Health Officials Report Modest Decline in Local Covid Cases

Covid-19 is retreating after flourishing through much of May, health officials told the Board of Health at its meeting Monday.

There has been a “modest decline,” said Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter. She noted that more residents are spending time outside or opening windows. “A lot of things are happening to get numbers down.”

Porter added that “we know we are not capturing every case, so case count is not used as a true metric.” Hospitalization data and Covid content in wastewater are more meaningful, she said.

Julie Genova, the department’s community nurse, told the board, “I’m very busy with Covid cases at this point,” but cases “have started to dive significantly.”

Genova, a former school nurse, said she feels “horrible” for the sixth and eighth graders who were precluded by the virus from attending the Nature’s Classroom and Washington DC class trips, respectively.

Now, “Everything is moving forward and getting back to normal,” she said. Noting that no in-school Covid testing is planned for the fall, she predicted that state education officials “will be coming out with more guidance.”

Genova said she has been checking in on residents with Covid, and said many are using recently available medications. “Isolation is so much shorter than it used to be,” she added.

Board member Bea Brunkhorst noted that Middlesex County is still labeled as high-risk by federal authorities, based on cases. The latest number from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said, is 260 cases per 100,000 residents.

Brunkhorst said she hopes future variants produce only mild symptoms. She acknowledged that Covid is still fatal to some, but added there have always been some fatalities from diseases like influenza.

Member Ann Kiessling noted that the CDC reports a 2.4 percent of emergency room visits are related to Covid cases, compared to 14 percent in January. The lower percentage even applied to people older than 75, she added.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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