Easthampton Health Department advising people to wear masks inside public places

Coronavirus Local Impact

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Easthampton is reporting a rise in COVID-19 cases, as the more infectious Delta variant continues to spread.

The Easthampton Health Department reports there are 1,039 total cases in which 31 are current active cases. From July 28 to August 3, 18 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported. Of the reported cases, 12% were fully vaccinated as of August 6.

In a news release sent to 22News from the Easthampton Health Director Bri Eichstaedt, the Health Department is advising all persons in the City of Easthampton, over the age of 5, to wear a mask in all public indoor areas, regardless of vaccination status.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

On Monday, August 16, the City of Easthampton will hole two vaccine clinics. Both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines will be available to anyone 12 years or older.

  • Easthampton Community Center from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Big E’s parking lot from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Amy Hardt, MPH, RN of the Easthampton Health Department explains the importance of getting vaccinated:

“What does this mean in terms of our behavior? I believe that it’s time to mask up again in public indoors and at crowded outdoor gatherings, and think twice (maybe thrice) about any end of summer travel plans,” said the Easthampton Health Department in a statement.

“As far as being able to spread the Delta variant if you contract it and are fully vaccinated, multiple studies say yes, this is not only possible, but within the first 6 days of infection, viral loads in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals are almost the same.

The difference is that vaccinated folks are able to process and eliminate the virus in their system faster, resulting in an average of around 9 infectious days versus possibly up to 15 days for those unvaccinated.

So if you are vaccinated, you are less likely to spread it to others over the full course of your infection, though at the beginning (when you probably will have no idea you are a carrier) you are just as likely to spread it as someone who did not get the vaccine. Initially, data suggested Delta was not so concerning in terms of increased severity, but dramatically rising hospitalization rates over the past couple of months have proved otherwise. And not just unvaccinated folks, either.”

Amy Hardt, Public Health Nurse

According to CDC data collected from August 1 through August 7, Hampshire County is ranked as “moderate”, the only county in Massachusetts with remaining at the lowest. The four levels of community transmission are low, moderate, substantial, and high.

Hampshire County has 74 positive COVID-19 cases of 6,188 tested with 0.68% positivity rate for the week reported. There was one person admitted to the hospital. Residents that are fully vaccinated are 55.6% (89,435) of the total population.

CDC: Level of Transmission by County

  1. Barnstable County – Substantial, 206 cases
  2. Berkshire County – High, 135 cases
  3. Bristol County – High, 760 cases
  4. Dukes County – High, 23 cases
  5. Essex County – Substantial, 612 cases
  6. Franklin County – Substantial, 42 cases
  7. Hampden County – High, 522 cases
  8. Hampshire County – Moderate, 74 cases
  9. Middlesex County – Substantial, 1,190 cases
  10. Nantucket County – High, 62 cases
  11. Norfolk County – Substantial, 468 cases
  12. Plymouth County – Substantial, 468 cases
  13. Suffolk County – High, 873 cases
  14. Worcester County – Substantial, 620 cases

The CDC recommends people in substantial or high transmission areas wear a mask indoors in public places to reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant. Anyone with a weakened immune system regardless of transmission level are also encouraged to wear a mask.

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