Hopkinton COVID-19 update for Jan. 7: CDC recommendations change; town expands vaccine offerings

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Editor’s note: This is the town of Hopkinton’s COVID-19 update for Jan. 7.

COVID-19 Updates and Precautions
Jan. 7 update

Previous updates and additional information and resources can be found here:
coronavirus-hopkintonma.hub.arcgis.com/

Hopkinton continues to see an uptick in the number of positive cases. As we are seeing the Omicron variate 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. 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 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 Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Interactive Dashboard remains a valuable resource to review rates and trends:
mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-interactive-data-dashboard-

You can also read more about recent changes and updates by reading the Hopkinton Health Department’s Summary of Actions (Jan. 3) by clicking here.

CDC Shortens Recommended Time for Isolation for Individuals with COVID-19 — NEW INFO
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.
mass.gov/info-details/isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-for-the-general-public

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 others.

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 — NEW INFO
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.

Hopkinton Public Schools — NEW INFO
The Hopkinton Public Schools are experiencing very high COVID-19 positivity. COVID-19 positive asymptomatic, or symptomatic faculty, staff and students should not attend school.

Hopkinton moves to remote only public meetings — REMINDER
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 — REMINDER
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

Mask Policy Re-instituted at Town Buildings — REMINDER
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.

COVID (Breakthrough) Cases Among Fully Vaccinated Individuals in Massachusetts
On Dec. 20, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a review of breakthrough COVID-19 cases which shows that nearly 97% of breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated individuals did not result in death or hospitalization. The data is clear — the vaccine is effective.

Learn more: bit.ly/32e2epI
See the data: bit.ly/32bxvcR

Vaccine Info — Where and How
mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine
Find a location using vaxfinder.mass.gov/

Everyone aged 18 or older who received Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago can get any booster. Click here for more information.

Ages 16-17 also now are available to get a Pfizer booster.
More info on the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from the CDC can be found here:
cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html

CDC Recommends Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5 to 11 Years
Click here for more information.

Testing — Where and How
mass.gov/covid-19-testing
mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test

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

State of Emergency Lifted as of June 15, 2021
On May 28, Governor Baker announced the State of Emergency would be lifted as of June 15. More info here:
https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-issues-order-rescinding-covid-19-restrictions-on-may-29-and-terminating-state-of-emergency-effective-june-15

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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

Complete list of Emergency Orders and Guidance from Mass.gov
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-state-of-emergency

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