WESTFORD — Westford’s coronavirus cases have risen slightly week over week according to data published by the Department of Public Health on Thursday.
The two week case count has increased to 79 positive cases, up from 69 positive cases reported on Aug. 11.
The positive test rate increased slightly, with 13.20% of tests returning positive, up from 12.77% of tests returning positive on Aug. 11. 94,550 have been administered in Westford so far, with 629 tests administered in the last two weeks.
Westford has reported 4,865 total COVID-19 cases in town. As of Aug. 13, the state has reported over 1.8 million cases of COVID-19. Active cases decreased slightly, with 17,174 cases reported in the last two weeks.
Over the last two weeks, Middlesex County has reported 3,828 positive cases as of Aug. 18. 7.42% of tests have returned positive in the last 14 days, with 4,218 out of 56,870 total tests marked positive.
The rate of positive tests within the state have decreased slightly, with 7.95 % of tests returning positive, down from 8.03% on Aug. 11.
As of Aug. 18, 72 of the 88 intensive care unit beds remain occupied in Northeastern Massachusetts, while 932 of the 936 medical and surgical beds remain occupied in the region.
In the last two weeks, 139 deaths have been reported in Massachusetts, with 27 confirmed and probable deaths reported in Middlesex County in the last two weeks.
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.
“We will not be providing self-tests to bring home in the same way that we were able to when the state was funding the purchase,” Superintendent of Schools Christopher Chew told WestfordCAT in an email. “Our nurses will all still have access to rapid tests in the event that they think that it would be necessary to test a symptomatic individual. We will continue to follow the DESE and DPH guidance”
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