GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths and wastewater data are all increasing, all signs point to a rise in COVID activity as fall approaches.

For the first time in months, the COVID-19 risk level in several towns like Greenfield, Montague, Deerfield and Sunderland are considered high by health specialists. Some of the factors causing the surge include the new COVID-19 variant and the start of the school year.

The good news is we’re not heading into this battle without the proper armor to protect ourselves. The FDA just greenlighted updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer and Moderna. These newly formulated shots are able to target the currently circulating variants and they are expected to roll out later this week.

“The booster shot and vaccinations in general is the most important preventative measure that we can utilize in order to prevent complications, including hospitalizations and death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Armando Paez, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Health.

The FDA said anyone age five and older can get an updated booster shot regardless of whether they were previously vaccinated. Dr. Paez says we now have more tools at our disposal to help protect us than we did in previous years but we could see the return of other public health protocols to offer additional protection.

“We know masking is one we have used and social distancing and frequent hand washing and just general hygiene contribute to preventing COVID-19 spread,” said Dr. Paez.

A CDC advisory committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to vote on recommendations
for who should get the latest booster. Once this happens, the CDC can then sign off on those recommendations, and boosting can officially begin.

Local News

Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.