On Monday evening, I shared that NSBORO schools reported 226 cases of Covid over winter break. In the three subsequent days, 202 more cases were reported. 50 of those were at Algonquin, which has seen the highest spike. Another 58 were in Southborough K-8 schools. (While Northborough K-8 schools had more than our town, they also have more students and staff.)
The cases reported for the period starting the half day before winter break represent 55% of the cases this school year.
Testing results weren’t back from this week’s pooled screening. Instead results focused on the pre-holiday screening and more recent tests given for Test-to-Stay and symptomatic students/staff. Below are my updated graphs on the cases and testing.
In today’s weekly update from Superintendent Gregory Martineau, he asked families to help get the numbers back down:
What is clear is that the Omicron variant is more contagious and is having an impact on our learning organization. The District’s goal is to remain open safely, as the data supporting the negative impact of remote learning on students’ health and wellness is compelling. To help achieve this goal, I’m asking for families to:
- Participate in weekly pooled screening (First day of each school week);
- Ensure your child(ren) are wearing high-quality masks: We recommend that students and staff wear well-fitted, multi-layer masks or double mask for added protection; and,
- Keep your child(ren) home from school if they are symptomatic. Oftentimes people think, “It’s just a cold”, “I get a dry cough every winter” or “It’s just my allergies.” Please be vigilant and complete the Daily Self Screening Checklist. Please stay home, even if you have mild symptoms, and notify the school nurse
No information is available about how many students and staff experienced mild vs. severe symptoms.
The district has posted that 98% of faculty self reported as fully vaccinated. As of Wednesday, 87% of ARHS students were fully vaxxed and 24% also had the booster. 80% of Trottier students were fully vaxed. The figure was only 72% at Melican.
Students 12-15 just became eligible for a booster this week, but shots have been hard to come by. The two towns are working on scheduling a clinic. You can click here to get on their email list for when it is available.
State reports published last night report 219 cases in Southborough over 2 weeks based on tests taken by Saturday, January 1st. (Those were taken a day before the Town’s most recently posted data on Monday, but does include results from those tests that wouldn’t have come back yet.)
The data shows a recent decline in official tests taken. However, between media reports and my own experience, that’s likely due more to lack of availability than lack of interest.
Marlborough’s testing facility was reportedly experiencing long lines in the mornings, then turning people away telling them the slots were full for the day. Ashland and Framingham require advance appointments. As of this afternoon, the next available slots in Ashland were January 14th and Project Beacon testing was showing no available slots.
Still, it looks like there are more options now than there were over the holidays. If you are looking to get tested, click here for information on scheduling options.
Meanwhile at the Board of Health’s meeting on Tuesday, they acknowledged that the figures aren’t capturing all the residents taking rapid tests at home. Those with symptoms are advised to contact their primary care physician. And presumably physicians are sharing that data with the state. But there is a likelihood that not everyone is checking in with a doc.
Southborough’s Health Department doesn’t itself have a way of logging those cases even if people did contact them directly. In addition, the Public Health Nurse noted that she is instructed by the state to advise anyone who contacts her to get a “real test” taken. Given the lack of local availability for those tests that just frustrates residents.
The state’s other report shows that residents have continued to get Booster shots. About 55% of residents ages 16 and older have the shots. Below is my updated data on the percent of residents partially vaxed, fully vaxed, and boostered: