×Worcester health officials have issued a citywide mask advisory due to a surge in positive COVID-19 cases. More Info

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Worcester Residents Advised to Wear Masks Indoors as COVID-19 Surge Continues

For Immediate Release: 5/13/2022 3:53 pm

WORCESTER – With the number of new positive COVID-19 cases reaching their highest point since February and increasing levels of COVID-19 in regional wastewater, city health officials today issued an advisory strongly encouraging residents to wear masks when indoors and around others. In addition, they recommended that all eligible residents be up to date on vaccines and boosters, avoid crowded spaces when possible, and get tested for COVID-19 when exhibiting symptoms.

Since its 2022 low on March 12, Worcester’s seven-day daily average of new positive COVID-19 cases has risen steadily the past eight weeks to 128.9. Hospitalizations at the city’s hospitals have also increased, with the total number of COVID-19-positive inpatients currently at 72, with 11 in intensive care. To date, 534 Worcester residents have passed away due to COVID-19.

Additional data related to the city’s case counts, vaccination status, wastewater, and hospitalization numbers can be viewed on its new COVID-19 dashboard.

The seven-day daily average of new positive cases in Shrewsbury and Grafton have increased to 26.8 and 11.7, respectively. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated Worcester County’s Community Level to High.

Despite the current trend in Worcester, health officials are encouraged by the current Omicron subvariant’s status in the United Kingdom, which has tracked several weeks ahead of the United States. Cases there have rapidly dropped since a peak in late March/early April.

In an effort to mitigate the local surge, Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh, UMass Memorial Health President and CEO Dr. Eric Dickson, and Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson issued a joint statement to all Worcester residents, in which they specifically advise:

  1. Unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible
  2. Vaccinated individuals to stay up to date with their boosters
  3. Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors, particularly if you or someone you know has increased risk of COVID-19 complications due to factors such as:
    • Age (60 or older)
    • Immunocompromised or experiencing illness
    • Living with a chronic condition like lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or obesity
  4. Avoiding crowded spaces whenever possible
  5. If you attend, wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces (such as graduations or sporting or music events)
  6. When dining at a restaurant, wearing your mask as much as possible
  7. If you or a member of your household are feeling cold or flu symptoms, testing yourselves and staying home from work and school 

Free COVID-19 vaccines and boosters continue to be offered with no appointment necessary at standing clinics four days a week in Worcester:

  • UMass Memorial Health clinic at the Mercantile Center (100 Front Street): Mondays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (also offering PCR testing)
  • Worcester Public Library: Wednesdays, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

A full schedule of vaccine and booster clinics around the city can be found at worcesterma.gov/coronavirus/vaccination.

In addition to the citywide advisory, face coverings remain mandatory at Worcester hospitals. Any other business, institution, or organization may also enact its own mask requirement, and the city has made mask advisory signs available to download on its website.

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