Covid spike continues as town sees more than 170 new cases
Wareham saw 172 new cases of covid-19 this past week — another record-breaking total for the town, bringing the number of covid cases in town to 3,231 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Weekly case totals have been on the rise since about mid-November, and public health officials and health care systems are bracing for a post-holiday spike. The town has been continually breaking its records for weekly totals since Dec. 9, 2021.
Wareham Public Schools were unable to open Monday, due to a number of staff members being ill. As of Jan. 3, the schools hadn’t released a weekly case count, so it is unclear how many of those staff members are sick with covid. (The last report from the schools was dated Dec. 15.)
At the end of December, 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.
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.
The number of vaccinated people in Wareham continues to 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.
Last week, the town distributed 7,000 free covid tests for use at home.
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.