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Face-covering order changes, effective April 30

UPDATED, April 30: Face coverings will only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance, and at other times required by sector-specific guidance.

Covid-19 imageFace coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public places and be required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home (except for when eating or drinking).

Arlington positivity rates: Continued vigilance urged as we work toward herd immunity. According to the Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH) Dashboard, Arlington’s weekly Covid-19 positivity rate is 0.62%. View the DPH dashboard >>

April 30 town update

The April 30 Arlington update shows that Covid-19 cases rose to 1,836 -- 546 higher than Jan. 18 and 798 more than on Dec. 31, 2020. Deaths remained at 86. 

See daily counts going back to March here, under cumulative cases) >> See all numbers by clicking on View more tables >>  Here's an explanation about how to read these numbers >> The age breakdown of cases reported through April 30:

19 and under20-2930-3940-4950-5960-6970-7980 and overTotal cases
306 296 285 214 282 182 131 140   1,836

View Massachusetts case numbers here >> 

Not all Mass. towns to follow state's reopening timeline

Tuesday's announcement that the state plans to lift all business restrictions by Aug. 1 was seen as good news, but not all Massachusetts cities and towns will stick to the timeline Gov. Charlie Baker laid out to fully lift restrictions by Aug. 1, YourArlington partner Patch reported April 28.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey said Boston will trail Gov. Charlie Baker's statewide timeline by three weeks in most cases. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has also held back in following the state's schedule throughout the reopening process.

And Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said the Witch City will take an "extremely cautious and thoughtful" approach to the final phases of reopening as well. She told Patch the city will talk with Board of Health members and local experts over the next several days to determine whether to make any adjustments to the schedule in Salem.

Mass. announces easing mask mandate, high school return date

Massachusetts will ease its mask mandate and begin lifting more coronavirus restrictions in coming weeks, with an eye toward eliminating all limits on business by August, YourArlington partner Patch reported Tuesday, April 17. The state laid out this schedule >>Gov. Charlie Baker announced the state's reopening Tuesday afternoon, minutes after President Biden's own announcement, which includes the relaxing of federal mask-wearing guidelines.

Public high school students will return to classrooms full time by May 17, unless their district applies for a waiver, according to a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education order released Tuesday.

All Massachusetts coronavirus-related business restrictions could be lifted Aug. 1 — if not sooner — as part of a plan Gov. Charlie Baker laid out Tuesday to end the regulations that have been in place for more than a year amid the health crisis.

"The updated Guidance on In-Person Learning Requirements requires grades 9-12 to use a full-time, in-person learning model for instruction hours to count toward structured learning time as of May 17," a letter from DESE said.

All 16 and older to be eligible for Covid vaccine by June's end, Baker says 

Even if the federal government doesn't increase the state's weekly allotment, every Massachusetts resident over the age of 16 will be able to get a coronavirus vaccination by the end of June, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday, April 21.

"Everyone who wants a vaccine will get one, certainly by the end of June," Baker said in a news conference at a vaccination center in Pittsfield, reported by YourArlington partner Patch.

Baker noted the state's "vaccination hesitancy rate" was under the 10 percent and the lowest of any state. He said the state's vaccination effort helped bring the Covid-19 hospitalization rate down 70 percent from its peak in January. Read more >>

16+ eligible for Covid vaccine, but much resistance remains

Everyone 16 and older in Massachusetts became eligible for coronavirus shots this week, both a milestone and a major challenge for the state, which is rushing to vaccinate people to protect them from the potentially deadly disease.

But many public health experts are already looking ahead to the next hurdle: After everyone who wants shots has had them, how do you convince those who don’t want shots to get them?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released data and an interactive tool that are intended to highlight the places where efforts need to be stepped up to persuade people to get their shots.

Town lowers gathering limits after Covid rise

Arlington is lowering the gathering limit for event venues and public settings to 50 people amid a steady uptick in coronavirus numbers, town officials said this week, YourArlington partner Patch reported.

The capacity limit applies to both indoor and outdoor events, depending on the venue. Gatherings at private residences will continue to be subject to the state limit of 25 people outside and 10 people inside.

"Although vaccination efforts continue, Arlington positivity rates have been slowly increasing in recent weeks," officials said. The town is still considered moderate risk under state metrics.The restriction applies to clubs, parks or other venue or space, public or private, that is used or available for gatherings through lease, license, permit, contract, reservation or similar arrangement.

Mass. halts J&J vaccine after U.S. recommendation

The state has ordered health providers to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson one-shot Covid vaccine, a move that comes hours after the federal government recommended a pause after reports of women developing blood clots after the shot, YourArlington partner Patch reported April 15.

All of the women were between 18 and 48 years old. One woman died and one is in critical condition.

The Food & Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday morning the pause is "important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot."

Massachusetts tells schools to cancel prom

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidance to public schools urging them to cancel proms for a second straight spring, YourArlington partner Patch reported.

The traditional, end-of-high school dances are "an inherently high-risk activity, as it is a social gathering that involves dancing and singing (both of which are activities with increased respiration)."

DESE said schools should either hold "alternative celebrations for seniors" or wait to hold proms until after the school year ends, when more students will have been vaccinated for Covid-19.Million more in Mass. eligible for Covid-19 vaccine

About 1 million more Massachusetts residents became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine April 5 as the state rounds out Phase Two of the prioritization plan.

People who are between the ages of 55 and 59 or have a certain medical condition can now book vaccination appointments. Massachusetts over the weekend fully adopted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eligibility list for medical conditions, meaning anyone with the following can schedule an appointment, YourArlington partner Patch reported.

In two weeks every Massachusetts resident older than 16 will be eligible for a vaccine.100K doses of J&J due, Baker announces

Gov. Charlie Baker said on Wednesday, March 31, he was expecting more than 100,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine to arrive in Massachusetts next week, NBC Boston reported.

During a press conference on housing security in Quincy, Baker said the shipments would be "definitely north of" 100,000 doses and part of 10 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses expected to distributed across the country by the Biden administration next week.

"I can't tell you how important that is," Baker said, stressing that because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose, it helps streamline the vaccination process. "It basically doubles the capacity that is available, but in addition to that, the speed with which somebody actually comes to get vaccinated."

U.K. coronavirus variant found in Reading

A coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom thought to be more infectious has been found in Reading, YourArlington partner Patch reported, citing school officials. 

In a message to families Sunday, March 28, Superintendent John Doherty said the Reading Health Department was informed that U.K. Covid strain B.1.1.7 appeared in town.

"It is critically important that we all continue all of the Covid-preventive measures (distancing and masking) so as to prevent these variants, or any other mutations, from taking hold and creating their own outbreaks," Doherty said.

It is believed that vaccines are effective against the B.1.1.7 strain. Two other variants present in Massachusetts – B.1.1.3.5 and P.1. – are not covered by a vaccine, Doherty added.

The Reading Public Schools will continue with its reopening plan, which calls for the full return of elementary schoolers April 5, which is the same in Arlington.

A window in Arlington tells the story in April 2020. / Marjorie Howard photoA window at Sunrise in March 2020. / Marjorie Howard Accounting for some deaths: The Boston Globe has reported that Ellen McDonald, a guardian to Norma Ricci, 92, said her friend’s assisted-living residence, Sunrise of Arlington, told her April 1 that a nurse who worked on Ricci’s floor had been infected. A week later, McDonald was told Ricci was rushed to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, with no mention of coronavirus.

The next day, Mount Auburn called to say Ricci had Covid-19. McDonald donned full protective garb to visit her friend on Easter. Ricci died April 15, according to a DeVito Funeral Home notice, which lacks an obituary. 

McDonald told the Globe that Sunrise nurses told her many residents were coughing and some staffers had stopped coming to work, without official word from management. In a statement, Sunrise Senior Living told The Globe that nine residents of its Arlington facility have died and 25 have tested positive. The statement said Sunrise has regularly updated residents and families by phone and e-mail. It quoted a regional vice president, Thomas Kessler, as saying, “Communication has always been a source of pride at Sunrise of Arlington.”

10th local death identified

Joyce Dodge, a resident of Sunrise Assisted Living, Arlington, before she was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital last Christmas, tested positive and died there Jan. 8, according to a member of the family. There is no obituary.

9th local death identified

Among the Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents since early March, YourArlington has identified an ninth from obituaries. A listing at Boston.com shows  Helen T. Metros died Dec. 12 from the virus in Pittsfield.

8th local death identified

Among the Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents since early March, YourArlington has identified an eighth from obituaries. A listing at Boston.com shows Vincent A. Aliberti died July 12 from the virus.

6th, 7th local deaths identified

Among the Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents, YourArlington has identified a sixth and seventh from obituaries. Listings at Boston.com show that Joan M. Mockel and Danile F. Morrison recently succumbed to the virus.

5th local death identified

Among the 19 Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents, YourArlington has identified a fifth, Vincie Teresa DeRose (Militello), as reported by the Gloucester Times. 

The fourth was Alfred "Fred" Iannacone. YourArlington reported a third death, occurring April 14 at Sunrise Assisted Living. A source confirmed the virus victim was Theodore S. Wayne. Since the end of March, two others have died in town from coronavirus: A Globe death notice identifies the first as James K. Power on March 30. A second death here was reported March 31, without details. 

Town issues "Wear A Face Covering in Public" advisory; continue to heed state’s stay-at-home advisory. Only run essential errands.
In addition to the current Stay at Home advisory by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, starting immediately, the Town of Arlington is issuing a townwide advisory that all residents wear a face covering when in public.

This advisory applies to anyone age 2 or older when in any public indoor or outdoor space. Indoor public spaces include stores and common areas in multi-unit homes. Outdoor areas include sidewalks, parks, trails, and the bike path. All persons including joggers and cyclists must comply.

This ongoing town statement continues: "We continue to believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents as numbers in the region and across the state increase at a rapid rate. Public health officials remind all residents, regardless of age, to stay at home and away from anyone who does not live in your house, including relatives. If you have to go out to conduct a necessary errand, like grocery shopping, picking up medication, or checking in on a neighbor who may need assistance, it is crucial you practice social distancing and keep 6 feet away from others."

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance information: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is now accepting applications; this program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a Covid-19 related reason, but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes the self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others. Individuals can review eligibility scenarios here and apply for PUA here.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings when in public: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Wearing a cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing, but an extra measure while you are running essential errands to minimize the spread of the virus. The CDC provides instructions on how to make your own cloth face covering.

For the national picture, see this U.S. map showing numbers from all counties >>

The town is also accepting donations of cloth face coverings, to local seniors, as well as PPE equipment for first responders and healthcare professionals.

List of businesses currently open in Arlington: The listings will be updated at least once daily. Please contact businesses directly before placing and order or going to their establishment to confirm that they are open, as the information on this list is subject to change.  See the list here >>

Additional resources for businesses and nonprofits may be found on the Business & Nonprofit Resourcepage. but should not comngregate in groups. 


Tracking Covid-19 via Johns Hopkins site


March 1 through 31: Town Covid-19 tracking
Feb. 1 through 28, 2021: Town Covid-19 tracking
Dec. 1 through 30, 2020: Town Covid-19 tracking
Feb. 28-March 6, 2020: Coronavirus risk remains low in town, health office says in 2nd update


This news announcement was published Thursday, April 1, 2021. It was updated through April 30. The orginal copy was written by Joan Roman, town webmaster, with editing and additions by Bob Sprague. Patch reports were included. 

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