Editor’s note: This is the town of Hopkinton’s COVID-19 update for Jan. 21.
COVID-19 Updates and Precautions
Jan. 21 update
Hopkinton continues to see an uptick in the number of positive cases. On Thursday, Jan. 13, the MDPH reported the highest 14-day percent positivity for the Town of Hopkinton since the start of the pandemic (21.24%). As we are seeing the omicron variant spreading more quickly and easily than past variants, we are also seeing less severe infections. However, given the quick spike in cases, it takes a lower percentage of hospitalizations before healthcare facilities may become overwhelmed. It also presents a significant disruptive risk to our businesses, schools, day-cares and municipal departments, as we have already seen several businesses have to close or modify their operating hours due to illness. Please continue to do your part to prevent the spread. The best thing you can do is get vaccinated if you’re able to. And stay home if you are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19.
During this time, our local metric reporting data may lag, as we work to ensure accurate reporting. As such, you may see a longer delay in new metrics being updated on Hopkinton’s Community Impact Dashboard. We are also rethinking how we best illustrate the severity and impact within our local area.
The surge in omicron cases and the MDPH’s support of home testing created a lag in reporting. As a policy, the MDPH does not record home administered antigen tests. Subsequently, there remains both a lag in our local metric reporting and a significant undercount of our actual cases. As such, we recommend that residents refer to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Interactive Dashboard for MDPH reported municipal data. mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-interactive-data-dashboard-
COVID-19 SMART Health Card — NEW INFO
You can request, view and print your vaccination records and your COVID-19 SMART Health Card from the official Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS). More info here: myvaxrecords.mass.gov You may contact your primary care physician or local public health department with questions or corrections.
Free COVID-19 Home Test Kits — NEW INFO
The federal government is providing free tests to every household to expand greater access to testing. The initial program will allow four free tests to be requested per residential address. Starting Jan. 19, Americans will be able to order their tests online at COVIDTests.gov, and tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. covidtests.gov.
Resources for Face Coverings — NEW INFO
Evolving research indicates that the omicron variant is spread through aerosolized droplets, enabling it to bypass the sinuses, infecting the pharynx. The use of N95 and KN95 face coverings have been demonstrated to reduce the exposure risk. ProjectN95 vets the manufacturers of personal protective equipment and testing kits that it posts on its website. They are a trustworthy source of information for individuals shopping for PPE and test kits. projectn95.org/
Resources for Behavioral Health from HYFS — NEW INFO
This resurgence in the pandemic has caused an increased need for mental health support and care. Taking a behavioral health screening could be a helpful tool in assessing how you are doing. Remember you are not alone. Please reach out to Hopkinton Youth and Family Services if help is needed.
Many resources are available. Visit Hopkinton’s Youth and Family Services COVID-19 Resources Page by clicking here.
Vaccine Information — REMINDER
CDC updated recommendations for when many people can receive a booster shot, shortening the interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine; and recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5-to-11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.
CDC also updated recommendations to expand eligibility of booster doses to those 12 to 15 years old. CDC now recommends that adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 5 years and older for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). People ages 5-17 can get the Pfizer vaccine. People age 18+ can get any vaccine.
- A primary series for anyone ages 5 and older who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts is eligible for a vaccine. Health care providers can also vaccinate their patient panels regardless of place of residency.
- Updated An additional (third) mRNA primary series dose for people ages 5 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, at least 28 days after the completion of the second mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose.
- Updated a booster dose for ages 12 and older.
- You’re eligible for a booster if:
○ Updated Pfizer: It’s been at least 5 months since the primary series.
■ The minimum interval for a booster dose, following a Pfizer primary series, has been shortened to 5 months.
○ Moderna: It’s been at least 6 months since the primary series.
○ Janssen/J&J: It’s been at least 2 months since the primary series.
CDC shortens the recommended time for isolation for individuals with COVID-19
On Dec. 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened the recommended time for isolation for individuals with COVID-19.
This link contains the flowcharts and information needed to determine what to do if you have tested positive or been exposed to someone who has.
If you test positive for COVID-19 (isolate)
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:
● Stay home for 5 days.
● If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
● Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
The Department of Public Health is adopting updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding isolation and quarantine periods for the general population, effective immediately. For the general public, this updated guidance shortens the recommended time for isolation and quarantine from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around
The updated isolation guidance applies to K-12 schools. At this time, quarantine guidance for K-12 schools remains unchanged. DESE’s current mask requirement and Policy on Vaccination Rate Threshold remains in effect.
Vaccine Calendar updated
The Hopkinton Health Services Vaccine Calendar has been updated with dates in January. Moderna Mondays are back for Jan. 10, Jan. 17 and Jan. 24 as well as Pfizer booster clinics on consecutive Thursdays, Jan. 13 and Jan. 20.
Click here for the calendar — registration is required and more info can be found on the calendar.
Mask Policy Re-instituted at Town Buildings
Effective Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Town of Hopkinton implemented the following policy:
All employees and visitors inside the municipal offices will be required to wear face coverings. Employees can remove their face coverings at their desk and in their immediate work area. In public areas, away from their desk, the expectation is that everyone will wear a face covering. When two or more employees are in the same municipal vehicle, face coverings will also be required.
Hopkinton moves to remote only public meetings
Due to the recent surge in COVID cases, effective immediately, all town board and committee meetings must be held remotely, with no in-person attendance by board members or the public. You can find public meetings posted on Hopkinton’s web meeting calendar, which can be found on the town’s website homepage, scrolling down below the “Welcome to Hopkinton” message.
The need for remote meetings will continue to be reviewed, and another notice will be distributed if the policy changes.
Mask Advisory for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Residents
Effective Dec. 21: In response to the spread of the Delta variant and the emerging Omicron variant, the Department of Public Health now advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home). The DPH particularly urges this recommendation if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. More info here: mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-mask-requirements
SMOC Fuel Assistance
Applications are currently being accepted for the home heating fuel assistance program through SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council). Click here for more information.
COVID Prevention and Treatment
Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
● Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
● Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
● Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
● Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
● Utilize a face covering when warranted.
● Get vaccinated.
See more info from Mass.gov here: mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-prevention-and-treatment
Hopkinton also posts frequently on social media. Our Twitter is the best place to keep up with all happenings Hopkinton. You don’t need an account to see our twitter feed: https://twitter.com/HopkintonMA