Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Health and Human Services (HHS) Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris held a COVID-19 Coronavirus Situational Update briefing today to discuss the City of Springfield ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures will be taken to help mitigate the community spread of the new Delta variant.
Mayor Sarno and HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris stated, “This is not to be alarmist, but a continued preemptive strike to be proactive so that we can continue to balance public health and moving our economy forward. We are in a much better position to handle this recent uptick with all our prior stockpiling of PPE’s, disinfection cleaning, and retrofitting all our schools and municipal buildings above and beyond the ASHRAE standards with state-of-the-art air flow ventilation systems, and of course, the vaccine ‘is the ace in the hole’.”
Following the recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) based on the new evidence on the Delta variant of the virus, the City of Springfield will now make the following recommendations to help preserve and protect our workforce and the pubic and to maximize the protection of vulnerable individuals.
- Per the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – full in-person learning will commence in the fall
- Social distancing within the classroom will be done to the best of Springfield Public Schools (SPS) ability up to three (3) ft.
- Face masks will be required for all students, teachers, staff and visitors – regardless of vaccination status
- Exceptions include for medical and/or religious
- Face masks will be required for travel on all SPS buses
- SPS will continue with pool COVID-19 testing
- SPS will continue to work with students and parents on permission slips to vaccinate students
City Hall and all Municipal Buildings
- City Hall and all municipal buildings will remain open to the public
- No temperature checks to enter public buildings
- No appointments needed
- Per the CDC and DPH recommended guidelines, it is strongly recommended that all visitors who are NOT vaccinated wear a mask while indoors
- Exceptions include for medical and religious
- It is recommended that those who are vaccinated, especially those who may have an increase risk due to pre-existing health conditions, weakened immune system, or other at-risk measures, wear a mask in indoor settings under certain conditions
- City employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated
- City employees who are not vaccinated will be required to get tested frequently
- As of today, the City will not mandate getting the vaccine as a condition of employment, however, the City will not hesitate to implement this condition if COVID-19 numbers do not improve to help preserve and protect our municipal workforce and the public
The CDC has recently listed Hampden County as a ‘Substantial Risk’ for community COVID-19 transmission.
Mayor Sarno states, “After conferring with our Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and in light of the information provided by the CDC and DPH to help preserve and protect our municipal workforce and our residents and business community from this new Delta variant, the City of Springfield is making these public health and safety recommendations to help mitigate the community spread of this Coronavirus. My administration will continue to closely monitor and make recommendations and guidance based on the science and data we receive.”
HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris stated, “This virus is here to stay. This is not a sprint; this is a marathon. Unless we get vaccinated we are at risk. This new Delta variant is no joke and poses a great risk. We will continue to work with all of our partners to make sure that this life saving vaccine is readily available for everyone. I want to thank all of our residents who have already received this vaccination. I also want to thank our many local community organizers and institutions who have worked together with us to provide much-needed outreach initiatives and local neighborhood clinics. 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.”
“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 and/or conspiracy theories, which have never stopped and/or cured a medical challenge. Please get and review the proven facts.”
The rise in new COVID-19 cases appear to be related to unvaccinated resident – younger people contracting the virus and spreading it, and misinformation spreading on social media and other platforms. For the week of July 25th, there were 122 reported cases with almost half of those cases being residents age 30 and under. Over 88% of residents age 65 to 74 have been vaccinated and nearly 82% of residents over 75 years old are vaccinated.
The City of Springfield strongly encourages local businesses to follow these recommendations.
The City of Springfield is issuing these recommendations based on the CDC and DPH guidance and reserves the right to amend and change these recommendations based on the data and updated guidelines received from our federal, state and local partners on this new Delta variant and our local COVID-19 related information including but not limited to: positive cases (unvaccinated and vaccinated), hospitalization rates, and vaccination rates.
The City of Springfield will continue to monitor the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation and is committed to keeping our residents and business community informed about the latest developments. For more information please visit the City of Springfield’s website at www.springfield-ma.gov