Wareham back to ‘yellow’ covid-19 risk category
After weeks in the “red” category, Wareham has been recategorized as “yellow” in the state’s covid-19 risk reporting.
The town saw 30 new cases of covid-19 in the past week, according to data from the state’s May 6 Weekly Public Health Report. Wareham’s average daily incidence rate decreased to 24.5 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. Given Wareham’s population, this means there were about 5.64 new cases each day over the past two weeks.
Wareham has also seen a percent positivity rate — or the percentage of covid-19 tests performed that come back positive — of 4.6 percent over the last 14 days.
A week ago, the state’s public health report indicated Wareham was seeing roughly 8.07 new cases each day and had a percent positivity rate of 7.39 percent.
Prior to being downgraded to “yellow,” Wareham had been classified “red” since April 8.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,696 coronavirus cases in Wareham.
Everyone over the age of 16 who lives, works or studies in Massachusetts is now eligible to be vaccinated against covid-19.
Although Wareham has a covid-19 vaccine clinic, the town’s vaccination rate lags behind some other Massachusetts communities. According to the state’s May 6 data, only 43 percent of Wareham residents have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine. That amounts to just 10,338 people.
Of the 27 municipalities in Plymouth County reporting vaccination data to the state, Wareham has reported the third-lowest percentage of individuals with at least one dose. Following Wareham’s 43 percent was Middleborough, which reported 41 percent of its population having received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine, and Brockton, which also reported 41 percent.
Every other municipality in Plymouth County reported that at least 47 percent or more of its population had received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.
Local public health experts are encouraging people to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
“I encourage everyone who has not been vaccinated to get vaccinated. The vaccines are very safe,” said Dr. Amy Wiegandt, the chair of the Board of Health at a May 5 meeting. “You yourself will get less sick and, hopefully, others around you won’t get sick because they won’t get it from you. Still, even though you’ve been vaccinated, there’s still a chance you could get covid, so don’t stop wearing your mask.”
Wiegandt said that those who are hesitant to get the vaccine can look on the CDC website for more information, or contact their own doctor.
Southcoast Health’s vaccination clinic at the Gleason Family YMCA has closed, but the healthcare nonprofit opened a new clinic at the town’s Multiservice Center on May 8. The vaccine supply is dependent on the state and could vary from week to week.
Those interested in getting vaccinated through Southcoast can now sign-up as slots are available, either through their MyChart account or at www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccine-scheduling/, which does not require a MyChart account.
Those eligible for the vaccine can find appointments at other providers around the state using the state’s website vaxfinder.mass.gov.
People over the age of 18 can sign up to receive any vaccine, but those age 16 and 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine.
Wareham’s Council on Aging staff has launched a hotline for residents who need help making a covid-19 vaccine appointment. Residents can dial 508-291-3100 Ext. 6530 from 8 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday and staff will assist with finding a mass vaccination site with openings and booking the appointment.
The state has also set up a call center for those who are eligible for the vaccine but 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 two 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.