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
‘We have work to do’: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says universal masking, proper social distancing and ‘de-densification’ needed for schools to reopen
By Jackson Cote | firstname.lastname@example.org
Universal masking, proper social distancing and a “de-densification” of classrooms are among the public health measures needed for schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an interview with CNN over the weekend, noting there’s “work to do.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, made the comments during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. She brought up a recent morbidity and mortality weekly report from the federal agency that showed around 60% of students are reported to be reliably masking.
The public health official appeared to be referencing a Feb. 12 MMWR in which roughly 65% of middle and high school students aged 13 to 21 sampled by the CDC reported their fellow students wore a mask “all the time” in the classroom and in hallways or stairwells.
“That has to be universal, so we have work to do, especially when the country remains in the red zone of high community transmission,” Walensky told CNN. “As that transmission comes down, we’ll be able to relax some of these measures, but the real point is to make the science is consistent with our guidance, which is consistent to say: Until we can ensure that we have all those measures happening, schools wouldn’t be safe.”
Her comments echo recent guidance from the CDC that says schools can reopen for in-person instruction given strategies to stave off transmission of the viral respiratory infection, like mask-wearing, are being followed consistently and fully.
In its guidance, the CDC put emphasis on the need for universal mask-wearing, physical distancing of at least 6 feet, hand-washing, cleaning, maintenance and contact tracing done in combination with isolation and quarantine.
Even if the COVID-19 transmission risk is high in a city or town, putting the community in the “red,” the CDC recommended elementary schools continue to use a hybrid instruction of remote and in-person learning with key mitigation strategies in place. Read the full story here: https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/02/we-have-work-to-do-cdc-director-dr-rochelle-walensky-says-universal-masking-proper-social-distancing-and-de-densification-needed-for-schools-to-reopen.html
Mass. Residents 65 and Older Will Be Eligible for COVID Vaccine Starting Thursday
Anyone with two or more specific medical conditions, including asthma, will also be eligible to book appointments
Massachusetts Expands Vaccine Eligibility
Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that Massachusetts residents age 65 or older or with two or more specific medical conditions, including asthma, will be eligible to book appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Thursday.
Residents and staff of public and private low-income and affordable senior housing will also be eligible to receive the vaccine.
The announcement means an additional 1 million people will become eligible for the vaccine. Due to extremely high demand for appointments and limited vaccine supply, officials said it could take more than a month for all eligible residents to secure an appointment.
“Unless we see a massive increase in shipments from the feds, it will take us at least a month for people in these new groups to be able to book their first vaccine appointment,” Baker said. “Believe me, we all know that sounds like a long time, but the demand is so much greater than the supply we’re getting at this time.”
“None of us thinks this program is moving fast enough,” he added. “But you can’t vaccinate people if you don’t have enough vaccine to make available.”
Over 70,000 new vaccination appointments are scheduled to be posted at mass vaccination sites in Springfield, Danvers, Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium at 8 a.m. Thursday. Read the full story here: https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/baker-to-give-update-on-mass-covid-vaccine-rollout/2304917/
As of yesterday there were a total of 4461 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 39,916 estimated active cases in MA with 1,322 new cases. There were 49 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 2.20%.