Town reports 182 newly confirmed cases over the past week
Saugus continues to see a significant spike in the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, prompting health officials to call on residents to exercise caution when they are in a crowd – either inside buildings or outside. Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree yesterday (Thursday, Dec. 16) reported there were 182 new cases and one additional death over the last seven days. That brings the total of COVID-19 cases and deaths to 5,783 and 85, respectively, since March of last year when the state Department of Public Health began keeping statistics on how the global pandemic is affecting cities and towns across Massachusetts.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those families affected by this health pandemic,” Crabtree said.
The town has reported 514 new COVID-19 cases since Nov. 22.
At last week’s (Dec. 6) Board of Health meeting, which was conducted via Zoom teleconferencing because of COVID-19 concerns, town Public Health Nurse Teresa Riley-Singh noted that there were already 104 COVID-19 cases through the first six days of the month. By comparison, Riley-Singh said there were 248 COVID-19 cases confirmed during the first week of December last year.
There were 369 new cases reported last month, compared to 443 cases in November of last year, she said.
“We see pretty high numbers around this time,” Riley-Singh said.
“People are more out and about, socializing, going out to eat and having functions and shopping. We can attribute the high numbers to that,” she said.
With the holidays approaching, Riley-Singh called for Saugus residents to remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves from the killer disease.
“I think we’re all frustrated with COVID,” she said.
“But right now is not the time to lax our behavior… We’re in the middle of a holiday season. We’re in the middle of a respiratory season … flu season. Let’s all be vigilant … I do encourage people to continue to wear masks when they’re in places where they don’t know peoples’ vaccine status – [and in crowded areas like] stores, restaurants, holiday gatherings, large gatherings,” she said. “I just think the best protection for everyone right now is wearing those masks when you are indoors and in crowded places. We all have COVID fatigue. We need to continue to be vigilant.”
Public Health Director John R. Fralick III said he agrees that town residents need to take measures to protect themselves. “It’s still here and it’s something that’s going to be prevalent through the course of the foreseeable future,” Fralick said.
“Currently, Saugus is at 16th in Essex County in terms of incidence rate – with a 6.13 positivity rate – pretty much double what the state average is,” he said.
“It’s really everybody’s best defense to be vaccinated,” Fralick said.
The town scheduled a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic yesterday at the Saugus Senior Center.
Meanwhile, after Tuesday’s (Dec. 14) Board of Selectmen meeting, a few members were overheard talking about the return of remote board meetings early next year via Zoom teleconferencing if the confirmed COVID-19 numbers continue their upward trend.
“Right now, we’re averaging about 25 new cases a day, which is a concern,” Town Manager Crabtree said.
“A lot of the kids are getting it now,” he said.