Mount Washington Board of Health
Update on COVID 19
We are just a few weeks past Governor Baker’s announcement that officially ended most of the Health Emergency regulations in Massachusetts.
Current data for the two-week period ending July 29th indicate that the number of NEW positive cases for Berkshire County more than doubled from the previous two weeks (22 to 48). The highest number of new positive cases is in the 20-29 age group, next highest is 30-39 age group, and the third highest is the 40-49 age group. The 20-29 age group is more than 50% higher than the next highest group. As of July 29th, 90.1% of the medical/surgical beds in Massachusetts are occupied and 76% of the ICU beds are occupied. As we progressed for the next week the numbers have kept going up. This information (and more) is available at https://www.publichealthwm.org. The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts is an excellent, up-to-date website with graphics and data that you can understand. Check it out!
What is the message?
The most important message is that this health crisis is still with us and is affecting a lot of people across the country. If you are vaccinated, we believe that you have a significantly better chance of surviving a COVID 19 or VARIANT infection. Well over 90% of the DEATHS from COVID infections are unvaccinated individuals.
If you are not vaccinated: the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Mount Washington Board of Health encourage you to get vaccinated. It’s free and widely available.
If you are vaccinated: we thank you for doing what we can to limit the spread of this disease. We agree with the CDC and MDPH that wearing a mask when you are in a crowd – at the grocery store, farmer’s market, any public gathering is vital.
Limiting exposure, even for vaccinated individuals, helps everyone. We know that earlier this month most of the patients in the hospital for COVID care were unvaccinated, but hospitals are now seeing more vaccinated COVID patients as well. The long-term outcome for vaccinated patients who are sick from the variant
seems to be better than for those who are not vaccinated, but some are still sick enough to be hospitalized.
Here are the updates to the CDC recommendations as of July 27, 2021:
- Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Transmission Zones may be viewed at CDC.gov. Currently, Berkshire County is listed as MODERATE. Hampden, Plymouth, Suffolk, Bristol, Hampshire Counties are SUBSTANTIAL; Nantucket, Barnstable Counties are HIGH.
- Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID 19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated (i.e. children under 12)
- Fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed CCOVID 19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- Universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools; regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC website identifies all 50 states and counties as to risk level. Check before you travel!