By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
With cases in North Attleborough mirroring what was seen this time last year, vaccinations are strongly recommended before large holiday gatherings.
Board of Health Director Anne Marie Fleming wrote in an e-mail that in November 2020, 238 cases of COVID were reported. This November, 277 were reported. Due to the Delta variant, there has been a significant increase in deaths. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts is seeing an average of 17.7 deaths every seven days related to COVD-19. In the majority of these cases, the patients had not yet received their vaccination.
“Last December we had 518 cases,” wrote Fleming. “We are at 254 for the first two weeks in December. This is the fourth consecutive week of increases in cases. We had 158 cases this week and 96 last week.”
The town’s positivity rate stands at 8.5 percent, well into the Red designation according to the Mass DPH. This is a designation set for towns that have a 14-day positivity rating of 5 percent or higher. Fleming doesn’t recommend against family gatherings for the holidays, but said that vaccinations are the best precaution for everyone’s safety. Barring that, masking and social distancing are good secondary precautions that will help if someone is present with an undiagnosed case of COVID.
Fleming said that since COVID vaccines were authorized for children ages 5-11, clinics have been arranged by District Nurse Leader Missy Badger and that they tend to fill up quickly.
“There are many children to go but it’s happening,” said Fleming.
A frequent question people ask is when the pandemic ends. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a pandemic as a disease outbreak that has spread across multiple countries and continents and usually impacts many people.
“As long as there continues to be new variants that impact countries across the world at the same time, with large numbers of people affected, we will be in a pandemic,” said Fleming. “There have been flu pandemics with many deaths, but vaccinations helped break them.”