Updated: New Covid cases remain on the rise as state recommends all residents mask up

Dec 17, 2021

Covid-19 continues to surge in Dartmouth, as the number of new cases have reached totals not seen since the beginning of the year.

The state’s Department of Public Health confirmed 379 cases in town over the past two weeks — an increase of 79 from the state’s previous report.

According to state data, Dartmouth had a 14-day average daily incidence rate of 73 per 100,000 people and a 9.56% positivity rate.

The last time the state reported such high cases totals was this past January.

Dartmouth’s public schools reported zero cases in the last week.

Due to the ongoing surge across the commonwealth, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday that all Massachusetts residents, regardless of vaccination status, are now advised to wear masks in indoor public spaces, among other new measures.

“At this point in time, we have vaccines, we have rapid tests, we have our testing sites, and people know a lot more about what works and what doesn’t with respect to combating the virus,” Baker said at a press conference. “And if people wish to add an extra layer of protection by wearing a mask in indoor settings, we would urge them to do so, especially when we have cases rising across the Commonwealth.”

As cases remain on the rise, local and state officials are encouraging residents to get their vaccines and continue to adhere to state and federal health guidelines in order to minimize the case surges.

“Vaccination continues to be the most effective tool we have against Omicron and all Covid-19 variants,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Margret Cooke. “The data indicates that fully vaccinated and boosted individuals are well protected from severe outcomes of Covid-19, including hospitalization and death, and the Department of Public Health strongly urges all residents to get vaccinated and, when appropriate, get a booster.”

People aged 5 or older who live, work or study in Massachusetts are eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Those over the age of 18 can sign up to receive any vaccine, but those ages 5 to 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine.

As of Dec. 16, 63% of Dartmouth residents have received at least a first vaccination dose. That amounts to 23,455 people. More than half of all residents — 56% — are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Those eligible for the vaccine can find appointments at providers around the state using the state’s website vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Vaccinations also continue at the clinic being operated by Southcoast Health at the VF Outlet. Clinics will be operated Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Patients can book their shots by signing up through their MyChart account or by visiting www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccine-scheduling.

To mitigate the spread, state officials recommend all Massachusetts residents 16 and up get their booster shots ahead of the holidays.

Residents are eligible to get a booster six months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control recommendations allow for mixing and matching of different booster doses.

The Covid-19 vaccine is free, and individuals do not need insurance or an ID to get the vaccine.