WINTHROP — Town Manager Austin Faison and Health Director Meredith Hurley are urging residents to more closely follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines following a recent sustained increase in the number of cases of the illness in town.
According to the public health data released on Thursday, Nov. 12, the Town’s designation remains “Yellow,” indicating a “medium risk” in the community. This designation follows the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) update to the calculation of risk designations to better reflect COVID-19 caseload in relation to population. Winthrop’s “Yellow” designation indicates the Town has a daily average of 10 or less cases per 100,000 residents, and a positivity rate less than or equal to 5%.
According to Thursday’s data, there have been 164 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Winthrop over the past two weeks. Winthrop’s average daily incidence rate, which the state uses to calculate risk determinations, has risen to 62.1 per 100,000 residents, up from last week’s rate of 55.3.
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker also announced a variety of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. This follows weeks of increasing cases around the Commonwealth, with COVID-19 cases up 278% and hospitalizations up by 145% since Labor Day. These measures include revisions to the Massachusetts Face Covering Order, reduced gathering limits, and more. Please review the Governor’s new measures by clicking here.
“It is important now more than ever to make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Hurley said. “As you plan for any holiday celebration, please make sure to incorporate the following guidance into all activities.”
With the holiday season upon us, the Town of Winthrop would like to share the following holiday safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration.
- Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible. If hosting an outdoor event is not possible, and you choose to host an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, or fully enclosed indoor spaces. As a reminder, the state’s gathering size limits are 10 people for indoor gatherings at private residences and 25 for outdoor gatherings at private residences.
- Avoid traveling for the holidays as traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread.
- During holiday celebrations, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people you don’t live with, wear a mask and avoid busy eating areas, such as restaurants during high volume mealtimes.
- If you participated in higher risk activities or think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) for 14 days after the event to protect others:
To view more holiday safety tips, visit the CDC’s COVID-19: Holiday Celebration page here.
All community members are urged to take part in the free COVID-19 testing available at the McKenna Basketball Courts, 5 Walden St.
Testing is available at this site on the following days and times:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 2-7 p.m. (drive-through)
- Tuesday and Thursday from 2-7 p.m. (walk-up)
Testing providers are able to provide information in English and Spanish.
A map of additional testing locations available in the state can be found here.
The Town has also released PSAs in English, Spanish and Portuguese that emphasize the importance of testing, which residents can access free of charge in town, as well as what to do in the event they or a member of their household is diagnosed with COVID-19.
General COVID-19 Safety
Town officials would also like to remind residents, especially young adults, of the COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH):
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing — maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others — is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain 6 feet from people outside your household
- Do not shake hands or hug
- Wash your hands often
- Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands.
- Wear a mask in indoor and outdoor public spaces. This does not apply to those under the age of five and thwith underlying health conditions.
- Face coverings should:
- Cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with either ties or ear loops
- Permit breathing without difficulty
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
The Town encourages everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following websites are recommended for the most updated information:
- Town of Winthrop COVID-19 resource page: WinthropCOVID19.com
- Town of Winthrop Official Website: www.town.winthrop.ma.us
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: www.mass.gov/covid-19
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information: Click here or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov