Springfield, MA – By order of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Board of Health, the City of Springfield will implement a citywide mask mandate policy, regardless of vaccination status, effective Monday, September 13, 2021 and will remain in effect until November 1, 2021,unless otherwise amended or rescinded.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris joined with Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack, Mercy Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Roose and City Council President Marcus Williams today for a COVID-19 Situational Update Press Conference to announce the mask mandate policy.
The mask mandate is for all public places including municipal buildings, private businesses, and public gatherings and events to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Before the press conference and prior meetings with Mayor Sarno and HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris, early this morning Dr. Keroack and Dr. Roose met with members of the business community and the Economic Development Council to discuss this coming mandate. Also, Mayor Sarno and HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris met with our Springfield Thunderbirds Hockey ownership group. Mayor Sarno appreciates their cooperation and understanding and he looks forward to attending their upcoming season opener as a season ticket holder. “At this time, we are only mandating that people wear a mask or face covering. We are not imposing any capacity limitations,” Mayor Sarno said.
The City of Springfield continues to see a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in our younger population, and an increase in the Delta variant. For the week of August 29, 2021, the City reported 547 cases, with 55% or 300 of the 547 case being under the age of 30. Below is the weekly breakdown of cases over the past five weeks.
|Week of July 25, 2021||122|
|Week of August 1, 2021||279|
|Week of August 8, 2021||374|
|Week of August 15, 2021||477|
|Week of August 22, 2021||517|
|Week of August 29, 2021||547|
In addition, the City of Springfield and Hampden County continues to lag behind the state average vaccination rate, though through no fault of our city’s continued ongoing efforts and initiatives in providing easy access to the vaccine for residents via numerous endeavors including the Vax Force, neighborhood vaccination clinics, stand up vaccination clinics at public events, and education, religious and youth outreach initiatives.
According to the State Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Weekly COVID-19 Municipality Vaccination Data, as of August 31, 2021, the City of Springfield has 54% of residents with at least one does and 47% are fully vaccinated. For a complete listing of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccination Data and Updates, please visit the state website at: Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination data and updates | Mass.gov
The vaccination breakdown by Race and Ethnicity for the City of Springfield, according to DPH as of August 31, 2021, is listed below.
|Race/Ethnicity||At Least One Dose||Fully Vaccinated|
The vaccination breakdown by Age for the City of Springfield by age, according to DPW as of August 31, 2021, is listed below.
|Age||At Least One Dose||Fully Vaccinated|
Mayor Sarno states, “Upon the continued review of our positive COVID-19 cases and on the recommendation of Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and after having discussions with Dr. Mark Keroack, President and CEO of Baystate Health and Dr. Robert Roose, Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Medical, the City of Springfield will mandate masks/face coverings be worn at all specific spaces in the City of Springfield. I cannot stress enough the importance for everyone to get their vaccine shot. We need to collectively ‘starve this new COVID-19 Delta variant’ as this has truly become a pandemic of the unvaccinated. This move is done so in coordination with Baystate Health and Mercy Hospital so they do not become overrun with COVID-19 patients, but also to be able to continue to provide regular medical and hospital services.”
HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris stated, “As we continue to see a troubling trend of increased COVID-19 cases, especially with this new Delta variant, the City of Springfield’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Board of Health is mandating a citywide mask policy, regardless of vaccination status, until November 1, 2021, unless amended or rescinded based on the data we receive. Working with Mayor Sarno and our medical providers, we will continue to review the data and make recommendations on how to proceed. I cannot stress enough, that this virus is here to stay. This is not a sprint; this is a marathon and unless we get vaccinated we are all at risk. This new Delta variant is no joke and poses a great risk. We will continue to work with all of our community partners to make sure that this life saving vaccine is readily available for everyone. There is still much work to do but together I have the full confidence that if we remain vigilant and take the appropriate action that is needed, we will get through this stronger and healthier. Again, I ask all of our residents, young and old, get your vaccine.”
City Council President Marcus Williams states, “I cannot urge our residents enough, especially our black and brown population, to get vaccinated. We are experiencing a public health crisis but there are ways out of this. If you need additional information on the vaccine, please reach out to health and community resources and look up the facts. The public health data the City Council COVID-19 Response Committee, chaired by Councilor Jesse Lederman, has been receiving from our Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and the medical information from our hospitals paint a grim picture for us. We need to work together and have the best interest of everyone’s health as a priority if we are to defeat this pandemic. We all have the power to keep everyone safe and healthy. Please, I again urge our residents to do the right thing and wear your mask and get vaccinated.”
Mayor Sarno and HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris stated, “We do not make these decisions lightly and take these measures out of an abundance of caution, to be proactive so that we can continue to balance public health and safety, while keeping our economy moving forward. We do not want to take one step forward and two steps backwards. There is good news, we are in a much better position to handle this recent uptick in cases as we now have readily available our ‘ace in the hole’, the vaccine.”
Dr. Mark Keroack and Dr. Robert Roose talked about the importance of the vaccine and how it can make the systems of the virus less severe if you do catch it, so that one does not suffer from medical complications that might require hospitalizations. Both Dr. Keroack and Dr. Roose stated that their respective hospitals are seeing an increase in unvaccinated patients being admitted into the hospital. Dr. Keroack continued by applauding the City’s ongoing efforts and outreach initiatives and efforts in provide access to the vaccine for the community and helping to dispel myths and rumors and provide education materials about how vaccines save lives.
“We have all worked so hard throughout this pandemic,” Mayor Sarno added. “The vaccine works. I implore our residents to please, get vaccinated. This is about public health, plain and simple, not politics, conspiracy theories or misinformation on social media, which have never stopped or cured a medical challenge. Please get and review the proven facts.”
The City of Springfield will continue to monitor the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation and review all guidance from the CDC and the state Department of Public Health. The City of Springfield is committed to keeping our residents and business community informed about the latest developments. For more information and to stay updated, please visit the City of Springfield’s website at www.springfield-ma.gov