More than 150 new covid cases bring town’s total to more than 3,000
This week, Wareham set another record for most covid cases in one week — 152 cases, bringing the total number of cases in town to 3,059 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Gov. Charlie Baker recommended everyone wear masks while in public. And Southcoast Health began once again delaying routine procedures to free up capacity to treat covid patients.
The hospital system, which operates Tobey Hospital in Wareham, sent out an email urging everyone to get vaccinated — including a booster shot — noting that vaccination is the best way to avoid getting seriously ill from covid-19.
As of Dec. 21, there were more than 100 COVID-positive patients in Southcoast Health hospitals – Charlton Memorial, St. Luke’s and Tobey, a press release said. In the last 30 days, more than 40 covid-positive patients died at Southcoast Hospitals.
Of the covid-positive patients in intensive care, 89 percent are unvaccinated, the hospital reported. And 75 percent of those hospitalized due to the virus are unvaccinated.
Southcoast Health offers the Pfizer vaccine at its 100 Rosebrook location every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as at other clinics in the region. To find a vaccine, go to vaxfinder.mass.gov.
Vaccination rates in Wareham continue to very slowly increase. Just 62 percent of Wareham residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 56 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.
This week, the town began distribution of free covid tests for use at home.
The town received a total of 7,000 tests in two-packs — meaning there are 3,500 units to be handed out.
Public Health Director Patrick MacDonald said that the town will be handing out a limited number of tests each day at the Wareham Police Department and Onset Fire Station over the next week, with the aim of helping people test themselves before or after Christmas and New Years events.
“If you need a test immediately and can’t find one, please feel free,” MacDonald said. He said that since the supply of free tests is limited, the town is requesting that only those who can’t otherwise afford tests, are unable to find them in stores or need one immediately take advantage of the program.
“We don’t want people to just hoard them,” MacDonald said. “We want people to have them and use them.”
As of Dec. 24, the schools hadn’t released a weekly case count.
Opportunities to get vaccinated
Local public health experts continue to encourage people to get the vaccine as soon as possible — and the state is now offering in-home vaccinations for those unable to get to a vaccination site.
People aged 5 or older who live, work or study in Massachusetts are eligible to be vaccinated against covid-19. Those over the age of 18 can sign up to receive any vaccine, but those ages 5 to 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine.
In Wareham, the CVS on Main Street (419 Main St.), the CVS on Cranberry Highway (2421 Cranberry Hwy Ste 110), the Walgreens on Marion Road (121 Marion Rd.) and the CVS in East Wareham (2992 Cranberry Hwy) offer covid vaccines for those ages 12 and up, either for walk-in visitors or by appointment.
Those eligible for the vaccine can find appointments at providers around the state using the state’s website vaxfinder.mass.gov.
In-home vaccinations can be scheduled by calling 833-983-0485, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. English and Spanish speaking staff are on hand, and have access to translators for over 100 languages. In-home vaccinations are performed by medical professionals following public health guidelines and tailored to the needs of the patient.
In-home vaccinations are performed using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, except for those ages 12 to 17, who would be offered the Pfizer vaccine. Scheduling is based on location, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis.
The state has also set up a call center for those who are unable to access the vaccine appointment website or who have trouble navigating the complex online system.
From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, people can call 211 and navigate to the vaccine help line by pressing one when prompted. The call center has workers on staff who speak English and Spanish, and there are translators available to support residents in about 100 additional languages.