ANDOVER — Andover officials wish to provide the community with information regarding COVID-19 variants.
As a virus mutates, variants of that virus will emerge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the United States and across the world.
Scientists are currently gathering and analyzing data regarding how contagious these variants are and how severely ill they can make someone.
“It’s vital that you continue to take the necessary steps to protect yourself against all strains of COVID-19,” Director of Public Health Thomas Carbone said. “This means wearing a mask when in public, practicing social distancing, getting vaccinated and most importantly, staying home if you are sick.”
Currently, there are three variants of concern that have been identified in Massachusetts: B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom; B.1.351, which was first identified in South Africa; and Variant P.1, which was first identified in Brazil. It is believed that these three variants are highly contagious and spread quickly.
According to the CDC, in Massachusetts there have been 1,100 identified cases of someone who contracted the B.1.1.7 variant, 12 people who contracted the B.1.351 variant and 102 people who contracted the P. 1 variant, as of April 12. For the latest data, click here.
As shown by the graph above, cases of COVID-19 in Andover spiked in December and began to subside into February, but are again trending upward in persons age 60 and under. However, cases in persons age 61 and older have continued to decrease since vaccine was made available to these age groups starting in January. This indicates that the vaccine is making a difference in preventing disease transmission, but until more people are vaccinated, residents must continue to make precautions a priority.
Residents are advised that they should continue practicing COVID-19 prevention measures to protect themselves from these variants. This includes wearing a mask whenever in public, practicing social distancing by staying six feet away from those who do not live in your household, washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, and staying home when feeling ill.
Residents are also reminded that getting the COVID-19 vaccine once you become eligible will help protect you, as well as your family, friends, coworkers and community from COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 vaccines may not be as effective at preventing someone from contracting and falling ill from a variant of COVID-19, however they should still provide some protection.
The general public becomes eligible for vaccination on April 19. To find an appointment:
- Preregister at VaccineSignUp.mass.gov to be notified when it’s your turn to schedule an appointment at a mass vaccination site. The closest mass vaccination site is at the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers.
- Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for appointments at pharmacies, health care providers, and other community locations
The Town continues to closely monitor the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular updates and case information can be found on their official website, at www.Andoverma.gov/coronavirus.