Worcester’s COVID-19 cases continue downward spiral; school vacation clinics announced

WORCESTER — COVID-19 cases have continued their downward trend as the city takes steps to roll back restrictions.

Worcester now has a seven-day average of 71.6 cases per day, falling for the fourth straight week and the lowest point for the average since Nov. 30, the city said in a release Friday.

Inpatient COVID-19 cases at city hospitals, including in the ICU, have declined to their lowest numbers in two months.

To date, 61% of city residents are fully vaccinated, and 72% have received at least one dose. Of those fully vaccinated, 44% have received a booster dose, a 1% percent increase since last week and ahead of the state average by 2%, the city release said.

The Board of Health’s citywide mask mandate which includes all public indoor spaces, including supermarkets, office buildings and restaurants remains in effect until at least Feb. 18.

Take two on Board of Health vote

After initially voting Monday to lift the mandate, the BOH has a revote scheduled for Wednesday after it was revealed Friday a board member hadn’t been officially sworn in. If the vote to lift the mandate passes again, then masks will be optional in the city starting Friday, Feb. 18.

However, the mask mandate for Worcester’s K-12 public, private, parochial, and charter schools remains in place until March 7. Though the statewide mask mandate for schools expires Feb. 28, the BOH will take an extra week to examine data before committing to the March 7 lifting of masks in schools.

Meanwhile, in accordance to federal and state regulations, mask-wearing continues indefinitely aboard WRTA buses and all means of public transportation, ride shares, trains and airplanes, as well as inside transportation hubs.

Starting Monday, full access to all municipal buildings will return, allowing boards and commissions to meet in person, as well as the reopening the city Senior Center to in-person programming.

The city employee booster mandate remains in place.

School vacation week clinics

The city Friday also announced a special lineup of clinics to be held during school vacation week, Feb. 21-26, that will include family activities, raffles and giveaways:

• 11am-7pm, Feb. 21, Central Community Branch YMCA (766 Main St.)

• 5-7 pm, Feb. 22, Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (484 Main St.)

• 11am-7pm, Feb. 23, Worcester Public Library (Salem Square)

• 2-6 pm, Feb. 24, Boys & Girls Club of Worcester (65 Boys & Girls Club Way)

• 2-5 pm, Feb. 25, Girls Inc. (125 Providence St.)

• 10am-2pm, Feb. 26, Gala Foods Supermarket (664 Main St.)

For a current schedule of weekly walk-up testing, vaccination and booster clinics, go to worcesterma.gov.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Worcester’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations continue downward trend

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