Nearly 90 new covid cases reported in past week
The number of new covid-19 cases in Wareham spiked in the past week, with the town reporting 87 new cases, according to the state’s Nov. 25 data. That’s 39 more cases than last week’s total of 48.
Cases of covid-19 in Wareham schools remain on the rise this week as well.
As of Nov. 24, Wareham Public Schools reported that four Decas Elementary students, five Minot Forest Elementary students, nine Wareham Middle School students and eight High School students had tested positive for covid-19.
A number of students were also quarantined as of Nov. 24, including 15 Decas students, 16 Minot students, 10 Wareham Middle School students and 16 high school students.
In total, that’s 26 students positive for covid-19 and 57 quarantined.
The increase in cases within the school district mirrors the increase in cases townwide, with numbers increasing sharply compared to the numbers reported on Nov. 17. The number of student cases of covid-19 doubled, and the number of quarantined students more than tripled.
As of Nov. 24, five school staff members tested positive for covid-19 — one from Minot Elementary and four from Wareham High School. There are no staff members in quarantine.
During a Nov. 23 Select Board meeting, Select Board member Alan Slavin shared words of caution for Wareham residents.
“It’s extremely important that we be safe this Thanksgiving,” he said, noting that he knew a number of people who canceled holiday plans because they’d tested positive for covid-19 themselves or they’d been exposed. “I really thought we’d be past this by this time, but it seems to be worse all the time.”
Town Administrator Derek Sullivan also commented on what he called the “big jump” in covid-19 cases. He noted that a high percentage — about 59 percent — of those who were vaccine eligible and positive for covid-19 were unvaccinated.
“It’s happening, it’s out there,” he said of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that children between the ages of 5 and 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine — the first covid-19 vaccine approved for that age group.
Parents and caregivers of young children can make an appointment with their pediatrician for their child to get vaccinated, or use the state’s vaxfinder.mass.gov tool to find other locations offering vaccines for children.
Wareham’s average daily incidence rate increased from 26.3 to 33.7 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. Given Wareham’s population, 33.7 cases per 100,000 people means there were about 7.75 new cases each day over the past two weeks.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 2,552 covid-19 cases in Wareham.
Continuing the pattern of previous weeks, Wareham’s vaccination rate lags behind other Massachusetts communities.
According to the state’s Nov. 25 data, 61 percent of Wareham residents have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine. That amounts to 14,700 people.
Wareham reported that 55 percent of its residents — 13,200 people — are fully vaccinated.
Of the 27 municipalities in Plymouth County reporting vaccination data to the state, Wareham has the second-lowest percentage of individuals with at least one dose of the vaccine — having surpassed only Middleborough, which sits at 60 percent.
Every other municipality in Plymouth County reported that at least 67 percent or more of its population had received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.
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.