COVID-19 cases in Springfield declining after the holidays – Western Massachusetts News

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – As Springfield schools continue their mask advisory for students, the latest COVID-19 numbers across the city have gone down.
Doctors said the new XBB 1.5 variant is more transmissable than all other forms of COVID-19 and with the potential of a post-holiday COVID-19 surge, the city’s Department of Health and Human Services hopes their mask advisory will stop the spread.
Last week, Springfield Public Schools sent out a mask advisory for students in anticipation of a post-holiday surge of COVID-19. According to the numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services, just before the holiday break, COVID-19 cases were at a six-week high at 375 cases, then Springfield saw a sharp decline over the holidays. By Christmas, Springfield had 316 confirmed cases and for New Year’s Day, there were 317 cases.
Helen Caulton-Harris, Springfield’s Commissioner of Health and Human Services, told Western Mass News that the mask advisory currently in place is a preventative measure to keep COVID-19 cases on the decline.
“Springfield Public Schools, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, wanted to make sure that we were at least informing our students and our staff about a new variant and the transmissibility,” Caulton-Harris explained.
The department also has had its focus on the new XBB 1.5 variant with experts saying it’s the most transmissible COVID-19 variant yet. Caulton-Harris told Western Mass News that when you pair that with the flu and RSV, the possibility of a sickness surge is more likely if we don’t protect against it.
“We’re going into colder weather, people will gather inside. We’re not only concerned about COVID. Obviously, the flu is something we’re concerned about as well and RSV, so this ‘tripledemic’, as it’s called, is something that we’re keeping a close watch on,” Caulton-Harris added.
As for the effect of the mask advisory, only time will tell. Caulton-Harris told Western Mass News it will take some time for the data to affect COVID-19 numbers.
“I would not expect that we saw a decrease at this point. It usually takes a couple of weeks to influence data,” Caulton-Harris than
Caulton-Harris added that school-aged students and the elderly are the two most affected groups when it comes to contracting COVID-19.
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