Covid Update: 324 cases; School issues FAQ on plans for weekly student testing

Jan19 - tracking Covid in Southborough

Above: The Town’s Covid-19 figures were updated as of yesterday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

It’s time for an update on the Town and school’s Covid-19 situation.

Updated Southborough figures

Yesterday afternoon, the Town posted updated Covid-19 figures (as of 3:45 pm on January 19th). As of the update, 48 cases were confirmed in the prior 14 days, 22 of those in the prior week.

The Town’s cumulative total over the course of the pandemic was increased to 324 cases with 74 cases currently labeled active. (For details, click on graphs above and below.)

Jan 15 - Covid by ages in SouthboroughJan 15 - Covid by ages in Southborough over time Jan 19 - Cumulative total Covid in Southborough Jan 19 - Confirmed per Day in Southborough over 14 days

New Reporting Schedule & Public Health Update

The Town’s Covid-19 page now states that going forward data will be updated only on Mondays and Thursdays.

Last week, Southborough’s Public Health Nurse Emily Amico informed me that the burden of constant updates was making it difficult to ensure data shared was accurate. She noted that most other Towns were posting updates only on a weekly basis. She was working with the new Public Health Director to reassess a reporting schedule.

On a semi-related note, the Advisory Committee is scheduled tonight to vote on a potential reserve fund transfer for the cost of replacing Amico with a full time Public Health Nurse. (Amico, who was originally hired to work part time, submitted her notice in December. She stated her willingness to remain in the position through February 10th.)

Two weeks ago, Town Administrator Mark Purple updated selectmen that the difference between the part time position originally budgeted and the full time position needed for the Public Health Department could be eligible for CARES Act funding. Advisory’s vote is intended to be a “backstop” in case that funding doesn’t come through.

The job posting for a new full time nurse has been posted to the Town’s website. You can find that here. The deadline to apply is January 29th.

Risk classifications by Town

Last week’s report from the Mass Department of Public Health kept Southborough in the red. It showed the Town’s Average Daily Incidence Rate per 100,000 as 42.1 (higher than the prior report) and the % of tests confirmed positive as 3.57% (classified as “no change”).*

The state shifted Northborough and Hopkinton back into red with Southborough, Ashland, Marlborough, and Framingham. Westborough was our only direct neighbor still listed as yellow.

NSBORO School District Data & News

On Friday, Northborough-Southborough Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Martineau updated parents on the planned Covid-19 screening program for students.

The target is to launch weekly testing beginning the first week of February. Detailed information on registration and the process will be shared sometime this week. In the meantime, he shared this FAQ on the pool testing process.

During last week’s Southborough School Committee meeting, Martineau shared that the district is preparing for the possibility of increased in-person learning. The potential, eventual shift of Hybrid attendance from 2 to 4 days per week depends on a number of factors. Part of that is assessing and communicating to parents the amount of increased risk that would be involved. The district is working with an engineering firm to develop a “calculator” to evaluate that for each classroom. (I’ll share more details on that in a future update.)

The district’s Covid Dashboard was updated on Sunday. It shows 21 cases were confirmed in the district last week, 168 over the course of the pandemic. The number of students/staff kept home for isolation/quarantine was 209 last week. 

The schools’ data is below, followed by my charts capturing data since the start of school from past announcements.

Jan 16 - NSBORO Covid Dashboard p 1 Jan 16 - NSBORO Covid Dashboard p3 Jan 16 - New cases in NSBORO schools by week Jan 16 - NSBORO Students-Staff in Quarantine-Isolation

*The state reports are issued on Thursday evenings, based on data covering the results from tests taken in the 14 day period ending on the prior Saturday. In this case, that was a January 14th report for tests taken through January 10th.

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