to date); Middleton 121 new cases, up from 71 last week (2,024 total to date) and Georgetown 104 new cases, up from 53 last week (997 total to date).

As the number of Covid cases increases among students in our schools, vaccination and boosters are even more critical. As of December 14th, 2021, student vaccination rates in the Tri-Towns are as shown in the following table.

 

Town

% Vaccinated

5-11 yrs

12-15 yrs

16-19 yrs

Boxford

43

88

>95

Topsfield

57

86

95

Middleton

26

72

79

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Board of Health Update, December 10, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 39% last week, for a weekly total of 46,467 new cases.  This week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 35%, from 10,367 last week to 14,022 this week, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 36%, from 5,213 to 7,087.

This week, new hospitalizations for Covid increased to 1,259, up 25% from last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 206 to 261. Of the 1,259 hospitalized, 418 (33%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

We are seeing the predicted holiday surge in new cases in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of December 9), Boxford had 38 new cases, up from 17 new cases last week (722 total to date); Topsfield 39 new cases, up from 23 last week (603 total to date); Middleton 71 new cases, up from 34 last week (1,903 total to date) and Georgetown 53 new cases, up from 33 last week (893 total to date).

A study on ‘mixing’ Covid vaccination shots was published this week in The Lancet, a highly respected, peer-reviewed medical journal. An example of ‘mixing’ would be receiving two injections of the Pfizer vaccine and then a booster of the Moderna vaccine. The study found that mixing vaccines still resulted in higher antibody titers (more protective) than just two shots, with no significant increased occurrences of side effects. This supports the use of mixed vaccines.  For more information see: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2821%2902717-3.

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Board of Health Update, December 3, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 12% last week, for a weekly total of 33,345 new cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 13%, from 939 to 10,367, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 13%, from 4,611 to 5,213.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased to 989, up 28% from last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 156 to 206. Of the 989 hospitalized, 370 (37%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Cases continue to increase in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of 1 December), Boxford had 17 new cases (722 total to date), Topsfield 23 new cases (603 to date), Middleton 34 new cases (1,903 to date) and Georgetown 33 new cases (893 to date).

Percent positivity is a measure of the percentage of Covid-19 tests that are positive of total tests carried out. In the past two weeks (since November 25) in our towns, percent positivity has been Boxford, 4.6%; Topsfield, 4.0%; Middleton, 34%; and Georgetown, 33%.  The statewide average has been 3.6%. Note that because of home testing, the total number of tests is unknown and these percentages only represent tests reported to Mass DPH.

The Covid-19 Omicron variant is in the U.S. and is predicted to spread. The CDC is gathering data to characterize the transmission and severity of the new variant (see: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1202-additional-omicron.html).  Initial findings indicate that fully vaccinated persons, including those who have received a booster will be protected against severe cases of Omicron infection.  This new variant enforces the need for wearing masks and avoiding crowded indoor areas.

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Board of Health Update, November 27, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 33% last week, for a weekly total of 29,740 new cases.  In the past week, new  cases in ages 0 to 19  increased by 33%, from 7075 to 9395, with new cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 33%, from 3471 to 4611..

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased to 771, up 17% from last week, with those in ICUs increasing from 132 to 156. Of the 771 hospitalized, 295 (38%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Cases continue to increase in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of November 27), Boxford had 17 new cases (703 total to date), Topsfield 14 new cases (580 to date), Middleton 75 new cases (1,869 to date) and Georgetown 45 new cases (860 to date).

As of 25 November, fully vaccinated individuals by Town:  Boxford, 76%; Topsfield 83%; Middleton 68% and Georgetown, 64%.  These totals do not include vaccinated children 11 years old or younger. The only data Mass DPH has released for 11 years and younger is a total of 25% vaccinated for the age group in Essex County.

In Boxford, vaccinated individuals by age group (as of November 27): 12-15 years old, 87%; 16-19, >95%; 20-29, >95%; 30-49, 88%; 50-64, 82%; 65-74, 83%; and 75+, 87%.

Due to the increasing number of new Covid cases in Massachusetts, and that those fully vaccinated can still be infected, the BOH has confirmed that it will keep its indoor masking Order in force. Studies continue to show that masking is an effective way to prevent catching or spreading Covid, with no proven detrimental health effects.

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Board of Health Update, November 19, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased by 26% last week, for a weekly total of 22,402 new cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 33%, 5,265 to 7,075, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increased by 30%, from 2,673 to 3,471. The highest number of new cases last week occurred in 20 to 39 year olds (44%).

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased to 657, up 9% from last week, with those in ICUs decreasing from 141 to 132. Of the 657 hospitalized, 239 (36%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Cases continue to increase in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of November 18), Boxford had 15 new cases (686 total to date), Topsfield 3 new cases (566 to date), Middleton 88 new cases (1,794 to date) and Georgetown 30 new cases (815 to date).

All Massachusetts residents 18 years and older are now able to receive a Covid booster shot. The booster increases resistance to Covid.  You can get the booster 6 months after your last Covid shot, and the booster does not have to be the same vaccine you received for your first shots.  You can find a location for a booster by going to vaxfinder.mass.gov.  For more information on the booster go to: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-booster-frequently-asked-ques....

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Board of Health Update, November 13, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases increased for the first time in 3 weeks by 10% last week, for a weekly total of 17,736 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 18% (as compared to a decrease of 8% last week), from 4,479 to 5,265, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds also increasing by 18%, from 2,257 to 2,673.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased to 527 from 509 last week, with those in ICUs decreasing from 147 to 141. Of the 527 hospitalized, 193 (37%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Cases are also increasing in Boxford and our neighboring towns. In the past week (as of 11 November), Boxford had 9 new cases (671 total to date), Topsfield 14 new cases (563 to date), Middleton 64 new cases (1,706 to date) and Georgetown 31 new cases (785 to date).

With the holidays approaching, the CDC has released guidelines for travelers. This includes being fully vaccinated. Masks are required in airports and on public transport including planes. Be sure to check state Covid requirements before you go. If you are not vaccinated, there are testing requirements.  For more information, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html.

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Board of Health Update, November 5,  2021

Statewide, new Covid cases again decreased by 6% last week, for a weekly total of 16,063 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19  decreased by 8% (as compared to a decrease of 7% last week), from 4856 to 4479, with new cases in 0 to 9 year olds decreasing by 4%, from 2350 to 2257.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid decreased from 528 to 509 with those in ICUs increasing from140 to 147. Of the 509 hospitalized, 168 (29%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

In the past week (as of November 4), Boxford had 5 new cases (662 total to date), Topsfield 7 new cases (549 to date), Middleton 21 new cases (1,642 to date) and Georgetown 32 new cases (754 to date).

This week, the FDA approved the use of the Covid vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. In our update last week, links were provided for more information on the vaccine in children.  New information from the CDC on vaccinating children can be viewed at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1102-PediatricCOVID-19Vaccine.html.

A new study in The Lancet, the British medical journal, has found that fully vaccinated persons who are reinfected with Covid have a 50% chance of developing long-haul Covid symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, numbness, hair loss, and loss of smell and taste, that can last from weeks to months. For the study, see: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00460-6/fulltext

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Board of Health Update, October 29, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased by 6% last week (as compared to a decrease of  2% last week), for a weekly  total of 17,081 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased by 7% (as compared to a decrease of 3% last week), from 5,233 to 4,856, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 5%, from 2,476 to 2,350.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid decreased slightly from  532 to 528 with those in ICUs slightly decreasing from 142 to140. Of the 528 hospitalized, 197 (37%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

In the past week (as of October 28), Boxford had 3 new cases (657 total to date), Topsfield 6 new cases (542 to date), Middleton 24 new cases (1,621 to date) and Georgetown 15 new cases (722 to date).

Approval for use of Covid-19 in children under 12 years old is pending and vaccination may be available in the next few weeks. To see the latest recommendations from the CDC, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/vaccines/recommendations/adolescents.htm

The American Pediatric Association also provides information to parents on Covid-19 vaccination for children. Go to:              

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/The-Science-Behind-the-COVID-19-Vaccine-Parent-FAQs.aspx.

 

Board of Health Update, October 22, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased by 2% last week (as compared to a decrease of 8% last week), to a total of 18,084 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased by 3% (as compared to a decrease of 10% last week), from 5,391 to 5,233, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 2%, from 2,532 to 2,476.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid decreased from 567 to 532 with those in ICUs showing no change with 142. Of the 532 hospitalized, 190 (36%) were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

In the past week (as of October 21), Boxford had 14 new cases (654 total to date), Topsfield 5 new cases (536 to date), Middleton 14 new cases (1,597 to date) and Georgetown 10 new cases (707 to date).

The percentage of new Covid cases during the past two weeks by age group was:

0-9 years, 23%; 10-19 years, 23%; 20-29 years, 19%; 40-59 years, 17%; 60-79 years, 12%; and 81 and over, 6%.  This shows that nearly half of all new Covid cases are now in children and young adults.

 

Board of Health Update, October 15, 2021

Statewide, new Covid cases decreased by 8% last week, to a total of 18,436 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased by 10%, from 5,977 to 5,391, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 4%, from 2,650 to 2,532.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased from 562 to 567 with those in ICUs decreasing from147 to 142. Of the 567 hospitalized, 207 were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

In the past week (as of October 14), Boxford had 7 new cases (640 total to date), Topsfield 4 new cases (531 to date), Middleton 22 new cases (1,583 to date) and Georgetown 7 new cases (697 to date).

Fully vaccinated persons by age group in Boxford:  12-15 years, 86%; 16-19, >95%; 20-29,  >95%; 30-49, 89%; 50-64, 80%; 65-74, 83%; 75+, 84%. Town wide, and including children under the age of 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated, the total number of fully vaccinated individuals is 75%.

 

Board of Health Update, October 8, 2021

New Covid cases decreased by 11% last week, to a total of 20,018 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 decreased by 10%, from 6,656 to 5,977, with new cases in 0- to 9-year-olds decreasing by 10%, from 2,950 to 2,650.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid decreased from 618 to 562 with those in ICUs decreasing from167 to 147. Of the 542 hospitalized, 173 were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

In the past week (as of October 7), Boxford had 5 new cases (633 total to date), Topsfield 3 new cases (527 to date), Middleton 30 new cases (1,561 to date) and Georgetown 15 new cases (690 to date).

The total number of vaccinated individuals (as of October 7) is Boxford, 75%, Topsfield, 81%, Middleton, 66%, and Georgetown 62%.

 

Board of Health Update, October 1, 2021

State wide, the rate of new Covid cases decreased by 3% last week, to a total of 22,445 cases.  In the past week, new cases in ages 0 to 19 increased by 2%, from 6,521 to 6,656, with new case 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 1% from 2,977 to 2,950.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased from 606 to 618 with those in ICUs slightly increasing from 165 to 167. Of the 618 hospitalized, 193 were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

Locally, in the past week (as of September 30), Boxford had 9 new cases (628 total to date), Topsfield 11 new cases (524 to date), Middleton 36 new cases (1,531 to date) and Georgetown 9 new cases (675 to date). For Boxford, our September 2021 total of 38 new Covid cases exceeds the 7 new cases we had in September 2020, at the beginning of the fall 2020 surge.

As of September 25, 2021, Mass DPH reported that there have been 36,723 total breakthrough cases to date in the state, (breakthrough means reinfection of already fully vaccinated persons). Of these, 1,155 required hospitalization with 254 deaths. In the week of September 18-25, of the 11,137 total Covid cases, 4,378 (39%) were breakthrough cases.

The CDC has released the results from two studies on masking in schools. The studies showed that school-associated Covid outbreaks in schools with no mask mandate resulted in 3.7 higher Covid case numbers. The CDC continues to recommend K-12 masking. See:

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Board of Health Update, September 24, 2021 

Covid cases continue to increase in Massachusetts, with the weekly total increasing 4% from 22,488 to 23,192 confirmed cases (last week was a 10% increase). In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 11%, from 5,872 to 6,521 with cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 9%, from 2,738 to 2,977. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 37% of all new Covid cases.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid decreased for the first time in weeks from 675 to 606 with those in ICUs decreasing from 173 to 165. Of the 606 hospitalized, 209 were fully vaccinated but still became infected. In the past week (as of September 23), Boxford has had 6 new cases (619 total to date), Topsfield 10 new cases (513 to date), Middleton 36 new cases (1,495 to date) and Georgetown 6 new cases (666 to date).  

CDC data reports that 98.4% of all new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are now due to the Delta variant (strain B.1.617.2) which has proved to be approximately twice as contagious and results in more serious illness, especially in unvaccinated persons. As shown above, fully vaccinated persons can still contract the Delta variant. Wearing masks and socially distancing remain principle ways to lesson your chance of infection from the Delta variant. See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant-info.html

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Board of Health Update, September 17, 2021

Covid cases continue to increase in Massachusetts, with the weekly total increasing by 10% from 20,596 to 22,488 confirmed cases, the same increase as last week.  In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 10%, from 5,095 to 5,872 with cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 11%, from 2,374 to 2,738. The highest incident group remains 20- to 39-year-olds, with 31% of all new Covid cases.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased from 622 to 675 with those in ICUs increasing from 166 to173. Of the 675 hospitalized, 215 were fully vaccinated but still became infected.

In the past week (as of September 16), Boxford has had 7 new cases (613 total to date), Topsfield 25 new cases (503 to date), Middleton 23 new cases (1,459 to date) and Georgetown 16 new cases (660 to date). The surge in our towns continues.

In Boxford, 74% of residents are fully vaccinate (95% of 12-15 and >95% of 16–19-year-olds, respectively), in Topsfield, 80% of residents are fully vaccinated (77% of 12-15 and 93% of 16–19-year-olds, respectively) and in Middleton, 64% of residents are fully vaccinated (62% of 12-15 and 76% of 16–19-year-olds, respectively).

 

Board of Health Update, September 10, 2021

Covid cases continue to surge in Massachusetts, with a two week total increasing by 8% from 19,031 to 20,596 confirmed cases, the same increase as last week.  In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 10%, from 4453 to 5095 with cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 11%, from 2,125 to 2,374. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 31% of all new Covid cases.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased from 595 to 622, with those in ICUs increasing from 158 to 166.

In the past week (as of September 9), Boxford has had 16 new cases (609 total to date), Topsfield 18 new cases (478 to date), Middleton 22 new cases (1,436 to date) and Georgetown 15 new cases (644 to date). This is the first week since last November when all towns had double digit increases in Covid cases.

In Boxford, 74% of residents are fully vaccinated (95% of 12-15 and >95% of 16-19 year olds, respectively), in Topsfield, 80% of residents are fully vaccinated (77% of 12-15 and 93% of 16-19 year olds, respectively) and in Middleton, 64% of residents are fully vaccinated (62% of 12-15 and 76% of 16-19 year olds, respectively).

 

Board of Health Update, September 3, 2021

Covid cases continue to surge in Massachusetts, with a two week total increasing by 8.5% from 17,535 to 19,031 confirmed cases, down from a 17% increase last week.  In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 14%, from 3,895 to 4453, with cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 12%, from 1,893 to 2125 as compared to a 17% increase last week. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 38% of all new Covid cases.
 
In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased by 5% from 565 to 595, with those in ICUs increasing from 143 to 158.
In the past week (as of September 2), Boxford has had 10 new cases (593 total to date), Topsfield 6 new cases (460 to date), Middleton 21 new cases (1,414 to date) and Georgetown 11 new cases (629 to date).
 
Given the increasing numbers of Covid cases in Boxford, your Board of Health issued a new emergency health Order last week mandating face masks in town and public indoor spaces.  This includes the Town Hall, Police Station, library, and retail establishments such as the East and West stores. The Board acted due to the increasing number of Covid cases in Boxford, and based on reputable scientific studies proving that masks decrease the risk of Covid transmission.

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Board of Health Update, 27 August 2021

Covid cases continue to surge in Massachusetts, with a two week total increasing by 17% from 14,941 to 17,535 confirmed cases, down from a 25% increase last week.  In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 22% from 3467 to 3,895, with cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 17% from 1,617 to 1,893 as compared to a 30% increase last week.. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 25% of all new Covid cases.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased by 67% from  339 to 565, with those in ICUs increasing from   to 94 to 143.

In the past week (as of 26 August), Boxford has had 7 new cases (583 total to date), Topsfield 4 new cases (454 to date), Middleton19 new cases (1,393 to date) and Georgetown 12 new cases (618 to date).

This week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, by a 9 to 1 vote, agreed to allow the Mass Education Commissioner to mandate masks for all students, grades K through 12, when inside schools, until at least 1 October. At that time, schools with 80% or more of students and staff vaccinated can lift the mask requirement except for any students still not vaccinated.  Given that the Covid vaccine is not approved for students under 12 years of age, elementary schools like Cole and Spofford Pond schools will need to enforce the mask mandate into the foreseeable future.

 

Board of Health Update, August 20, 2021.

Covid cases continue to surge in Massachusetts, with a two-week total increasing by 25% from 11,940 to 14,941 confirmed cases.  In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 27% from 2727 to 3467, with cases in 0- to 9-year-olds increasing by 30% from 1247 to 1617. The highest incident group remains 20- to 39-year-olds, with 25% of all new Covid cases.
 
In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased by 17% from 375 to 339, with those in ICUs increasing from 85 to 94.
 
In the past week (as of August 19), Boxford has had 12 new cases (576 total to date), Topsfield 3 new cases (450 to date), Middleton 9 new cases (1,374 to date) and Georgetown 9 new cases (606 to date).
 
As of August 19, we have 12 active Covid cases in Boxford. Of these, 7 are children, 6 under age 12 and 1 over age 12 and unvaccinated.
 
As Masconomet High School prepares to open, as of August 17, in Boxford, 77% ages 12 to 15 are fully vaccinated and 92% of ages 16-19, In Topsfield, 71% of 12 to 15 and 96% of 16 to 19 years. In Middleton, 56% of 12-15 years and 72% of 16-19 years.
 
Many peer-reviewed scientific papers are being published attesting to the effectiveness of masks against contracting or transmitting Covid-19.  These are scientific and clinical studies based on actual data and findings, not simply personal opinions.  An excellent review of many studies that show mask effectiveness can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association at

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Board of Health Update, August 13, 2021

Covid cases continue to surge in Massachusetts, with a two week total increasing by 44% from 8,275 to 11,940 confirmed cases.  In the past week, cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 50% from 1819 to 2727, with cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 52% from 822 to 1247. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 43% of all new Covid cases.

In the past week, hospitalizations for Covid increased by 42% from 264 to 375, with those in ICUs increasing from 74 to 85.

In the past week (as of August 12), Boxford has had 5 new cases (564 total to date), Topsfield 5 new cases (447 to date), Middleton 9 new cases (1,365 to date) and Georgetown 4 new cases (597 to date).

Covid clusters are locations where two or more cases have occurred within 14 days. In the period from July 11 to August 7, 2341 total clusters of Covid have occurred in Massachusetts.  These include 2,157 in households, 37 in restaurants and food outlets, 35 in child care centers, 12 in organized athletics and camps, and 6 in K-12 schools. For more information go to: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-interactive-data-dashboard-.

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Board of Health Update, August 6, 2021

Covid cases continue to surge in Massachusetts, with a two week total increasing by 65% from 5,005 to 8,275 confirmed cases.  Cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased by 73% from 1,047 to 1819, with cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing by 71% from 482 to 822. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 44% of all new Covid cases.

As of August 4th, 264 Covid cases are hospitalized with 74 in ICUs.

In the past week (as of 5 August), Boxford has had 5 new cases (559 total to date), Topsfield 3 new cases (442 to date), Middleton 5 new cases (1,356 to date) and Georgetown 6 new cases (593 to date).

As of August 3rd, a total of 72% of Boxford residents age 12 and over are fully vaccinated. In our young people, 74% of ages 12 to 15 and 89% of ages 16-19 are fully vaccinated. The total of fully vaccinated in Topsfield is 78%, in Middleton 62%, and in Georgetown 59%. See: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-data-and-updates#weekly-covid-19-vaccination-dashboard-

Fully vaccinated individuals who are reinfected with Covid are break through cases, usually infected with the Delta variant. As of July 31, 2021, Mass DPH reports a total of  7,737 break through cases (0.18% of fully vaccinated persons) with 395 hospitalizations and 100 deaths (0.002% of fully vaccinated persons). See:  https://www.mass.gov/doc/daily-covid-19-vaccine-report-august-3-2021/download.

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Board of Health Update, July 30, 2021

Covid cases have nearly doubled in Massachusetts during the past week, with a two week total rising from 2,561 to 5,005 confirmed cases.  Cases in ages 0 to 19 have increased from 552 to 1,047, with cases in 0 to 9 year olds increasing from 259 to 482. The highest incident group remains 20 to 39 year olds, with 45% of all new Covid cases.

In the past week (as of July 29), Boxford has had 2 new cases (554 total to date), Topsfield 5 new cases (439 to date), Middleton 3 new cases (1,351 to date) and Georgetown 4 new cases (587 to date).  The number of new cases this week is similar to those we were seeing in August 2020 just before the fall surge started.

The CDC has changed its position on wearing masks now recommending that masks be worn indoors in areas of high Covid incidence, and for those at risk, even if vaccinated.  Full details at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html. CDC is also recommending non-vaccinated students wear masks when returning to school. Details at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-.... The BOH is making no changes at this time for mask requirements.

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Board of Health Update, July 23, 2021

Covid cases continue to rise in Massachusetts although not at the surge levels being seen in many states where vaccination rates are low.

In the past week (as of July 22), Boxford has had 1 new case (552 total to date), Topsfield no new cases (434 to date), Middleton 1 new case (1348 to date) and Georgetown 1 new case (583 to date). 

Of the 2561 new cases of Covid in Massachusetts during the last 2 weeks, the number in children ages 0 to 19 has increased from 208 to 552, or 21% of all new cases. This includes 239 cases, or 9.3% of all cases, in children ages 0 to 9 years. The highest surge of 1594 cases  (44% of all cases) remains in adults ages 20 to 39.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recommendation that all students and staff returning to school this year wear masks, whether vaccinated or not. The CDC is evaluating its opinion on this recommendation.

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Board of Health Update, July 16, 2021

Covid is still with us as a surge continues especially in states and areas of the country with low vaccination rates. The Delta variant is twice as virulent as the original Alpha variant, and causes a more severe form of Covid, increasing hospitalizations.

From the weeks of June 10 through July 1, Boxford, Topsfield, Middleton and Georgetown had no new Covid cases.  In the past two weeks (as of 15 July), Boxford has had 3 new cases (551 total to date), Topsfield 2 new cases (434 to date), Middleton 1 new case (1347 to date) and Georgetown 2 new cases (582 to date). 

Of the 1008 new cases of Covid in Massachusetts during the last 2 weeks, 208 or 9% are in children ages 0 to 19, including 94 under the age of 9. The highest surge of 358 cases (36%) is in adults ages 20 to 39.

Vaccinated provides protection against the new Delta variant, with ‘breakthrough cases’ (fully vaccinated persons being infected with Covid) at around 0.1%, usually with mild symptoms. With the new surge, it becomes more imperative everyone 12 years or older to be vaccinated. This is especially important to protect children under 12 years old who cannot be vaccinated.

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Board of Health Update, June 4, 2021

 
Boxford added no new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of June 3 remains at 548. Boxford remains at level 1 (grey) this week in state rankings.
 
As of June 3, our neighboring towns have all remained at level 1 (grey in state rankings.). Topsfield added no new cases and remains at a total of 432, Middleton added 2 new cases and a total of 1,346 cases, Georgetown added no new cases and remains at a total of 580.
 
While we still need to be cautious as many people still need to be vaccinated, the case results over the past month indicate we have moved out of the Covid surge and toward resuming our normal lives.  If all goes to plan, the state of emergency in Massachusetts will be lifted on June 15.
 
This will be the last weekly update by your BOH for the immediate future.  We hope that we do not have to resume updates in the future.
 
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Board of Health Update, May 28, 2021

Boxford added 1 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of May 28 is now 548. Boxford remains at level 1 (grey) this week in state rankings. 

As of May 28, our neighboring towns have all remained at level 1 (grey in state rankings). Topsfield added 2 new cases for a total of 432, Middleton added 7 new cases and remains at a total of 1,344 cases, Georgetown added 2 new cases for a total of 580.

As we move out of the pandemic surge, there is some confusion about the changes in masks and distancing beginning today. All persons fully vaccinated do not need to wear face masks or socially distance except on public transportation and health care settings, or where specific state or local regulations remain in effect.  Those not fully vaccinated must continue to wear face masks and socially distance in public places indoors or outdoors. For a full explanation of the regulations, go to https://www.mass.gov/doc/updated-advisory-regarding-face-coverings-may-1... .

In Boxford, your BOH voted to remove our face mask Order of May 2, 2020, as of May 28. Our Order of June 15, 2020, placing a moratorium on evictions and limiting real estate activities will be lifted on June 15, 2021.

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Board of Health Update, May 21, 2021

Boxford added 3 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of May 20 is now 547. Boxford has dropped from level 2 (green) to level 1 (grey) this week in state rankings. 

As of May 20, our neighboring towns are all at level 1 (grey in state rankings.). Topsfield added 2 new cases for a total of 430, Middleton added no new cases and remains at a total of 1,337 cases, Georgetown added 3 new cases for a total of 578.

Covid vaccination is working. The weekly state report on vaccinations reports that for ages 12 and up, 69% of all Boxford residents have had at least one Covid shot, and 57% of all residents are fully vaccinated as of May 20. The data can be accessed at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-dat....

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Board of Health Update, May 14, 2021

Boxford added 6 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of May 13th is now 544. Boxford has dropped from level 3 (yellow) to level 2 (green) this week in state rankings.

As of May 13th, Topsfield added 6 new cases for a total of 428, and remains at level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 2 new cases for a total of 1,337 cases, and moved down from level 2 (green) to level 1 (grey)) in state rankings. Georgetown added 6 new cases for a total of 575 and moved down from level 3 (yellow) to level 2 (green).

The CDC has announced recommendations that face masks are no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people (fully vaccinated is defined as 2 weeks after your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single shot of the J&J vaccine). Keep in mind this is only a recommendation. Current face mask regulations remain in effect in Massachusetts including wearing a mask when indoors in public places and at gatherings both indoors and outdoors. For more information see:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/mask-up-massachusetts.

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Board of Health Update, May 7, 2021

Boxford added 8 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of May 6, is now 538. Boxford remains at level 3 (yellow) this week in state rankings.
 
As of May 6, Topsfield added 7 new cases for a total of 422, and remains at level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 3 new cases for a total of 1,335 cases, and moved down from level 3 (yellow) to level 2 (green) in state rankings. Georgetown added 8 new cases for a total of 569 and remains at level 3 (yellow).
 
Starting Monday, May 10, the six state vaccination sites as well as CVS and Walgreens, will allow walk-ins for Covid vaccinations for anyone 18 years or older. Check the CVS and Walgreens websites for locations offering vaccinations. For a full list of vaccination sites go to: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-currently-eligible-recipients-pdf/download. You may still want to make an appointment.
 
Confusion remains about when and where to wear a mask.  CLICK HERE for a summary from the CDC.
 

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Board of Health Update, April 30, 2021

Boxford added 4 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of April 30th is now 530. Boxford remains at level 3 (yellow) this week in state rankings.

As of April 30thTopsfield added 3 new cases for a total of 415, and remains at level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 9 new cases for a total of 1,332 cases, and moved up from level 2 (green) to level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 13 new cases for a total of 561 and remains at level 3 (yellow).

Governor Baker issued an Order effective April 30, 2021 requiring people to wear masks or face-coverings in indoor public places and outdoors only when they are unable to maintain 6 feet from other people. Face coverings continue to be required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home, except for when eating or drinking.  At smaller gatherings in private homes, face coverings are recommended but not required.

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Board of Health Update, April 23, 2021

Boxford added 9 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of April 22nd is now 526. Boxford has moved up to level 3 (yellow) this week in state rankings.

As of April 22nd Topsfield added 5 new cases for a total of 412, and remains at level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 5 new cases for a total of 1,323 cases, and has dropped from level 3 (yellow) to level 2 (green) in state rankings. Georgetown added 8 new cases for a total of 548 and remains at level 3 (yellow).

The majority of new Covid-19 cases in Massachusetts are now occurring in persons under 40 years of age. Of 24,012 positive cases in the last 2 weeks, ages 0 to 9 had 11% of all cases; ages 10-19, 17%; ages 20-29, 21%, ages 30 to 39, 17%, ages 40-49, 12%; ages 50-59, 12%; and ages 60+, 10%.. For additional details go to:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-interactive-data-dashboard-.

Everyone over the age of 16 can now be vaccinated.  Get vaccinated and help us defeat the virus.

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Board of Health Update, April 16, 2021

Boxford added 13 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of April 15th is now 517. Boxford remains at level 2 (green) in state rankings. 

As of April 15th Topsfield added 3 new cases for a total of 407, and remains at level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 7 new cases for a total of 1,318 cases, and remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 11 new cases for a total of 540 and remains at level 3 (yellow).

As of Monday, 19 April, everyone in Massachusetts over the age of 16 becomes eligible to receive the Covid vaccine.  Parents should take note that only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA for use in 16 and 17 year olds.  The Moderna and J&J vaccines are approved for use in all persons 18 years and above. For a general discussion of the Covid vaccine in children, go to https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and%20treatments/conditions/c/coronavirus/vaccine.

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Board of Health Update, April 9, 2021

Boxford added 4 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of April 8 is now 504. Boxford has dropped from level 3 (yellow) to level 2 (green) in state rankings.
 
As of April 8, Topsfield added 3 new cases for a total of 404, and remains at level 1 (grey)  in state rankings. Middleton added 16 new cases for a total of 1,311 cases, and remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 13 new cases for a total of 529 and  has moved up from level 2 (green) to level 3 (yellow)
 
Eligibility for vaccinations continues to expand. As of last Monday (April 5), individuals 16 or older with one or more eligible medical conditions can now schedule a vaccination. Medical conditions include being overweight or obese, smoking, and diabetes. For a complete list go to:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccinations-for-individuals-with-certain-medical-conditions#eligibility-.

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Board of Health Update, April 2, 2021

Boxford added 4 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of April 1st is now 497. Boxford remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings.

As of April 1st Topsfield added 3 new cases for a total of 401, and remains at level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 15 new cases for a total of 1,295 cases, and remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 9 new cases for a total of 516 and has moved down from level 3 to level 2 (green)

Vaccinations: everyone in Phase 1, individuals age 75 and older, individuals age 60 and older, individuals with 2+ certain medical conditions, residents and staff of low income and affordable senior housing, K-12 educators, K-12 school staff, and child care workers, and certain workers are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine now. For more information go to: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information#continue-to-stop-the-spread-

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Board of Health Update, March 26, 2021

Boxford added 12 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of March 25th is now 493. Boxford remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. 

As of March 25th, Topsfield added 3 new cases for a total of 398, and has moved down from level 2 to level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 15 new cases for a total of 1,282 cases, and remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 8 new cases for a total of 507 and remains at level 3.

Covid-19 variants (mutations) are a growing concern in containing the pandemic. The highly infections UK variant is spreading in Massachusetts. Small case numbers of the Brazil and South Africa variants have also been detected in the state. Thus far, it appears that the vaccines approved in the U.S. are protective against the variants, but this is not certain and studies continue.. All residents, including those vaccinated, are still urged to continue wearing masks, avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing.  For more information on variants go to:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html .

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Board of Health Update, March 19, 2021

Boxford added 7 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of March 18th is now 481. Boxford stayed at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings.

As of March 18th, Topsfield added 1 new case for a total of 395, and has moved down from level 3 to level 2 (green)  in state rankings. Middleton added 16 new cases for a total of 1,267 cases, and moved up from level 2 to level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 7 new cases for a total of 499 and remains at level 3.

The CDC has reported the results from a study on receiving the second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine.  Data from over 14 million fully vaccinated subjects showed that 95.6% completed the 2-shot series within the recommended period after the first shot (26 to 42 days for Pfizer-BioNTech,  33-42 days for Moderna).  A small percentage of subjects received their second shot after 42 days, but at this time CDC does not recommend starting the series again. You can access the full study at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7011e2.htm.

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Board of Health Update, March 12, 2021

Boxford added 18 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of March 11th is now 474. Boxford moved up this week from level 2 to level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. 

As of March 11th, Topsfield added 11 new cases for a total of 394, and has moved up from level 1 to level 3 (yellow)  in state rankings. Middleton added 3 new cases for a total of 1,251 cases, and dropped from level 3 to level 2 (green) in state rankings. Georgetown added 12 new cases for a total of 492 and remains at level 3.

The CDC has released new guidelines for those fully vaccinated for Covid-19. A person receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving their second shot of the same vaccine, or 2 weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson single shot.. At that point, you may visit other fully vaccinated people indoors, without masks and without distancing, or people not vaccinated but in your household.  In public, however, you should still wear a mask and observe distancing in public and in gatherings.  For more details, go to:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

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Board of Health Update, March 5, 2021

Boxford added 5 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of March 4th is now 456. Boxford has dropped from Level 3 to 2 (green) in state rankings. Our trend downward continues from the December-January peak.

As of March 4th, Topsfield added 13 new cases for a total of 383, and has moved up from  level 1 to level 2 (green)  in state rankings. Middleton added 9 new cases for a total of 1,248 cases, and remains at level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 4 new cases for a total of 480 and remains at level 3.

For those fortunate enough to have received the Covid vaccine, precautions still need to be taken. According to the CDC, we still don’t know whether vaccinated persons can still contract Covid. Such people could become carriers of the virus, passing it on to the unvaccinated. If you are vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask and observe distancing.  For the CDC guidance, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html

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Board of Health Update, February 26, 2021

Boxford added 9 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of February 25th is now 451. Boxford has dropped from Level 4 to 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Our trend downward continues from the December-January peak.

Our neighboring towns also continue a downward trend in cases.  As of February 25th, Topsfield added no new cases to remain at a total of 370, and remains at  level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 14 new cases for a total of 1,239 cases, and remains at  level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added 15 new cases for a total of 476 and has also dropped from level 4 to level 3.

As Covid cases trend downward, please continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings.  The holidays in November and December proved how relaxing these practices can result in a case surge. Vaccination of most residents in Boxford and surrounding towns will not be achieved until June at the earliest.  Until then, even if you have been vaccinated, we need to keep our guard up.

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Public Health Informational Video about the Danvers-Middleton Mass Vaccination Site

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B4eoZ5s9uMQjJZ20brUWxkiPlh6WjNUy/view?fbclid=IwAR3CQwNJ_KS8gRUmF4jYWqRMouTbMPaNZmW6yQ5UOCbpGPfAmWfMtBl2mZA

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Board of Health Update, February 19, 2021

Boxford added 11 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of February 18th is now 442. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings. We are trending down from our high totals in December and January.

As of February 18th, Topsfield added 7 new cases for a total of 370, and has dropped from level 2 to level 1 (grey) in state rankings. Middleton added 20 new cases for a total of 1,225 cases, and dropped to level 3 (yellow) in state rankings. Georgetown added13 new cases for a total of 461 and remains at Level 4.

Your BOH received a letter this week from Secretary Marylou Sudders, Health and Human Services.  Essentially, no vaccines are to be allocated for the present to local Boards of Health.  Our plans for Boxford clinics are now on indefinite hold.  We also are concerned about vaccinations for homebound seniors. Secretary Sudders promises a plan to vaccinate the Homebound ‘…which will launch in the coming weeks.’  She also asks Boards of Health to ‘…organize vaccination of homebound residents.’  We have a plan in place to do so, but we can’t do it without vaccine. We can only wait and hope for a solution from the Governor and Ms. Sudders.

Our COA is willing to offer vaccine appointment assistance through the maze of the vaccine website. Please remember that there are many residents who have little or no computer skills and the COA staff is working diligently to find appointments for these people. The COA staff understands the frustration you feel but they are feeling it tenfold as they try to make appointments. They ask for patience – we will get through this together.

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Board of Health Update, February 12, 2021

Boxford added 16 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of February 11 is now 431. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings.

As of February 11, Topsfield added 5 new cases for 363, and has dropped from level 4 to level 2 (green) in state rankings. Middleton added 23 new cases for a total of 1,205 cases, and Georgetown added 23 new cases for a total of 448. Both towns remain at Level 4.

Your BOH realizes that making an appointment for and receiving the Covid vaccine can be a frustrating experience.  We had planned to hold clinics in Boxford once the vaccine was available, and the DPH had indicated in December that local Boards would receive vaccine.  DPH has changed its mind and local Boards are now at the bottom of the list to receive vaccine. We’re still trying, but meeting a brick wall. For a list of current vaccination sites and contact information see https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations . You can also try calling 211 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to make an appointment.

The CDC has released the results of new studies on wearing face masks during the Covid pandemic. New recommendations include wearing a fitted cloth mask over a surgical mask to improve the fit of the masks and increase protection for the wearer and those around the wearer. Key is that a masks or masks fit tightly to your face. For more information, go to:https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7007e1.htm.

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Board of Health Update, February 5, 2021

Boxford added 15 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of February 4th is now 415. While Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings, cases are trending down similar to most towns in the state.

The downward trend is also seen in our neighboring towns. As of February 4th, Topsfield added 8 new cases for 358 total cases. Middleton added 34 new cases for a total of 1,182 cases.  Georgetown added 19 new cases for a total of 429. All three towns remain at Level 4.

A new study was published this week in Science, a highly respected international scientific journal. The study gathered Covid-19 information from over 10 million individuals in the U.S. Looking at Covid transmission since October 2020 when the current surge began, it was determined that 72.2% Covid transmission was from those individuals ages 20 to 49 years. The transmission rate from children ages 0 to 8 was 2.7%, and 7.1% from those 10 to 19 years old.  The remaining 18% transmission was from those 50 years and older. The article can be accessed at: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2021/02/01/science.abe8372

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Board of Health Update, January 29, 2021

Boxford added 30 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of January 28th is now 400. The number of new cases in December and January are the highest in the pandemic and at 145 and 134, respectively, account for 70% of all cases since the pandemic began.. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings.

In our neighboring towns, as of January 28th, Topsfield added 20 new cases for 350 total cases. Middleton added 49 new cases for a total of 1,148 cases.  Georgetown added 30 new cases for a total of 410  All three towns remain at Level 4.

Phase 2 of the Governor’s vaccination plan begins Monday, February 1st.  The first group in Phase 2, those age 75 and over, will begin receiving their first vaccine shot next week.  Your Board has been working with the Council on Aging in trying to help Seniors secure appointments.  We realize the frustration of trying to use the on-line system set up by the State. Boxford has not yet received any vaccine, so we cannot hold clinics as we hoped. Your only choice is to try to get an appointment at those sites that will have vaccine. You can find a list of vaccination sites at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations-for-individuals-in-eligible-groups-and-phases#find-a-location-to-get-vaccinated-if-eligible-.  Scroll down to ‘Find a Location’ and click ‘Covid 19 Vaccination Locations’.

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Board of Health Update - January 27, 2021  
  
COVID 19 VACCINE INFORMATION UPDATE! Boxford Residents, your Health Department is working around the clock on COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Planning.  When your time comes, your first choice for vaccination should be with the State’s high capacity vaccination sites, like the one at the Double Tree Hotel in Middleton/Danvers.  Please be patient.  We know people are anxious and desire to get the vaccine. 
 
The Board of Health plans to have a local vaccination site at some point, several weeks in the future, subject to the Town’s access to the vaccine, for those that cannot avail themselves of the State sites.  However, If you are able, registering for one of the State sites such as the mega vaccination site in Danvers, should be your FIRST option as any future Boxford clinic will be delayed and will likely be limited to homebound seniors, disabled individuals, elderly and frail individuals, etc.  If you are over 75 and need help scheduling an appointment at a state site please contact the Council on Aging for assistance.

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Board of Health Update, January 22, 2021

The Covid-19 surge continues. Boxford added 29 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of January 21st is now 370. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings.

In our neighboring towns, as of January 21st, Topsfield added 20 new cases for 330 total cases. Middleton added 70 new cases for a total of 1,099 cases.  Georgetown added 38 new cases for a total of 380. All three towns remain at Level 4.

The extent of the surge in Boxford is shown by the monthly case number.  In April and May of last year, when the state was in lock down, both months recorded 14 cases of Covid-19, the highest monthly totals from April to September.  In November last year, we recorded 40 cases. In December, 145 cases. To date in January, 96 cases. Of the total number of Covid cases to date (370), there were 275 cases from November 28th to January 21st, or 74% of all cases since April have occurred during this 9 week period.

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Board of Health Update, January 15, 2021

We remain in the surge from holiday activities last month. Boxford added 16 new Covid-19 cases this week. Our case total as of January 14th is now is 341. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings. 

In our neighboring towns, as of January 14th, Topsfield added 34 new cases for 310 total cases. Middleton added 60 new cases for a total of 1,029 cases.  Georgetown added 35 new cases for a total of 342.  All three towns remain at Level 4.

The BOH posted an update to vaccination timelines this week. Please scroll down to see it.  Vaccine distribution is behind schedule in Massachusetts and, as a result, it is likely that Phase 2 of the Governor’s vaccination plan will not start until late February at the earliest. Your BOH and COA together with our contracted nursing organization, the VNA, have our plan in place, and we are working to complete lists of those who will be vaccinated in the first group of Phase 2. We will keep you informed of any developments at the state level.

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Board of Health Update 1/13/21
 
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
Phase 1 of the Governor’s plan is ongoing and vaccinates health care workers who come in contact with patients, first responders, police, fire fighters, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, etc.  The BOH is not involved with Phase 1 and has no authority to order a vaccination for persons in Phase 1.
 
Phase 2 is projected to begin no sooner than mid-February and more likely not until March. The first group in this phase will be persons 75 years and over, and persons (any age) with two comorbidities. Comorbidities include cancer, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, et al. see: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/image?imageKey=ID%2F127477&topicKey=ID%2F128323&source=see_link
 
Groups 2, 3 and 4 of Phase 2 include other workers in contact with the public, persons 65 years and older, and persons with one comorbidity (any age). See: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/when-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccine#phase-2-
 
At this point in time, in Phase 2, we believe that individual towns will receive and administer the vaccine to their residents under the authority of the Board of Health. The Board will coordinate clinics and appointments for vaccination. This may change if the state decides to establish mass vaccination sites. Currently, the DPH has not announced a  plan for vaccine distribution in Phases 2 and 3.
 
Updates from the BOH on emerging or changing plans for vaccinations will be posted on the Town website home page and facebook.
 
Boxford residents with two comorbidities may call the BOH office to register for vaccination. You must give your name, address, contact number, age, and identify the two comorbidities you have.
 
Seniors 75 years and over are already on a list maintained by the COA. There is no need to call the BOH or COA.
 
Please do not call the BOH or COA at this time unless you are in group 1 of Phase 2.  We will inform residents when other groups should register.

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Board of Health Update, January 7, 2021

The expected surge from holiday activities and travel is here. Boxford added 56 new Covid-19 cases this week, the highest weekly total since the pandemic was declared. Our case total as of January 6th is now is 325 with 25 in isolation and 300 in recovery. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings. 

In our neighboring towns, as of January 6th, Topsfield added 10 new cases for 276 total cases. Middleton added 64 new cases for a total of 969 cases.  Georgetown added 32 new cases for a total of 307.  All three towns remain at Level 4.

This week, Governor Baker added those residents 75 years or older to Group 1 of Phase 2 of his plan for Covid vaccination. The first group also includes persons of any age  with two or more listed medical conditions (comorbidities). Groups 2 through 4 in Phase 2 are: certain critical education and other workers, all adults 65 and older, and individuals of any age with one comorbidity (for a list of comorbidity conditions go to  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-...). Phase 3 of the Governor’s Plan is projected to start in April and includes all other residents.

At this point in time, your BOH, with the help of the COA, is planning for clinics which we hope can begin in mid-February. That can change depending on when the vaccine is received or if the state decides to hold centralized clinics.

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Board of Health Update, December 31, 2020

The surge in Covid-19 cases continues in Boxford and neighboring towns. As of December 30th, we added 18 new cases this past week for a total to date of 269 cases. Of our cases, 48 are in isolation and 221 cases in recovery. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings. 

In our neighboring towns, as of December 29, Topsfield added 24 new cases for 266 total cases. Middleton added 82 new cases for a total of 905 cases.  Georgetown added 29 new cases for a total of 275.  All three towns remain at Level 4.

If you traveled out of Massachusetts for the holidays, you are subject to state law governing your return.  You must submit an on-line Massachusetts Travel Form, and you must quarantine for 10 days from your return unless you have proof of a negative Covid-19 test you had within 72 hours prior to your return to Massachusetts. You can be fined $500 for failure to fill out the travel form or quarantine. Details are at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order .

Massachusetts is recording the highest rates of Covid-19 deaths and new cases since the pandemic began. It is predicted the surge will continue and increase because of holiday travel and gatherings.  Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director, has recommended that if you did travel or attend a large gathering over the holidays, stay home and self-quarantine for at least 10 days. Don’t visit others or attend gatherings inside or outdoors. If you do go out, remember your mask.

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Board of Health Update, December 24, 2020

The surge in Covid-19 cases continues in Boxford and neighboring towns. As of December 24, we added 29 new cases this past week for a total to date of 251 cases. Of our cases, 48 are in isolation and 203 cases in recovery. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings.

In our neighboring towns, as of December 22, Topsfield added 26 new cases for 242 total cases. Middleton added 123 new cases for a total of 823 cases.  Georgetown added 26 new cases for a total of 246.  All three towns remain at Level 4.

Your BOH has released a tentative plan for receiving and administrating the Covid-19 vaccine (scroll down for Vaccine update). At the earliest, we will receive vaccine in February, and follow Phase 2 of  the Governor’s plan. The order to receive the vaccine in this phase will be individuals with two or more listed medical conditions (comorbidities), certain critical education and other workers, all adults over 65, and individuals with one comorbidity (for a list of comorbidity conditions go to  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html).  

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Board of Health Update, December 24, 2020 - VACCINE UPDATE

This is an update from your Board of Health on developments on the status of the Covid-19 vaccine.  At this point in time, we have no details when vaccination of Boxford residents will start. The Governor’s phased vaccination program has started. We are in phase 1 of the plan where the vaccine is limited to health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities and first responders, and is administered by hospitals, clinics, CVS, and Walgreens.

Phase 2 of the Governor’s plan is projected to start in February at the earliest. The order to receive the vaccine in this phase will be individuals with two or more listed medical conditions (comorbidities), certain critical education and other workers, all adults over 65, and individuals with one comorbidity (for a list of comorbidity conditions go to  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html). Phase 3 of the Governor’s Plan is projected to start in April and includes all other residents.

Your BOH is working with your COA and our contracted nursing organization (the VNA) to obtain and administer the vaccine when we begin Phase 2.  Boxford has received approval as a Massachusetts Covid-19 Vaccine Provider making us eligible to receive the vaccine when it is available. We are now compiling lists of residents who meet the Phase 2 guidelines. When we know we are receiving the vaccine, we will set dates for clinics and make appointments for vaccinations.

You will see or hear conflicting information to the Governor’s Plan about who should receive the vaccine first and when.  The Federal Government (including the CDC) has left distribution and administration of the vaccine to each state. At this point in time, the Boxford BOH will follow the Governor’s Plan.  There may be changes as more vaccine becomes available.  We will keep you informed of such changes.

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Board of Health Update, December 18, 2020

The surge in Covid-19 cases continues in Boxford and neighboring towns, with the highest number of weekly new cases in Boxford recorded since the pandemic began. As of December 18, we added 47 new cases this past week for a total of 222 cases. Of our cases, 42 are in isolation and 180 cases are in recovery. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings.

In our neighboring towns, as of December 17, Topsfield added 27 new cases for 216 total cases. Middleton added 124 new cases for a total of 700 cases.  Georgetown added 25 new cases for a total of 220.  All three towns are now at Level 4.

The high number of new Covid-19 cases in Boxford may reflect the expected surge after Thanksgiving. We face a similar surge with the December holidays. Mass DPH has released a set of guidelines for the December holidays. These include limiting gatherings to your immediate family, virtual visits and caroling, viewing outside decorations from your car, and monitoring yourself and family members for fever and other Covid symptoms 10 days before and 10 days after attending a holiday gathering. The guidelines can be viewed at: https://www.mass.gov/news/december-holiday-guidance .

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Board of Health Update, December 11, 2020

The surge in Covid-19 cases continues  in Boxford and neighboring towns. As of December 10th, we have 175 cases, an increase from last week of 18 cases. Of our cases, 24 are in isolation and 151 cases in recovery. Boxford remains at Level 4 (highest, red) in state rankings.

In our neighboring towns, as of December 10th, Topsfield added 24 new cases for 189 total cases, and has moved from level 3 to level 4. Middleton added 97 new cases for a total of 576 cases and remains at level 4. Georgetown added 25 new cases for a total of 195 and remains at level 4.

Free Covid-19 testing is being offered by the Town on Saturday, December 19th, Please preregister at: https://link.edgepilot.com/s/098ed0ef/aCZRxd-cf0ezMWJenYP5aQ?u=http://cataldoambulance.com/covid-testing/ to help us scale the event as needed to better serve our community.

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Board of Health Update, December 4, 2020

Covid-19 cases continue to grow at the highest rate in Boxford since the pandemic began. As of December 1st, DPH reports Boxford with 139, and we remain at level 4 (red, highest).  In fact, as of today, December 4th, we have 157 cases, an increase from last week of 33 cases. Of our cases, 38 are in isolation and 119 cases in recovery.  Since November 18th, 11 new cases are students, with a cluster at Spofford Pond School.

In our neighboring towns, as of December 1st, Topsfield added 16 new cases for 165 total cases, and has moved from level 2 to level 3. Middleton added 50 new cases for a total of 479 cases and remains at level 4. Georgetown added 29 new cases for a total of 170 and remains at level 4. 

Consider a plan for your household should someone show signs of Covid-19. Involve all members of your household in making and agreeing to the plan, both adults and children. Start with obvious choices, like having everyone wear masks inside as soon as anyone shows symptoms. If someone is tested, don’t wait to put your plan in effect until the test results come back. Can the affected person be isolated in a room or area in your house?  If so, work out how that person will receive food and be cared for. Who will be the principal care-giver?  What if that care-giver needs to be isolated?  Who will leave the house for groceries or prescriptions?  Most likely if you have a positive case in your home, any children will need to be quarantined for 14 days.  How will they be kept occupied?  We assume they will attend school at-home. See additional guidelines at: https://www.mass.gov/news/stay-at-home-advisory.

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Board of Health Update, November 28, 2020

Covid-19 cases are growing at the highest rate in Boxford since the pandemic began. This week’s DPH report lists Boxford with 115 cases, an increase of 20 cases from last week. In fact, as of today, we have 124 cases, an increase from last week of 29 cases. The difference is due to DPH numbers stopping on 25 November. Of our cases, 23 are in isolation and 101 cases in recovery.  Of new cases in Boxford, 6 are students. Of the remaining, most are occurring in multiples in residences and, in one case, a group home.

Boxford has been moved by DPH from level 2 to level 4 (red, highest) for Covid-19 incidence.

In our neighboring towns, as of November 27, Topsfield added 8 new cases for 149 total cases, and has moved from level 1 to level 2. Middleton added 27 new cases for a total of 429 cases and has moved from level 3 to level 4. Georgetown added 15 new cases for a total of 141 and moved from level 3 to level 4.

We are in a critical phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Please follow in-place requirements for masks at all times outside your home and immediate family, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings of any kind.

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Board of Health Update, November 20, 2020

Covid-19 cases continue to spike in Boxford and surrounding towns. Boxford added 9 cases of Covid-19 this week, bringing our total cases to 95. Of these cases, 12 are in isolation and 83 cases in recovery. For the second straight week, this is the highest number of new cases in Boxford since the pandemic began.

In our neighboring towns, as of November 18, Topsfield added 3 new cases for 141 total cases, Middleton added 23 new cases for a total of 402 cases, and Georgetown added 15 new cases for a total of 126. 

Boxford remains classified at level 2 (highest is 4) for risk of Covid-19. Georgetown and Middleton have moved up from level 2 to Level 3. Topsfield remains at level 1.

Over the past two weeks, 30,439 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the state. The age distribution of these cases is:  0 to 19, 17%; 20 to 29, 22%; 30 to 39, 17%; 40 to 59, 28%; and 60 to 80+, 16%. Full details can be accessed at https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-november-19-2020/download.

Mass DPH has released updated requirements for quarantine for those exposed to a person with Covid-19. While the quarantine period is still 14 days, if you have no symptoms and have a genetic (PCR) test on day 8 of your quarantine that is negative, you may come out of quarantine on day 10. You must then continue to monitor for Covid symptoms for the full 14 days.  The updated quarantine order can be viewed at https://www.mass.gov/media/2208931/download.

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Board of Health Update, November 13, 2020

Covid-19 cases continue to spike in Boxford and surrounding towns. Boxford added 9 cases of Covid-19 this week, bringing our total cases to 86. Of these cases, 10 are in isolation and  76 cases in recovery. This is the highest number of new cases in Boxford since the pandemic began. Of the last 12 Covid cases in Boxford, the age range is 2 to 68 years.  This breaks down to 2 to 20 yrs, 5 cases; 21 to 40 yrs, 4 cases; and over 40 yrs, 3 cases. Of the 12 cases, 6 are clustered in 2 homes, 3 per home.

In our neighboring towns, as of November 12, Topsfield added 4 new cases for 138 total cases, Middleton added 4 new cases for a total of 379 cases, and Georgetown added 8 new cases for a total of 111.

Boxford is now classified at level 2 (highest is 4) for risk of Covid-19, increasing from level 1 (lowest) last week. Georgetown and Middleton are also at Level 2. Topsfield remains at level 1.

The Mass DPH has released guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving. Recommendations include limiting holiday gatherings to only those living together, or to a small group of regular contacts. Keep in mind that there is a limit of no more than 10 persons at an indoor gathering.  Short duration gatherings are safer than long duration. Also keep in mind those persons, such as seniors, who are more at risk from Covid-19. The guidelines can be accessed at https://www.mass.gov/news/thanksgiving-during-covid-19.

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Board of Health Update, November 7, 2020

Boxford added 5 cases of Covid-19 this week, bringing our total cases to 77. Of these cases, 5 are in isolation and  72 cases in recovery. In our neighboring towns, as of  November 6, Topsfield added 3 new cases for 134 total cases, Middleton added 5 new cases for a total of 375 cases, and Georgetown added 6 new cases for a total of 103.

As of this week, the DPH has revised their method for calculating the level of Covid-19 transmission risk by taking into account the actual population of a town. As a result, Boxford and Middleton have moved from the highest risk category to the lowest (red to grey, 4 to 1), Georgetown from the 4 to 2, and Topsfield remains in category 1.

Governor Baker issued changes to a number of laws effective November 6, 2020. These include a decrease from 25 to 10 persons for indoor gatherings in a private residence, and a decrease from 50 to 25 persons at an outside gathering at a private residence.  All gatherings, public or private, must end by 9:30 pm. A $500 fine can be imposed for every person over the allowed limit. Face masks are now required in all public places, including public byways like roadsides and trails, even if social distancing can be achieved. A $300 fine can be imposed for those not wearing face masks as ordered.  For more details go to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-state-of-emergency#limits-on-gatherings.

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Board of Health Update, October 30, 2020

Boxford added 3 cases of Covid-19 this week, bringing our total cases to 72. Of these cases, 7 are in isolation and 65 cases in recovery. In our neighboring towns, as of 29 October, Topsfield added 2 new cases for 131 total cases, Middleton added 7 new cases for a total of 370 cases, and Georgetown added 8 new cases for a total of 97.

The spike in Covid-19 continues. Boxford and surrounding towns Georgetown, Middleton, North Andover, and Haverhill are all in the ‘red zone’ (highest) for infectivity.  Only Topsfield is lower, in the lowest ‘grey’ zone.  Please exercise caution this Halloween and follow the guidelines of your Board of Health at https://www.town.boxford.ma.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif321/f/pages/bohpositi....

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Board of Health Update, October 23, 2020

Boxford added 7 cases of Covid-19 this week, the highest number since the 7 cases reported on April 17th, and bringing our total cases to 69. Of these cases, 8 are in isolation and 61 cases in recovery. Only 2 of the 7 cases are in the same household.  Since October 1st, Boxford has had 13 positive Covid-19 cases. By age range, 18 to 25, 7 cases; 26 to 60, 3 cases; and  >60, 4 cases.

Over the course of the past 3 weekly reporting periods, Boxford has gone from the lowest level (1), to the yellow level (3) last week, to the red, the highest level (4) this week as classified by the DPH. This is based on the two week total of cases extrapolated from our population of approximately 8,500, to 100,000, and divided by 14 days. DPH now considers Boxford a high risk community for Covid-19 transmission (see the map on page 28 at https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-october-22-2020/download).

Looking at actual case numbers in Boxford, the average weekly number of new Covid-19 cases in Boxford since March 17th (31 weeks) is 1.9, with a high of 7 (weeks of April 17th and October 23rd), and a low of no cases in 6 of the 31 weeks, including 3 consecutive weeks of 0 cases (June 5th,12th and 19th).

On Tuesday of this past week, two Masco soccer teams played with teams from Danvers and Peabody (both yellow level towns) with players that later tested positive of Covid-19.  The members of both Masco soccer teams have been quarantined for 14 days (until November 3rd) as required by DPH.

In our neighboring towns, as of October 22nd, Topsfield added 4 new Covid-19 cases for 129 total cases, Middleton added 6 new cases for a total of 363 cases, and Georgetown added 6 new cases for a total of 89. Middleton remains in the ‘red’ zone and Topsfield and Georgetown are now the ‘yellow’ zone.

Please realize that Boxford and our surrounding towns are experiencing a spike in Covid cases.  It is imperative that we limit gatherings, socially distance and wear masks. As difficult as it is, we need to stay the course and stop this new outbreak.

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Board of Health Update, October 16, 2020

In the last week, Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 2 cases for a total of 62. This includes 59 cases in recovery and 3 in isolation.  As of October 14th, Topsfield added one new case for 125 total cases, Middleton added 13 new cases for a total of 357 cases, and Georgetown added 3 new cases for a total of 83. The spike in Middleton continues to be localized at the Essex County House of Correction and places Middleton into the ‘red’ category for the third consecutive week as determined by the State.

We remind our residents that the current issues with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Eviction Order possibly expiring will not affect Boxford.  A Boxford specific Order, effective April 24, 2020, was passed by both the BOH and Select Board, and remains in effect until both Boards vote to lift the current health emergency.  At this point in time, the health emergency will continue.

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Board of Health Update, October 9, 2020

In the last week, Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 3 cases for a total of 60. This includes 57 cases in recovery and 3 in isolation.  As of October 7th, Topsfield added one new case for 124 total cases, Middleton added 133 new cases for a total of 340 cases, and Georgetown added 2 new cases for a total of 80. The spike in Middleton is localized to the Essex County House of Correction and places Middleton into the ‘red’ category for the second week in a row as determined by the State. According to Sheriff Kevin Coppinger, the majority of cases are asymptomatic. Those cases with symptoms are mild and there have been no hospitalizations thus far.

Your BOH has released a Position Statement for Halloween activities. The Board strongly recommends against door-to-door trick or treating, parties, hayrides, haunted houses and other activities placing children and adults in close proximity. For parents or guardians still allowing their children to trick or treat, the Board also recommends guidelines to promote safety during the activity. The Board supports the Boo in Boxford family night sponsored by the PTO on Halloween evening. For more information, see https://paperlesspto.keritech.net/Bod/custompage.cfm?cpid=5511.

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Board of Health Update, October 5, 2020

In the last week, Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 1 case for a total of 57. This includes 54 cases in recovery and 3 in isolation.  As of  September 30, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 123 total cases, Middleton added 19 new cases for a total of 207 cases, and Georgetown added 2 new cases for a total of 78. The spike in Middleton is localized to the Essex County House of Correction and places Middleton into the ‘red’ category as determined by the State.

Halloween presents a challenge during the pandemic. Your BOH is working with others in Town to address how we can make Halloween a safe holiday for children and adults. The CDC advises against door-to-door trick or treating and has provided guidance for Halloween and other holidays at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.  We will provide more information on allowed Halloween activities in our next update.

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Board of Health Update, September 25, 2020

In the last week, Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 1 case for a total of 56. This includes 54 cases in recovery and 2 in isolation.  As of September 23, Topsfield added one new case for 123 total cases, Middleton added 3 new cases for a total of 188 cases, and Georgetown added 1 new case for a total of 76.

Questions have been raised about parties and gatherings as we move into the holiday season.  The current Massachusetts emergency law is that gatherings cannot exceed 8 people per 1000 sq feet to a maximum of 25 people indoors, and cannot exceed 8 people per 1000 sq feet to a maximum of 50 people outdoors. The restrictions apply to all gatherings except outdoor religious or political expression gatherings, and includes private homes and backyards. Order 46 can be viewed at: https://www.mass.gov/doc/revised-gatherings-order-august-7-2020/download 

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Board of Health Update, September 18, 2020

In the last week, Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 2 cases for a total of 55. This includes 54 cases in recovery and 1 in isolation.  As of September 16, Topsfield added one new case for 122 total cases, Middleton added 2 new cases for a total of 185 cases, and Georgetown added 1 new case for a total of 75.

The CDC is strongly recommending that everyone get a flu shot as soon as possible. It is possible to have both the flu and Covid-19 at the same time.  A flu shot prevents or diminishes the severity of the flu, and aids your physician in determining what you have. Your BOH is sponsoring a flu clinic on Tuesday, 13 October from 10am to 12 noon outside the Town Hall under a tent. The clinic is open to all Boxford residents, regardless of age. A reservation is necessary. Please call the BOH office at 978-887-2875 to make an appointment. 

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Board of Health Update, September 11, 2020
 
We apologize that the BOH weekly update was not posted last week.
 
In the last two weeks, Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 2 cases for a total of 53. All cases are in recovery.  As of September 9, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 122 total cases, Middleton added 2 new cases for a total of 183 cases, and Georgetown added 3 new cases for a total of 74.
 
The Mass DPH maintains an updated map of Covid-19 occurrence in all towns in Massachusetts and ranks each town by case rate. The map can be accessed at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/community-level-covid-19-data-reporting.
 

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Board of Health Update, September 3, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased by 2 cases this week for a total of 53. This includes 51 cases in recovery and 2 in isolation.  As of September 2, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 122 total cases, Middleton added no new cases and remains at a total of 181 cases, and Georgetown was decreased by one case for a total of 71 cases.

 

The Mass DPH maintains an updated map of Covid-19 occurrence in all towns in Massachusetts and ranks each town by case rate. The map can be accessed at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/community-level-covid-19-data-reporting

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Board of Health Update, August, 28, 2020
 
Covid-19 total cases in Boxford was adjusted this week due to a (rapid test) positive case that later was found to be negative, decreasing our total of 51. All Boxford cases are in recovery and out of isolation.  As of August 26, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 122 total cases, Middleton added one new case for a total of 181 cases, and Georgetown added one new case for a total of 72 cases.
 
For more detailed information on Covid-19 cases in Massachusetts  such as case rate by age, sex, hospitalization, deaths, and other parameters, go to: https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-august-26-2020/download .  The Mass DPH issues an updated report every Wednesday.

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Board of Health Update, August 21, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 2, for a total of 52. This includes 50 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 2 cases in isolation.  As of August 19th, Topsfield added 1 new case for 122 total cases, Middleton added no new cases and remains at a total of 180 cases, and Georgetown added no new cases and the DPH reduced their total by 1 for a total of 71 cases..

Our schools have submitted their opening plans to the state Department of Education and are currently being reviewed by the BOH for health and safety. Both Masconomet and the Boxford elementary schools will begin in a remote mode in September. This may change as the school year progresses. The Draft Masconomet opening plan can be accessed at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/17zL_pxBDZno3QQ2pCS78h1vZXHzyp7bZ/view?usp=sharing

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Board of Health Update August 14th

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 1, for a total of 50. This includes 49 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 1 case in isolation. As of August 12th, Topsfield added 1 new case for 121 total cases, Middleton has added 1 new case for a total of 180 cases, and Georgetown added 3 new cases for a total of 72. 

Updated guidelines were released by the state on July 24th regarding sports. Soccer has now been moved to ‘moderate’ risk meaning that competitive games can be held with conditions , see: https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-youth-and-adult-amateur-sports-activities-phase-iii-step-1/download. Competitive games are still prohibited for high risk sports including football, hockey, lacrosse and others.

This week, the state published a map showing all towns in Massachusetts color coded to indicate the Covid-19 case level based on 100,000 population:  https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-average-daily-incidence-rate-august-11-2020/download.  Boxford was in the lowest per case category, less than 5 reported cases per 100,000.  This is good news and the BOH thanks our residents for adhering to social distancing and wearing masks.  Please keep your guard up, the epidemic is not over.

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Board of Health Board of Health Update, August 7th, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 2, for a total of 49. This includes 48 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 1 case in isolation.  As of August 5th, Topsfield added 4 new cases for 120 total cases, Middleton has added 5 new cases for a total of 179 cases, and Georgetown added 7 new cases for a total of 69.

In the months of June and July, the weekly average case increase for the towns cited above was 1.16% (8 weeks). This week that average has increased to 4.3% from last week. Whether this increase represents an upward trend or not, the fact remains that Covid-19 is active and with us. Please continue to follow social distancing and wear a mask. And remember: you are required to quarantine for 14 days after returning to Massachusetts from out of the country or from any state except Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Do the right thing, it could save a life.

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Board of Health Update, July 31, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 1, for a total of 47. This includes 42 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 5 cases in isolation.  As of July 29, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 116 total cases, Middleton has added two new cases for a total of 174 cases, and Georgetown had no new cases and remains at a total of 62.

As of Saturday, August 1st, any visitors entering Massachusetts from any state except New England states, New York, and New Jersey must (1) before coming, complete a Massachusetts Travel Form (can be done online) and (2) produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving in Massachusetts OR. quarantine for 14 days after entering Massachusetts. See full regulation at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order#massachusetts-tr... Failure to comply with the law can result in a fine of $500 per day.

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Board of Health Update, July 24, 2020
 
Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 3, for a total of 46. This includes 42 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 4 cases in isolation.  As of 22 July, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 116 total cases, Middleton has added three new cases for a total of 172 cases, and Georgetown had no new cases and remains at a total of 62.
 
Our schools are facing a challenging task of deciding how to open in September, provided Massachusetts Covid-19 cases continue to trend downwards. Your BOH is working with the Superintendents of Masconomet and the Tri-Town Union to write plans for opening. This is not an easy task and we ask that our residents and especially our parents exercise patience as we work to keep our students and teachers safe.
 

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Board of Health Update, July 17, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford showed no increases this past week and remain at a total of 43. This includes 40 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 3 cases in isolation.  As of July 15th, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 116 total cases, Middleton has added two new cases for a total of 169 cases, and Georgetown added 1 new case for a total of 62.

In our July 10th update, we erred in saying that soccer games were allowed in Phase 3 of the Baker Plan. They are not and neither are football and basketball games. We apologize for any confusion.

We remind all residents that face masks and social distancing requirements are still in force during Phase 3. New studies and medical experts agree that wearing masks results in decreasing Covid-19 transmission. 

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Board of Health Update, July 10, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 1, for a total of 43. This includes 40 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 3 cases in isolation.  As of July 8, Topsfield added no new cases and remains at 116 total cases, Middleton has added no new cases and remains at a total of 167 cases, and Georgetown added 1 new case for a total of 61.

We entered Phase 3 of the Baker Reopening Plan on July 6.  Many of our residents were pleased to learn that organized sports such as baseball and softball games are now allowed but with restrictions for social distancing, wearing of face masks, number of players allowed on the field, and number of spectators.  The full description of restrictions can be viewed at  https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-youth-and-adult-amateur-sports-activities-phase-iii-step-1/download.

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Board of Health Update,  July 3, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 1, for a total of 42. This includes 39 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 2 cases in isolation.  As of 3 July, Topsfield has increased by two to 116 total cases, Middleton added 4 new cases for a total of 167 cases, and Georgetown added 4 new cases for a total of 60.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released a preliminary plan to move forward to school reopening in the fall. The short slide presentation can be accessed HERE. More information will follow as DESE finalizes plans.

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Board of Health Update, June 26, 2020
 
Covid-19 total cases in Boxford increased this past week by 2, for a total of 41. This includes 38 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 3 cases in isolation.  As of 24 June, Topsfield has increased by two to 114 total cases, Middleton added no new cases and remains at 163 cases, and Georgetown added one new case for a total of 56.
 
Your BOH is developing a set of guidelines for the safe use of our playgrounds. Given the unsupervised and open nature of our playgrounds, it will be the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure social distancing, use of face masks if social distancing cannot be achieved, and cleaning of equipment surfaces upon leaving. The guidelines can be accessed HERE. The Board approves of opening the playgrounds this Saturday, 27 June, according to the guidelines.
 
The Board continues to receive questions about when organized sports such as baseball and soccer games including more than 12 persons can resume.  At the present time and at least until we begin Phase 3 of the Baker Plan, such games are prohibited. We will know more when the Phase 3 conditions are made know by the state.

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Board of Health Update, June 22, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford added no new cases for the third week in a row, remaining at a total of 39. This includes 38 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 1 case in isolation.  As of 17 June, Topsfield has increased by one to 112 total cases, Middleton has increased by two to 163 cases, and Georgetown has no new cases and remains at 55 total.
 
Your BOH has been working with our camps to develop plans for their safe opening. This week, we approved the plan for the Danvers Y camp to open.  The detailed, 11 page plan addresses the conditions required by the state including cleaning, sanitizing in disinfecting; health checks for staff and children;  detailed action plans, including immediate isolation and notification of appropriate authorities and families, should someone become sick; and safe handling of food service and eating areas.
 
Please remember that social distancing and face masks rules are still in effect throughout Massachusetts and will be at least through Phase 3 of the Baker Plan. 

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Board of Health Update, June 12, 2020
Covid-19 total cases in Boxford added no new cases for the second week in a row, remaining at a total of 39. This includes 38 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 1 case in isolation.  As of 3 June, Topsfield has increased by one to 111 total cases, Middleton has increased by one to 161 cases, and Georgetown by one case to 55 total.
 
Your BOH has been working with the BAA to develop a plan for the safe opening of Stiles Pond Beach. A final plan has been approved by the BOH. The BAA hopes to open the beach to members on Saturday, 27 June.  The conditions for opening include a maximum of 100 beach goers at any one time, social distancing of families or groups in defined areas, and requiring face masks when social distancing cannot be achieved.

 

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Board of Health Update, June 5th 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford added no new cases the past week, remaining at a total of 39. This includes 37 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 2 cases in isolation.  This the first week since we began weekly reporting of Covid-19 cases on April 2nd that no new cases have occurred in Boxford.

As of June 3rd, Topsfield has increased by one to 110 total cases, Middleton has increased by one to 160 cases, and Georgetown by two cases to 54 total. 

It is expected that Massachusetts will enter Phase 2 of the Baker reopening plan next week. In Boxford, this will primarily affect summer camps. Guidelines for setting conditions on opening camps have been released, and your BOH will be working with Boxford camps on plans to allow reopening.  Opening conditions include prohibiting overnight and residence camps, prohibiting visitors (including parents), set strict guidelines for routine health checks on staff, and allow only Massachusetts residents to attend the camps. Information for parents on the requirements can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/doc/information-about-recreational-camps-for-children-in-massachusetts-questions-and-answers-for/download.

Phase 2 of the Baker Plan also addresses organized sports activities and programs. While outdoor athletic facilities may be open and available for use by youth and adult sports activities, there are restrictions to such use. For example, social distancing remains in place and groups are still limited to 10, including coaches and players. Organized games, such as baseball and soccer games, are still prohibited in Phase 2. No-contact drills and training exercises are permitted. The full set of regulations can be viewed at:  https://www.mass.gov/doc/outdoor-adult-sports-supervised-youth-sports-leagues-summer-sports-camps/download .

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Board of Health Update, May 29, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford have grown by 4 since last week, to a total of 39. This includes 34 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 5 cases in isolation. 

As of May 27, Topsfield has increased from106 to 109 total cases, Middleton has increased from 144 to 159, and Georgetown from 45 to 52. This reverses the downward trends we’ve seen in the past few weeks and serves to warn us to not let up on social distancing and wearing face masks.

The phased reopening in Massachusetts does not mean that it’s safe to ignore social distancing and wearing face masks.  Groups of 10 or more are still prohibited, including groups in private homes. Close contact sports like baseball and soccer are still prohibited. Seniors and other vulnerable persons should still stay at home as much as possible.  The epidemic is not over and the virus will likely be with us until there is a vaccine available.

The CDC also estimates that from 20% to 50% of Covid-19 infected people are asymptomatic carriers, that is, they have the virus and can pass it to others but show no symptoms and do not feel ill. Until such persons are tested for some reason, there is no way of knowing if a person is asymptomatic.  More reason to wear a mask and distance yourself from others, especially those not wearing a mask.

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Board of Health Update, May 22, 2020
 
Covid-19 total cases in Boxford have grown by only 1 since last week, to a total of 35. This includes 30 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 5 cases in isolation. Contrary to a rumor circulating in town, the BOH has no knowledge of a death from Covid-19 in Boxford.   
 
As of 20 May, Topsfield has not increased from last week’s106 total cases, Middleton has increased from 132 to 144, and Georgetown from 40 to 45. This is a positive trend downward.
 
At the Board of Health meeting last night, the Board agreed to allow Stiles Pond Beach to open subject to a list of conditions including social distancing and a limit on total maximum number of people allowed at the beach at any one time (100). The occupancy limit was determined based on a minimum area of 12x12 feet (144 square feet) per ‘blanket group,’ that is a family group. In fact, a 100 person limit would allow for more separation than 12x12 feet. The snack bar will be allowed to open with conditions already in place for take-out restaurants. The Board will work with the BAA to write a plan for review and approval by the Board.  If approved, the decision to open will then be up to the BAA.
 
The Baker Plan for reopening also addresses camp openings. Some camps in the state, like Camp Rotary, have already decided not to open this year. Others may open, again with conditions, in Phase 2 of the Baker Plan. Phase 2 is slated to begin on 10 June, but that date depends on trends in Covid-19 infections and deaths. As yet, the state has not released a guide to Boards of Health to use in considering camp openings.
 
Please remember that social distancing and face masks requirements remain in place as we move forward in the reopening plan.  The plan can be stopped if Covid-19 cases and deaths start to climb again. Keep doing your part.
 

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Board of Health Update, May 15, 2020

COVID-19 total cases in Boxford have grown by 2 since last week, to a total of 34. This includes 28 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 6 cases in isolation (Note: the DPH website lists Boxford as having a total of 35 cases. This is an error: DPH is counting a duplicate).  As of 13 May, Topsfield has increased from last week from 100 to 106 total cases, Middleton from 128 to132, and Georgetown from 35 to 40. While there appears to be a slight downturn in cases, the growth is still significant.

We are awaiting specifics on changes to the various orders by the Governor that are due on Monday. From what he has said this week, those changes will primarily affect store openings.  Nothing has yet been mentioned about relaxing his order on assemblage. Until we know more and until the Governor specifically addresses assemblage, the Board of Health will continue to enforce the order in place. This will include a continued ban on sports practices and games, and delaying the opening of the Town beach. 

As up update to previous recommendations on wearing gloves, the CDC has published new guidelines for gloves. Essentially, they are not necessary for running everyday errands.  For details, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/gloves.html.

We thank the majority of residents for following the face covering order.  We see the need for continuing to wear them for the near future. Some in town will not wear them, and that is unfortunate and irresponsible. They endanger others and themselves.

Keep safe.

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Board of Health Update, May 9, 2020

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford have grown by 4 since last week, to a total of 32. This includes 28 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 4 cases in isolation. As of 6 May, Topsfield has increased from last week from 87 to 100 total cases, Middleton from 109 to128, and Georgetown from 29 to 35. These increases are significant, and show us that the epidemic is still with us.

After your Board passed our Order requiring face coverings last week, the state followed with a state-wide requirement for face coverings.  It is very critical that our residents follow the BOH Order: wear a face mask/covering when you go into any town or commercial building in town, including post offices. As the numbers show, we’re not out of the emergency period yet. 

Do your part and let’s continue to keep our Covid-19 case numbers as low as possible.

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Board of Health Update, May 1, 2020
 

Covid-19 total cases in Boxford has grown by 3 since last week, to a total of 28. This includes 24 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 4 cases in isolation. As of 29 April, Topsfield has 87 total cases, Middleton 109, and Georgetown 29.

Your BOH continues to address means to ensure our residents are protected from Covid-19. At a Board meeting yesterday, the Board voted unanimously to issue an Order requiring face masks for anyone entering a public or commercial building. This includes the stores, post offices, police and fire departments, and Town Hall. The Order has the full and unanimous support of the Board of Selectmen. We hope that all residents will follow the Order. In the event they do not, violators will be subject to a first time warning by the Police, and a $300 fine for each violation thereafter.  Please follow the Order and help protect other residents and the employees in our buildings.

A question has also been raised about the use of disposable gloves.  There are mixed opinions on this, from those seeing their use as a means to protect the user, to others who point out that touching various surfaces with gloves on can spread the virus the same as a non-gloved hand.  There is also concern about properly removing the gloves and their safe disposal.  The BOH position on use of gloves is to leave decision on their use up to residents, but to emphasize their safe and appropriate disposal after use. The best protection remains avoiding touching your face with your hands when outside your home (gloves or no gloves), and washing your hands as often as possible.

Governor Baker’s extension of the Covid-19 emergency to at least 18 May is not unexpected but does place more pressure on residents to obey the order, especially the restrictions on groups of ten or more.  The Board has heard concerns from those residents involved in sports about starting or holding practices and games for various sports. Paragraph 8 of the 31 March Order from the Governor specifically prohibits athletic activities even if they involve less than 10 people. This is the law, it is justified by Covid-19, and it must be followed even with the disruptions it may cause.  We can hope that the emergency will be lifted on 18 May, but residents should not see this as a day certain.  If Covid-19 cases do not show a steady decline by that date, the Order may be extended again.

Keep following the distancing and stay home orders. Please follow the new face covering Order.  Let’s continue to keep our Covid-19 case numbers low.

Click here for Board of Health Order Requiring Face Masks

 

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Board of Health Update, April 23, 2020

 
Covid-19 total cases in Boxford has grown by 3 since last week, to a total of 25. This includes 12 cases in recovery and out of isolation, and 13 cases in isolation. As of today, Topsfield has 76 total cases and Middleton 114.
 
On Monday, 21 April, Governor Baker signed into law a bill that prohibits foreclosures and evictions for 120 days or 45 days after the State of Emergency is lifted (HB4647). Your Board of Health is in the process of passing an Order that will parallel the Governor’s bill and, in addition, place a moratorium on some real estate activities like Open Houses as well as set rules on how house showings can be done. This moratorium is to protect those residing in a house and to decrease transmission from home tours. The Order is being issued jointly with the Board of Selectmen.
 
The question has been raised about whether the Board should make the use of face masks or coverings in public mandatory. We discussed this at our meeting last Monday and we have also checked other Towns around Boxford. Most have not mandated face masks. Your Board decided against a mandatory requirement as well, given the rural nature of Boxford and the few commercial establishments in town. However, we strongly recommend masks if you enter any commercial establishment in town or will be near other people outside of your household for any length of time.
 
There still is a continuing need for donated non-perishable food items being distributed by our Police and the Council on Aging. Drop-off is at the Police Station garage during normal day hours. Thank you for helping those in need.
 
It appears we are into the predicted ’surge’ of Covid-19. Hopefully we will start to see a decrease in cases over the next few weeks. It’s unlikely that decrease will be rapid, so please keep doing what you’ve been doing so well:  stay home and social distancing. One model that has some credibility predicts that Massachusetts may be ready to lift the State of Emergency by the first week or two in June.  Keep safe.
 

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Board of Health Update, April 17, 2020
 
As Massachusetts enters the predicted peak time for Covid-19 cases, Boxford has added seven new cases over the last few days to bring our total active cases to 10.
 
There has been some confusion on how we have been reporting Covid-19 cases. We have been reporting active cases, not cases in recovery and out of isolation. In a release from the state Department of Public Health this week, Boxford was reported as having had 15 Covid-19 cases as of 14 April.  This number, as of 14 April, was correct and included 12 cases in recovery and 3 cases in isolation.  That changed quickly after the DPH report as we added 7 new active cases on 16 April. As of this update, Boxford has 12 cases in recovery and 10 active cases in isolation for a total of 22 Covid-19 cases.  We apologize for any confusion.
 
While Boxford’s Covid-19 total cases are low compared to many towns and cities in Massachusetts, it is increasing and may indicate we are reaching the peak of the epidemic.  It is imperative that our residents continue to stay at home and as isolated as possible except for necessary trips for groceries or pharmacy items. The next few weeks will, hopefully, bring us through the worst of the virus. Keep safe.
 

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Friday, April 10, 2020   

Two new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Boxford over the past week and two existing cases have recovered. We thus maintain a number of four active cases in Boxford.

Remember that starting on Monday, April 13, all trash barrels and bags must have a trash sticker. We are excited to announce that our residents may now pay online for trash stickers  - click here  for information on Boxford’s online trash sticker payment options.  While we will continue to respond to orders for Trash Stickers via mail, we encourage residents to place future orders online.  The Town received and processed orders for over 2000 stickers this week.

There is a new emphasis from the CDC on the possibility that many people, while not showing the symptoms of Covid-19, may be infected and carriers, able to spread the virus to others through contact and simply speaking. As a result, CDC is now recommending that you wear a face mask or covering when you go out into public.  After wearing the mask, it should be washed (if cloth), spayed with a disinfectant and left to dry (if paper), or disposed into a bag and sealed (if disposable). Please do not discard used masks (or gloves) on the ground or in other open areas.

CDC is also projecting that the next weeks in April may reach the peak of infections and deaths. Such projections are not absolute, we just need to wait and see. It remains very critical that we continue to stay home as much as possible and, when out, keep our distance from others.  Stay safe.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Your Board of Health continues to monitor state and Boxford conditions and information for Covid-19.

As of today, we still have four confirmed Covid-19 cases in Boxford, and have added two new possible cases. We also have some past possible cases coming out of quarantine who did not develop the disease. While we should not be too optimistic, these numbers are hopeful and while Covid-19 cases are increasing in other towns and cities in the state our numbers attest to Boxford residents adhering to distancing and staying at home. Please keep up your good work.

We have had a significant increase in curb-side trash for pick-up that is overwhelming our hauler, Waste Management. To offset this, we will be reopening the Recycling Center this Saturday (April 4). The usual fees will apply payable by cash or check. We have put in place new procedures to minimize the exposure of our attendants to potential Covid-19 exposure.

Curbside pickup of trash without stickers will continue the week of  6 April. Due to the large amount of trash left over the past three weeks, only two trash barrels and/or bags will be allowed without a sticker. Additional barrels or bags without stickers will be left. Residents may still leave up to a total of five barrels and/or bags if they are stickered. Any number over five will be left, as stated in our contract with Waste Management.  All trash must be in bags or barrels and all recycling in bins. No loose cardboard or other items can be taken to protect the health of Waste Management employees. To help minimize the exposure of trash collectors, we ask that you not place loose trash into a barrel. Rather, place the loose trash into a bag and place that into the barrel.

Beginning April 13, all trash needs to have a sticker on every barrel and bag (up to a maximum of 5). Non-stickered trash will not be picked up.

Trash stickers may be purchased at the Boxford Community Store and West Village Provisions, and Nason’s Stonehouse Farm shop. Stickers may also be purchased by mail.  Send your request for stickers with a check ($2.50 per sticker) made out to the Town of Boxford  to: Boxford Town Hall, Attention Trash Sticker Request, 7A Spofford Road, Boxford, MA,01921. Or drop off your order at Town Hall by placing into the tax mail slot near the front door.  We recommend that residents order sufficient stickers to last 8 weeks. Your request will be filled by return mail within three days from receipt of your order

As we enter April, predictions are that the next 3 weeks will reach the high point of the Covid-19 epidemic as long as we continue to stay home and away from others and gatherings. It’s still uncertain when we can look forward to returning to some normalcy. That will depend on when new cases of the virus start to recede. At this point, the epidemic may still affect our lives through May and possibly into June. Isolation and social distancing appears to be working. 

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Friday, March 27, 2020 - UPDATE

Your BOH continues to monitor update new cases of Covid-19 in Boxford.  Since our last update last week, no new cases have occurred in Boxford, we still have four confirmed. This may change, so please continue to stay at home except to go out for groceries or to a pharmacy.
 
When you do go into stores, wear disposable gloves if you have them. After you put your purchases in your car, take off the gloves and throw away in the trash---at home if there is no place to dispose of them where you are.  To take off disposable gloves, ‘peel’ them off by pinching the end by your wrist and pulling toward your finger tips. This places the contaminated outside of the gloves inside the gloves.
 
We have learned from neighboring town Boards of Health that there are two confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Middleton and two in Georgetown.
 
With the warmer weather, ticks are becoming active. Check yourselves and your dogs after walks in fields or woods, or even after being outside in your yard.  For those who want to purchase Tick Tubes from the BOH, these are now available at both the East Village and West Village stores for $43 per box. Our thank you to the stores for offering this service.
 
There are many opinions you will hear about when the number of Covid-19 cases will slow and then begin to subside.  The most repeated, based on what is occurring in China and elsewhere in the world, is that the United States will reach a peak in mid to late April, and then cases will slowly subside. We can hope. But understand this is a prediction and predictions are not promises. Continue with staying home, limited contact with others, cleaning surfaces and washing your hands.  Let’s keep the number of cases in Boxford low.
 

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Thursday, March 26, 2020  

HELP KEEP TRASH COLLECTORS SAFE - PLEASE BAG YOUR TRASH  

Due to increased concerns for worker safety because of the COVID-19 virus, we ask that residents place all household trash in bags before setting them at the curb for collection. Please ensure that all bags are properly sealed to prevent contents from spilling. REMINDER: latex gloves go in the trash – NOT in your recycling container. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Our drivers appreciate it!

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This is an update from your Board of Health.  As of today, Boxford has 4 known and 7 quarantined cases of Covid-19. Most of the quarantined individuals are relatives of the known cases.

A number of Board members have been approached by residents wanting to know if they have been exposed to those in town having or suspected of having Covid-19. Board members cannot answer this question because we do not know who the Covid-19 individuals in town are. Only two people who work for the Board know the names and addresses of Covid-19 individuals. The Board limits this information to protect the privacy of Covid-19 cases. This is federal law.

A major advance was made this week when the Governor signed a law ordering Boards of Health to share the addresses of Covid-19 cases with the Police and Fire departments. Your Board has been very active in arguing for this policy so that our First Responders and town police and fire officers will know, in advance, if they need to enter a building with a Covid-19 patient. They can then utilize protective gear. This is critical since our supplies of protective gear are low. Only the Fire and Police Chiefs are given the information, only to be disseminated if there is a call to one of the addresses.

The Board is also aware of false, misleading, and disturbing statements being made on Social media about Covid-19 and persons infected with the virus.  We cannot stop such postings. We can only advise you to ignore and never reply to the post.  If you have questions about the status of the Covid-19 epidemic, call the state hotline at 211.

The members of your Board of Health are resident volunteers, your neighbors.  Yet in our careers, collectively, we possess decades of professional experience at the cutting edge of Health Care and epidemiology.  We will continue provide you with updates and the best, accurate information available. The Board appreciates the efforts and sacrifices being made by our residents in this time of crisis.  Keep following containment and distancing practices. Keep vigilant for any symptoms of the virus in your household.  And remember, we’re all in this together.

Please continue to contact the Massachusetts 24/7 line for information on Covid-19 by dialing 211.

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Board of Health Update 3/17/20

Your BOH met in emergency session last night and discussed issues related to Covid-19 in Boxford.  As of Tuesday, 17 March, we have 3 confirmed and 1 suspected case of Covid-19 in Boxford.  All cases are isolated and being checked daily.

Trash stickers are not available at the (closed) Town Hall. If you need trash stickers you can buy them at either the West or East stores. If you do not have them for this week’s pick-up, the BOH has instructed Waste Management to still take your trash. We hope that all residents will continue to use stickers since their purchase keeps the cost of our trash and recycling down.

The Recycling Center will be closed for the next two weeks (21 and 28 March) to protect our workers at the site. The Center is under video surveillance to discourage illegal dumping. Violators will be fined.

The Boxford Police Dept. has stockpiled non-perishable foods that are available to Seniors and those in need who cannot or should not go out to buy food. You can call into the Police Dept or the Council on Aging and ask for food or other aid. The police will deliver food and also pick up and deliver prescriptions and other medical supplies. Donations of non-perishable foods are also welcome.  Take the items to the Police Station and leave them in the garage. The door will be open during the day.

The BOH urges anyone developing a cough or fever, or having trouble breathing, to contact your Doctor by phone, text or eMail immediately.  Stay home and wait for advice from your Doctor. 

Massachusetts has also opened a 24/7 line for information on Covid-19. Dial 211.

 

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MESSAGE UPDATE 3/12/20:

Your Board of Health has received the protocols (see documents attached below)  that are to be followed if a person is suspected of (quarantine) or has been diagnosed with (isolation) Corona Virus. These are provided for your information only---the BOH is not placing anyone into quarantine or isolation at this time. As of today (12 March) there are 6 confirmed and 102 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

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ORIGINAL MESSAGE POSTED 3/11/20:

Your Board of Health is monitoring developments as the Coronavirus begins to spread throughout New England. We are in contact with the state Department of Public Health, and following their suggestions as well as those of Federal agencies. 

Please read the attached document containing important information regarding the Coronavirus.

 

AttachmentSize
PDF icon coronavirus.pdf133.02 KB
PDF icon Isolation Information172.78 KB
PDF icon Quarantine Information184.6 KB