NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Northampton’s Board of Health Monday issued a mask mandate that went into affect starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, August 11.
According to a statement issued by the Northampton Health Department, the new mandate comes as a response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases seen throughout the Northampton and surrounding areas. The rise in cases is largely attributed to the Delta Variant, which now accounts for approximately 85% of positive cases in the Bay State.
Due to both unvaccinated and vaccinated people having the ability to spread the virus, the new mandate requires all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering when indoors in public settings.
“Unfortunately, this pandemic is not over. . . It is ongoing and evolving. As a result, public health guidance and regulations must adapt to meet new demands and new threats. As we observe COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising rapidly in all our surrounding Massachusetts counties, and as we monitor our own increases in transmission in Northampton and Hampshire County, our goal is to stay one step ahead while we have that chance. As the last remaining county in Massachusetts not to reach a level of substantial or high transmission, our goal is to prevent this level of transmission from occurring and to prevent our public health and healthcare systems from once again becoming overwhelmed.”Merridith O’Leary | Northampton Public Health Director
Currently, vaccines are still considered to be the most effective option in reducing infections across the country. While health agencies across the world are seeing some breakthrough cases, vaccinated individuals who contract the virus are rarely seeing severe symptoms but are able to spread COVID-19.
The Northampton Health Department will continue to offer regular weekly pop-up vaccine clinics three times a week throughout the area. Information on these clinics can be found on the City of Northampton’s website.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free with neither insurance nor ID required to get the shot. The clinics offer both the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines for all members of the public.