IN THE NEWS

FDA Expands Eligibility for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose to Children 5 through 11 Years

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, authorizing the use of a single booster dose for administration to individuals 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completion of a primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. More info is available here on the FDA's website.


CDC Recommends Additional Boosters for Certain Individuals

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2022 

Following FDA’s regulatory actionexternal icon, CDC is updating its recommendations to allow certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago to be eligible for another mRNA booster to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19. Separately and in addition, based on newly published data, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. 

Click here for more information from the CDC's announcement.

Gloucester Board of Health Rescinds Face Covering Requirements for Public Indoor Spaces and City Buildings

At its special meeting of Friday February 11, 2022 the Board of Health voted unanimously to end the face covering requirements that were set in September and January. The requirements end as-of midnight, tonight.
The Board's decision is based on the decrease in COVID cases in the City, significant decreases in the presence of the virus detected in the City's wastewater, as well as decreases in the number of local hospitalizations and deaths.
The Gloucester Board of Health continue to encourage people to wear face coverings when indoors and with people of unknown vaccination status and ask you to remain tolerant of people's choice to wear face coverings. 
The Board also believe that vaccinations remain the most effective means of protecting people from the worst impacts of the COVID virus and its variants.
For information on COVID vaccines and where you can get vaccinated, please go to https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine

City of Gloucester Announces Opening of PCR Testing Site for COVID-19 in Collaboration with Curative

JANUARY 13, 2022 BY JGPRROBERT

Mayor Greg Verga is pleased to share that Curative, in collaboration with the Gloucester Health Department, has opened a COVID-19 testing site offering PCR tests for all ages at Stage Fort Park.


WHEN: Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Stage Fort Park, 24 Hough Ave., Gloucester, MA.

WHAT: Curative has opened a PCR testing site for COVID-19 in a parking lot at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester to increase the availability of reliable PCR testing, amid the growing surge in cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Curative operates a network of more than 13,000 testing sites across 18 states. It previously operated a testing site at The Open Door in Gloucester.


Tests are available by appointment and walk-ins are accepted.


The tests will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost, but individuals who have health insurance should have their insurance card ready at registration, because health insurance companies will be billed if possible. Health insurance is not required to be tested. Identification will be required at the time of testing.


To make an appointment, click here.


Anyone who has questions or who needs assistance with booking an appointment can contact Curative by calling 888-702-9042.


Test results will be provided via email one to two days after they arrive at the Curative lab.


“I would like to thank the Department of Public Health, Curative, and our state partners for making this testing site possible,” Mayor Verga said. “As cases continue to rise in our community, access to testing and vaccines is critical to the health and safety of our community.”


Board of Health Enacts Face Covering Regulation for Indoor Public Spaces


In response to the ongoing spike in new cases of COVID infection, on Thursday January 6, 2022 the Gloucester Board of Health joined other North Shore and Massachusetts communities by voting to approve the final draft language of an emergency face covering regulation that will require face coverings to be worn by most members of the public and staff in many indoor public spaces.

The regulation takes effect at 12:01AM on January 10, 2022 and the Board will review the necessity of continuing the regulation at each monthly Board meeting.

The full text of the regulation can be found here

The Board and the Department understand that this first week will not be perfect in terms of notification and compliance and we fully expect that there will be many requests for clarification.

Our underlying premise for the regulation is to protect the public and education regarding the importance of using face coverings in public spaces - not punitive judgment and enforcement. However, the Health Department will act if a blatant disregard of the requirements is determined.

Information regarding which masks provide the best protection against the COVID virus can be found at this site from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Anyone with questions can send an email to the Health Department at healthdepartment@gloucester-ma.gov and your message will be replied to as soon as possible.

The Board of Health and Health Department appreciate your partnership to help protect the health and wellbeing of your family, friends and fellow citizens.



01/02/22

From Superintendent of Schools, Ben Lummis


Dear Gloucester Families

As we return to school, it is hard to know where we are headed with COVID over the next couple of months. In order to keep Gloucester’s schools open, we need all families and our staff to help. 


We are prepared for student absences. If a student is sick, it is okay and very important that they stay home and out of school. We also expect staff absences to increase over the next few weeks. If you or anyone you know would like to be a substitute teacher, please contact mpuglisi@gloucesterschools.com. We could use the help. 

Please read below for a couple of very important guidelines that we need all families to follow if we are going to return safely and keep our schools open this winter. 


If Your Child Has Symptoms Before School, They Should Not Come to School


Our families did a fantastic job of keeping sick children home last year. We all need to recommit to thinking of each other and keeping your child at home if they are feeling sick in any way. Whether it is COVID, the flu, a head cold, or a stomach bug, families really need to keep any children who feel ill out of school. Any symptoms of illness can lead to getting other children and staff sick. 


If Your Child Arrives at School with COVID Symptoms, We Will Not Test Them


Our nurses and testing are being overwhelmed with too many students coming to school feeling sick and wanting to get COVID tests immediately. The public schools do not have the capacity to serve as a public testing site for all families. Going forward, if your child arrives at school with any cold or COVID symptoms, we will send them home to be taken care of at home. Symptomatic COVID Testing is only for those students or staff who come down with symptoms during the school day after having felt fine before coming to school. 


We will continue to get as much distance in schools as possible. Please continue to tell your students to sanitize and wash their hands regularly. 


Masks continue to be Essential


Especially with COVID so prevalent outside of our schools, proper masking at school continues to limit the spread in school. Please remind your students to properly wear their masks including covering their noses. Many students are uncovering their noses and need reminders from family to go along with the constant reminders from our staff. Please make sure to tell your student to wear their mask over their nose and mouth. 


Traveling within the US and Internationally


There are currently no travel mandates from the Massachusetts Department of Health. The CDC has made recommendations for those who return from traveling which are not mandated. When returning from domestic or international travel the CDC recommends: 


If you are vaccinated: Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms. It’s recommended to get tested 3 to 5 days after you return from international travel

If you are not vaccinated: Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if you test negative at 3-5 days. If you don’t take a test, then quarantine for 10 days after international travel. 


The next month or so, may be very difficult. If necessary, we will be preparing to move to remote learning for individual classes, grades, or even a school for short periods in the coming weeks. We know how disruptive closing a school or moving to remote learning can be for students, staff, and families. So, all of us need to do our very best to limit the spread and be mindful of taking care of ourselves and each other. 


Sincerely, 

Ben Lummis

Superintendent



 September 27, 2021

Extension of Mask Mandate and Details on Vaccine Threshold

The Department of Early and Secondary Education has announced that the mask requirement in schools will be extended until at least November 1. In addition, as of October 15, if a school demonstrates a vaccination rate of 80 percent or more of all students and staff, then vaccinated individuals in that school would no longer be subject to the state mask requirement. Whether or not a school or district avails themselves of the 80 percent vaccination off ramp is a local decision to be made by school and district leaders in consultation with local health officials.

For more information, please go to:

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html


September 22, 2021

FDA Authorizes Booster Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Certain Populations

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-booster-dose-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-certain-populations

August 23, 2021

Announcement by FDA approving first COVID-19 vaccine

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccineJoint 


August 18, 2021

Statement from HHS Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/08/18/joint-statement-hhs-public-health-and-medical-experts-covid-19-booster-shots.html