In an unprecedented year that posed a myriad of challenges, your businesses’ success is not only an indication of your hard work, but it’s also a testament to your leadership in our business community. Your perseverance in rising above the many setbacks that occurred in the past year deserves to be celebrated. However, we think it’s important to celebrate at a time that’s safe for everyone. Earlier this month I shared an update with chamber members on the state of Hampden County’s response to the fourth surge of the pandemic. With case counts continuing to rise, vaccination rates at a standstill, and Springfield’s recent reinstation of mask mandates, we feel canceling October’s Super 60 celebration is the right thing to do to help protect the safety and health of all attendees. As community leaders, we do not make these decisions lightly and strive to be proactive so we can continue to balance public health and safety while keeping our economy moving forward. Here are a few key factors that led to our decision:
- The City of Springfield continues to see a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases and an increase in the Delta variant. Springfield has reported 1,702 new cases in September alone, with 886 cases confirmed during the week ending on 9/19.
- As of 9/14, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that within the last 14 days, 2,598 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Hampden County, a 7.38% increase in cases from the previous 14 days.
- As of 9/22, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that only 54.82% of Hampden County residents are fully vaccinated, with 68% of the Massachusetts state population vaccinated in total.
- As of 9/17, according to the CDC, the U.S.’s current 7-day average of reported cases is 6.1% (146,182) higher than the previous 7-day moving average (137,783).
- Regional hospitalization rates continue to rise with 85% of medical/surgical hospital beds occupied and 54.3% of ICU beds occupied in Western Massachusetts due to the rise in local cases.
- When looking at this comprehensive event risk tool from the University of Georgia, if we were to move forward with hosting Super 60, there is a 99% chance that our event would lead to new COVID cases and further spreading.
- Chamber members have voiced their concerns about attending Super 60 as it may conflict with their company’s policies of attending in-person events with more than 100 people.
Taking this data into consideration, and out of an abundance of caution, we will be postponing the Super 60 celebration. As community leaders, we implore residents to follow public health guidance and review the proven facts about getting vaccinated. The more fully vaccinated Hampden County residents we have, the lower our confirmed cases will be, and the higher the likelihood we can celebrate in-person soon.
In the meantime, the City of Springfield’s website is a great resource to stay up to date on the COVID-19 coronavirus situation as they continue to monitor and review all guidance from the CDC and the state Department of Public Health.
Stay safe and stay well, #MaskUp and #ShopLocal – we aren’t through this yet.