WESTFORD — Westford’s coronavirus cases have continued to decrease week over week according to data published by the Department of Public Health on Thursday.
The two week case count has decreased to 69 positive cases, down from 71 positive cases reported on Aug. 4.
The positive test rate decreased slightly, with 12.77% of tests returning positive, down from 13.48% of tests returning positive on Aug. 4. 94,247 have been administered in Westford so far, with 603 tests administered in the last two weeks.
Westford has reported 4,825 total COVID-19 cases in town. As of Aug. 6, the state has reported over 1.8 million cases of COVID-19. Active cases decreased slightly, with 18,477 cases reported in the last two weeks. The average daily case rate decreased to 18.8 cases per day, down from 19.9 cases per day.
Middlesex County remains slightly below the state positivity rate, with an average of 18.3 cases per day. Of the 60,245 tests administered in the county in the last two weeks, 4,616 have returned positive.
The rate of positive tests within the state have decreased slightly, with 8.03% of tests returning positive, down from 8.13% on July 30.
As of Aug. 9, 77 of the 92 intensive care unit beds remain occupied in Northeastern Massachusetts, while 885 of the 916 medical and surgical beds remain occupied in the region.
In the last two weeks, 80 deaths have been reported in Massachusetts, with 25 deaths reported in Middlesex County.
COVID-19 guidelines updated
The Centers for Disease control updated its COVID-19 guidance for individuals and schools on Thursday.
“We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author in a news release.
The CDC no longer recommends test-to-stay in schools, a tool that had been used to allow a close-contact to remain in the classroom if they were asymptomatic and tested negative.
In addition, unvaccinated people no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19. Instead, the CDC recommends any individual who has been exposed to COVID-19 but is asymptomatic should wear a face mask for 10 days and get tested five days after exposure.
Isolation is still recommended for people with COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status, the CDC recommends individuals isolate for at least five days after a positive test.
If after day five any fever is gone and symptoms are improving, the isolation period can end. Masking is still recommended for another five days.
People with COVID-19 are also recommended to receive two negative tests 48 hours apart before going out in public again without a mask, or after day 10. If both tests are negative, people can leave their homes and not use a mask around others.
In addition, the CDC says it is now deemphasizing six feet of social distancing.
DESE to no longer provide self-tests
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will no longer supply self-tests or other COVID-19 testing services to districts this fall.
DESE and DPH have begun to recommend that schools and districts implementing their own testing program to limit testing to symptomatic cases. Districts can still purchase self-test kits through a statewide contract.
WestfordCAT reached out to Superintendent of Schools Christopher Chew, who was unavailable for comment regarding Westford Public Schools’ COVID-19 protocols at the time of reporting.
Local journalism is vital to our communities. As other publications shift focus toward regional journalism, WestfordCAT continues to provide high-quality hyperlocal reporting to our town, free for everyone to read. So — we have a small favor to ask. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, helps us sustain our journalism and keep our community informed. Please consider supporting WestfordCAT for as little as $1 on PayPal.