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Just as Governor Charlie Baker tightened parameters in the state to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the federal government announced that vaccinations of essential workers will begin on Dec. 15, and Westford learned it has slipped into the red zone.
In a Facebook announcement released in the late morning of Dec. 12, Westford Town Manager Jodi Ross stated, “Our positive case count has risen fairly dramatically since the end of November.”
There are more than 280,000 COVID cases across Massachusetts, including 5,475 newly reported ones, and there have been 11,257 deaths since the pandemic began in March.
In Westford there are about 437 total cases for the year and about 105 cases between Nov. 26 and Dec. 10. — a swift upward ride leading to the town’s present state. In an attept to curtail the spread of the virus, Ross said several town-owned buildings will remain closed, at least briefly.
“In an attempt to help stop the virus spread and provide increased safety for our staff and residents, effective Monday, December 14th, we are discontinuing our indoor programs at the Cameron Senior Center, and temporarily closing many town buildings to the public,” she stated. “Most of you know we reopened our buildings after our mid-March closure on June 22nd, while many other Massachusetts’ town offices remained closed. We felt it was safe to do so at the time, but the surge we are experiencing now has changed that.”
Town Hall, the J.V. Fletcher Library, the Cameron Senior Center, the Cemetery Office, the Recreation Office, the Water Department and the Highway Department, will all close.
While town employees will work inside the buildings, residents will need to make an appointment before entering, Ross noted.
The U.S. has suffered a devastating loss of 296,000 deaths with more than 16 million cases, according to the CDC.
On Dec. 7, Governor Charlie Baker announced a statewide return to Phase 3, Step 1 of the COVID-19 safety rules, due to decreasing hospital capacity and increasing community transmission of the virus.
But by the end of the week, a startling revelation. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, and believed to be in trial runs, are closer to arriving in Massachusetts than originally believed. According to Mass.gov, 300,000 doses will arrive by the end of this month. It will be administered in phases, first to essential workers such as public health professionals, and next to such community contributors as grocery store workers.
The Board of Health will meet Monday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. to discuss how they will administer the vaccine. Viewers can watch it at westfordcat.org or through live streaming.