Local communities worried about increase in COVID-19 cases


HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – With the holidays approaching, concerns about COVID-19 are increasing as many local communities report a spike in cases.

In Holyoke, the mayor has chosen not to impose mask wearing at this time, but that may change depending on the trend in the number of cases.

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia told 22News: “As long as each of us does our part, we can prevent the increase in cases.”

COVID-19 is not slowing down as communities prepare for the holidays. Mask warrants are making a comeback, with Westfield being the latest community to bring them back to stop further infections.

From last week to this one, new cases more than doubled in Holyoke, from 50 to 107. That’s a number that wasn’t high enough for the mayor to implement a mask warrant, though. that he does not cancel it.

“We can also prevent the implementation of a mask warrant. This is not the direction in which we want to go. If you understand if we have one too, my administration will mandate one if we have one too, ”added Mayor Garcia.

Distance learning is still not an option for Massachusetts schools. The Superintendent of Holyoke is a firm believer in keeping children in school.

“We have to make sure that we increase that attendance rate. I know we ask families to keep their children at home if they are sick. But we have a test and stay program and it’s designed to keep our kids in school and safe, ”said Anthony Soto, Principal of Holyoke School.

The city has received 25,000 new test kits, and schools will receive a large part of them. Despite Omicron’s rise to power, local health officials say Delta is still the biggest threat, among the variants, and is responsible for most hospitalizations.

Hospitalizations continue to increase locally. Baystate Health now supports 142 COVID-19 patients in their hospitals, 14 more than Thursday.


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