By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
As of the printing of this article, North Attleborough only has nine active COVID-19 cases, and though this is certainly good news, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to put the face masks away.
According to Health Director Anne Marie Fleming, the total case count is 493, with 484 recovered. The number of deaths is 28, unchanged since the early summer. She said most the recent cases have been people between the age of 20 and 40.
“It’s excellent news,” said Fleming. “There was a point in time where we had many more active cases.”
Fleming credited people adhering to the guidelines of wearing face masks in pubic and social distancing whenever possible. She praised the town’s businesses, which have been enforcing these rules as well.
“Restaurants have done an awesome job with the outdoor dining,” she said.
At a recent School Committee meeting, Superintendent Scott Holcomb said that there have been no infections among staff or students since school reopened on Sept. 17.
“We’re standing tall and we’re standing proud,” said Holcomb. “The rate has flatlined in our schools.”
But does this mean the crisis is passing? Until a vaccine or treatment becomes widely available, Fleming said people need to continue doing their part to keep infections down. This also means avoiding large gatherings such as weddings or backyard parties, which has led to past spikes in North Attleborough.
“People are frustrated and tired and they think we’re good,” said Fleming. “Then you have large groups of people gatherings and infection spreads.”
Looking ahead, health experts are warning of a possible second surge later in the fall. Fleming said this could come from gatherings around the holidays, especially if people travel to high-risk states such as Florida. In those cases, she recommends people log their travel on Mass.gov and get a COVID-19 test 72 hours before returning. For shorter trips, travelers should get tested as soon as they can.
Another issue is cold and flu season. Fleming said the symptoms can be similar to COVID-19. If someone should come down with these seasonal bugs, it can weaken the immune system and make one more susceptible to a stronger reaction to COVID. Flu shots are available at a number of locations, including CVS and the Board of Health. Fleming said demand has been high, and a number of new faces have been signing up for flu shots. She’s working with Town Hall and the schools to ensure municipal employees are protected.
“People see the value of it and want to be protected,” said Fleming.
Recently the towns of Plainville, Wrentham, and Attleboro experienced a number of cases over a two-week period that have led to them being designated as “red communities” by the Mass Department of Public Health. North Attleborough was for a time designated as “yellow” following some small spikes. It’s now among the towns in the “green” category.