COVID-19 numbers remain steady throughout county

Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2020 3:15:55 PM

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Franklin County hasn’t changed much over the past week, but Greenfield and Sunderland have each inched their way from the state’s low-risk category to the moderate-risk category, with them reporting 13 and 11 new cases over the past two-week period, respectively.

The numbers other towns throughout the county were reporting last week have stayed about the same, even though the state continues to see a “spike” in cases. Franklin County is seeing more of an “uptick” at this point.

What health officials and town leaders continue to be more concerned about is the number of contacts people who are being diagnosed with COVID-19 have had, Franklin Regional Council of Governments Director of Community Services Phoebe Walker said.

Information from the state Department of Public Health about the last two weeks ending Nov. 19 shows that most Franklin County towns still have zero new cases and seven have five or less cases, and that includes the numbers reported last week. Athol has 17 new cases, keeping it in a high-risk category.

“The vast majority of people in Franklin County continue to do the right thing, so we have lower numbers for now anyway,” Walker said.

She said the biggest concern is the upcoming holidays, when people might tend to gather inside, but everyone will have to wait to see what happens. She said towns and the FRCOG have been doing a lot more contact tracing because of the number of people those who have tested positive have been around.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center continued throughout the past week to report each day that one to two patients were hospitalized because of COVID-19, but it is not clear whether they are the same people each day or different patients.

Walker said people should continue to distance themselves from others, stay home as much as possible, wear masks in public, and wash and sanitize their hands regularly.

She said people can’t go into others’ houses without masks on because it is more clear now to health officials that those who are asymptomatic can transmit just as those with symptoms can. She said FRCOG will continue to provide information about how to stay safe throughout the fall and winter.

While the governor has put a mask mandate and curfew in place, Walker said it will be up to individual towns and cities to decide how to enforce them. She said boards of health are most likely to be the enforcers, but will also have the opportunity to ask police departments to help.

“You might see very different reactions and results in different towns,” she said. “We’ll see. But everyone should be wearing a mask in public.”

Baystate Franklin continues to test people for COVID-19 in Greenfield. The site has been moved to 157 High St. Patients pull into the parking lot, a valet directs them to a spot and the testing team goes out to the vehicle to test them. It is more of a drive-in than a drive-thru. For more information, visit bit.ly/3lydqBV.

For more information from the Department of Public Health, visit bit.ly/3kpy85L. For more information from the FRCOG, visit bit.ly/36vRL7b.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@ recorder.com.


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