LYNNFIELD — The latest surge of novel coronavirus cases in town continues to skyrocket.

Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis informed the Villager on Tuesday morning there are 366 active cases of COVID-19 in Lynnfield. There have been 2,348 total cases since the start of the pandemic and 1,951 people have recovered from the virus. Tragically, 31 residents have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus.

The School Department’s COVID-19 dashboard revealed there were 75 cases as of Tuesday morning. Lynnfield High School has the highest number of cases with 22. There are 21 cases at Lynnfield Middle School. There are 16 cases at Huckleberry Hill School and 15 cases at Summer Street School.

Davis said the town had 50 positive COVID cases on Dec. 27 alone.

“That was the most we have ever had in a single day in Lynnfield,” said Davis. “The case numbers are through the roof. COVID is everywhere right now, and the majority of the cases are the new Omicron variant.”

Davis believes the town’s COVID case numbers are higher than what has been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“A lot of people are doing at-home testing, and those results don’t get reported to the state system,” said Davis. “People are advised to get a PCR test to confirm a positive case either at a doctor’s officer or a testing site. However, people have not been taking PCR tests due to the holidays.”

Davis urged the community to “remain vigilant” in the fight against COVID-19.

“People need to get vaccinated, wear masks, get booster shots if they are eligible and avoid large gatherings,” said Davis.

Davis said one bright spot in the latest surge is that the town’s vaccination rate increased from 83 percent in early December to 86 percent in late December.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) gave school districts across the state including Lynnfield at-home rapid antigen tests last weekend in order to give staff members the opportunity to test themselves twice before students returned to the classroom on Monday.

“We only received 270 test boxes with two tests,” said Superintendent Kristen Vogel in an email sent to the Villager. “We had to break apart the tests so that we would have sufficient numbers for all of the staff in the district. We distributed approximately 220 tests on the morning of Jan. 2. I picked up the tests at the MEMA warehouse in Franklin on New Year’s Day, and most of the Administrative Leadership Team helped break apart the test boxes to prepare them for distribution and then helped distribute them for two hours.”

Vogel also recalled in an email sent to families last week that the CDC cut in half the recommended isolation time for Americans who are infected with the coronavirus but have no symptoms. The CDC also shortened the amount of time people who have come into close contact with an infected person need to quarantine.

“Given these new developments, much consideration has gone into how we will move forward with contact tracing within our school buildings,” stated Vogel. “In collaboration with the Emergency Management Team and the Board of Health, we have carefully assessed the health and safety benefits of the contact tracing efforts to date and the data collected by the Test and Stay program.”

Vogel said the Test and Stay program will continue being utilized at Huckleberry Hill School and Summer Street School.

“Only unvaccinated individuals who are identified as close contacts while in the school building or in school-based activities are eligible for this program,” said Vogel. “We have seen a significant benefit to these mitigation strategies at the elementary level. Additionally, vaccination rates at these buildings are still low given the only recent authorization of a vaccine for this age group and given the fact that these students remain in the same grouped units all day long, it is prudent to be extra vigilant.”

Vogel said the families of LMS and LHS students “will continue to be notified of close contacts that occur at lunch only.”

“As students are unmasked and most vulnerable during this time, it is important that families know of this exposure so that they can monitor their student for any symptoms,” stated Vogel. “There will be no Test and Stay.”

Vogel also stated that PCR testing for COVID is “no longer required.”

“At-home rapid antigen tests will now be accepted and a positive result will be considered a confirmed positive,” stated Vogel.

Vogel said school officials, Emergency Management Team and the Board of Health “will continue to monitor public health data” and will “make any protocol adjustments that are necessary to optimize health and safety.”

“Students and staff are still required to wear masks while inside all of our school buildings and while attending any events in our schools,” stated Vogel.

Vogel also stated that “families must do their part” in the wake of the latest novel coronavirus surge.

“Please keep your student home if they are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19,” stated Vogel. “We also strongly recommend testing for COVID-19 when appropriate and to continue to notify us with any positive test results. As PCR testing is no longer required and at-home antigen tests are now allowed for confirmatory use, we hope that this will make the testing process easier for our families. Everyone plays an important role in ensuring that in-person learning continues safely for Lynnfield students and staff. Our school community is resilient, and we must leverage all of the resources available to maintain what we know is best for students.”

School Committee Chairman Rich Sjoberg stated in an email sent to the Villager that “It’s important to remember that everyone in the district has been impacted by COVID-19.”

“We will continue to focus on COVID protocols by doing what we can to keep everyone safe,” said Sjoberg. “With the preparedness of our Test and Stay program, luckily, we haven’t had to close entire school buildings because of COVID this year. Even during a global pandemic, student achievement continues to be our priority. Our incredible staff works daily to make sure students are where they need to be academically while preparing each student for their next level of achievement and success.”

Sjoberg recalled that school officials’ message to the community last year was “patience, hope, resilience and gratitude.”

“Looking ahead to 2022, it has to be persistence,” said Sjoberg. “As we begin this new year, I thank each teacher, curriculum director, counselor, staff member and administrator working in our school buildings for their persistence. Even though COVID has persisted, so has everyone’s commitment to educating our children in the best ways possible. The rest of this school year may not be ‘normal,’ but I have no doubt we will continue to do great things and positively impact the lives of every student and family. We will need to continue to exercise patience, understanding and be great at rolling with the punches.”

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.