STOP THE SPREAD TESTING SITES EXTENDED TESTING THROUGH March 31ST
Staffing at both test sites has been increased. The staff at the drive-through site has been doubled to lower wait times and increase the volume of vehicles that can be accepted.
Changes have been made in operations at the drive-through site to clearly establish an end point in testing availability each day. We hope to eliminate the possibility of visitors to the site waiting in long lines, only to be turned away at the end of the testing session at 11am or 7pm.
Under the new procedures, the last eligible vehicle for testing (for that day’s testing session) will be established as soon as can be reasonably determined. That vehicle, and any vehicle in line before it, will be tested even if they do not reach the testing area by the set end of the session at 11am or 7pm.
WALK UP COVID-19 Testing Site in Holyoke
As of Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 the Stop the Spread walk-up testing site will be moving across Appleton Street to the War Memorial.
The War Memorial is located at 310 Appleton Street. The lot at 323 Appleton Street may still be used as parking for the test site. Hours of operation will not change at this time.
Testing will take place at the front doors to the War Memorial.
Members of the public seeking a test will not be allowed to enter the building during testing hours.
The line should start at the front door and wrap around on the Maple Street side of the building, if necessary.
Testing hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2pm to 6pm. Testing will run until 3/31/21.
DRIVE UP COVID-19 Testing Site in Holyoke
A Stop the Spread test has opened at Holyoke Community College. Testing will run until 3/31/21.
The location of testing at Holyoke Community College has changed.
A map with the new traffic pattern and testing site location is posted on the Holyoke Board of Health website.
The testing will remain at HCC, but now take place at Lot H.
The test site will still be drive-through.
Hours and days of operation will not change.
– The site will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 7am – 11am. Tuesday and Thursday 2pm -7pm.
– Turnaround time for results is typically 4 days or fewer.
– This test site is first come, first serve. There are no appointments. Please do not call the Health Department or Holyoke Community College to make an appointment.
– The test site at Holyoke Community College is a drive-through only test site. Please do not get out of your vehicle. Signage and Campus Police will be readily apparent to help you access the site easily.
– To help speed up the process, please have your information ready. They will ask for your full name, address (you must be a Massachusetts resident), phone number and email address.
– There is no cost for the testing. You do not need a referral, nor do you need to be symptomatic.
– The test style will be the less invasive swab in the lower nostril. The older style that required further insertion of the swab will not be used.
– If you have previously tested positive, DPH and CDC guidelines do not recommend getting retested at this time.
– If you are acutely symptomatic, particularly if you have a high fever, consider scheduling a test with your Primary Care Physician.
– Information on all of the Stop the Spread test sites across the State can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread
New Massachusetts Vaccine Timeline, Locations: Everything You Need to Know
Gov. Charlie Baker announced an adjusted timeline for the state’s vaccination program on Monday
By Marc Fortier
Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new timeline Monday for COVID-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts. He also released new information on vaccination locations across the state and how to schedule an appointment.
Here’s what you need to know:
When can I get the COVID vaccine?
The state is currently vaccinating all priority groups for Phase 1, and that will continue through the end of February and possibly beyond.
- Clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
- Long-term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
- First responders
- Congregate care settings, including corrections and shelters
- Home-based health care workers
- Health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care
Starting on Monday, Feb. 1, those in Phase 2 will also be able to get vaccinated.
The order of Phase 2 will now be:
- Individuals 75 and up
- Individuals 65 and up, individuals with two or more comorbidities who are at increased risk for severe illness
- Early education and K-12 workers, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health workers
- Individuals with one comorbidity
Phase 2 is expected to run through April.
Starting in April and continuing through June, residents in Phase 3 will be able to get vaccinated.
This includes the rest of the general public. Read the full story here: https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/new-massachusetts-vaccine-timeline-locations-everything-you-need-to-know/2286394/
‘It’s like the Hunger Games;’ Teachers unions in Massachusetts say change in COVID vaccine priority slows down return to in-person learning
By Melissa Hanson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Educators’ unions in Massachusetts say that changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine priority announced by Gov. Charlie Baker slow down the return to safe, in-person learning and make members, students and families “feel like pawns in a chess game.”
Baker on Monday announced that seniors aged 65 and older would be moved up in the state’s priority-based COVID vaccine rollout. Phase 2 of the rollout begins on Feb. 1, with people 75 and older slated to be the first priority group. Residents older than 65, along with residents of all ages with two or more comorbid health conditions, will be able to get shots after the first group.
Other people included in Phase 2, including K-12 employees, will get the shot later in the timeline.
Union leaders believe the change in the plan will delay the inoculation of educators by several weeks.
“The governor keeps pushing schools to reopen for in-person learning more quickly, regardless of the risks to staff and students, yet he has just made it much harder to do that safely,” said Beth Kontos, president of AFT Massachusetts.
Baker defended the state’s decision to roll out the vaccine to more targeted groups than other states, saying the state wanted to focus early on “on some hard to reach populations” and “vulnerable populations … we believed we needed to make sure we got to first.” Read the full story here: https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/01/its-like-the-hunger-games-teachers-unions-in-massachusetts-say-change-in-covid-vaccine-priority-slows-down-return-to-in-person-learning.html
Child care affiliated individuals will now have access to eight rotating testing locations:
Child care affiliated individuals, including educators, staff, children, and household members, will have access to eight rotating testing locations operating 6 days a week with both daytime and evening hours. This new testing opportunity is in addition to the existing resources available in Massachusetts including Stop the Spread testing locations, local testing programs, and testing through primary care doctors.
The sites, operated by Visit Healthcare and open to child care affiliated individuals only, will provide no-cost PCR tests using a simple lower nose swab. Test results will be sent through a secure on-line portal in 48 hours or less which will support programs to react quickly to symptoms and possible exposures. Tests will be available to child care affiliated individuals who are symptomatic, have been identified as close contacts, or who were possibly exposed. More information, including locations and hours can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-testing-for-child-care
As of yesterday there were a total of 4041 confirmed cases in Holyoke >1% increase.
Weekly Public Health Report (Updated Wednesday) Contains town-by-town numbers, long-term care facility information, and more: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-weekly-public-health-report-
Massachusetts comprehensive daily “dashboard” illustrating the spread of this virus across regions and demographics: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-daily-dashboard-
Testing has a turnaround time of 1-5 days and many cases are being clinically diagnosed (no testing or reporting involved). All are advised to behave as though they are carriers of Covid-19.
The curve we need to flatten: County numbers graphed over time can be found here: https://www.wmasscovid.com/
As of today there are 78,171 estimated active cases in MA with 4,222 new cases. There were 43 new deaths. The average age of cases that were hospitalized is 70 years old. The age range trends have changed and now the age range with the highest number of current positive cases is 0-19 year olds, followed by 20-29 year olds, followed by 30-39 year olds. All together the state has a 7-day average positivity rate of 4.44%.