New cases slow amid winter surge

Jan 23, 2021

Following the post-holiday surge, new cases are continuing to decrease in Dartmouth. In the week ending Jan. 22, the town’s Board of Health reported 155 new cases — down from the 267 the week before.

State data as of Jan. 21 shows Dartmouth as having a 14-day average daily incidence rate at 97 per 100,000 people and a 10.56% positivity rate.

While the number of cases is nearly half the record-high 300 reported amount earlier in the month, Public Health Director Chris Michaud at a Jan. 20 Board of Health meeting warned the public not to be swayed by this week’s drop. 

According to Michaud, the current numbers should be compared over the course of multiple weeks and not just to the previous week.

“I’m afraid of the numbers not being necessarily representative,” he said, noting that he’s been getting reports from local businesses that have led him to believe “that transmission is still going on.”

Following a return to class for most of Dartmouth’s public school students, schools are currently seeing 206 active cases among students and staff, with the illness affecting 5.82% of the student population.

Meanwhile, UMass Dartmouth reports 22 positive cases in the past seven days — 1.9% of all those who tested.

This comes following a Jan. 21 announcement from Gov. Charlie Baker declaring that everyone eligible for the Covid vaccine under Phase 1 of the state’s rollout program can now book an appointment to get their shot.

That now includes home-based healthcare workers, non-Covid-facing healthcare workers, as well as staff and residents of congregate care settings such as jails.

The vaccine has already been available to frontline healthcare workers, long-term-care facilities, and first responders.

With the new rules from the state, the town announced Jan. 21 that the Board of Health is currently looking to establish clinic stations in town once vaccine doses are acquired.

“This is a significant undertaking,” Michaud said.

Once clinics are scheduled, registration information will be available.

As of Jan. 23, Massachusetts has an estimated 89,433 active Covid-19 cases, with 13,702 coronavirus-related deaths reported. There have been 467,845 total confirmed cases in the commonwealth thus far, representing 6.8% of the population.