By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The number of COVID-19 cases in town has almost doubled in the past week.
Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis informed the Villager there were 111 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Lynnfield as of Tuesday, Nov. 9. There were 57 cases on Nov. 2.
There have been 1,617 total cases since the start of the pandemic and 1,477 people have recovered from the virus. Twenty-nine residents have lost their lives to COVID-19.
The School Department’s COVID-19 dashboard revealed there were 42 cases as of Tuesday, Nov. 9. There were 18 cases on Nov. 2.
Summer Street School has the highest number of cases with 30. There are nine cases at Lynnfield Middle School and three cases at Huckleberry Hill School. There are no cases at Lynnfield High School and Lynnfield Preschool.
Davis said 46 of the 111 COVID-19 cases throughout town involve children who are 9-years-old or younger. He also said there are 11 cases among children in the age 10-19 range.
“The statistics are clearly showing that the majority of the cases are people in the 0-9 age range who are not vaccinated,” said Davis. “We are seeing breakthrough cases, but most of the cases involve people who are not vaccinated.”
Superintendent Kristen Vogel echoed Davis’ concerns in a letter sent to families last week.
“The town of Lynnfield is currently seeing a surge in positive COVID cases,” Vogel wrote. “These new cases of unvaccinated school-aged children have clearly impacted many families and our school community. The Emergency Management Team and the Lynnfield Public Schools have taken many steps, including increasing contact tracing, a robust test-and-stay program, an updated COVID dashboard with the most up-to-date statistics and information, all while supporting families and respecting confidentiality. It has been a challenge for all of us, and we thank you for your continued cooperation.”
There are currently 18 cases among people in the 40-49 age range, 14 in the 30-39 age range, eight in the 60-69 age range, five in the 20-29 age range, five in the 50-59 age range, two in the 80-89 age range and one in the 70-79 age range. One resident over the age of 90 has also tested positive.
In the wake of the FDA and CDC granting Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, the School Department is holding two vaccine clinics at Lynnfield Middle School this weekend. Vogel informed the Villager that 500 children have registered for the clinics.
“We will again be partnering with Pelmeds Pharmacy to provide the two-dose Pfizer vaccination series that will be given three weeks apart,” stated Vogel in a letter sent to families that announced the clinics. “Pelmeds has assured us that there will be enough vaccines for everyone who registers.”
Vogel stated that families must pre-register their children for a vaccine appointment in order to make sure the School Department has the appropriate number of dose available.
“No walk-ins will be accepted,” stated Vogel. “Insurance information will be requested, however, lack of insurance will not prevent anyone from receiving the vaccine.”
The second dose clinics will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5.
Davis encouraged families to sign up their children for the clinics.
“The two vaccine clinics are for children between the ages of 5 and 11, which is the most affected age group,” said Davis.
School Committee Chairman Rich Sjoberg thanked Vogel and COVID-19 Nurse Coordinator Toni Rebelo for organizing the clinics.
“The fact we are able to hold the clinics for our youngest learners so quickly after the FDA and CDC granted Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children is a direct correlation to the forward-thinking and planning by the superintendent and the COVID-19 nurse coordinator,” said Sjoberg.
Vogel urged the community to help fight the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. She encouraged eligible people to get vaccinated. She also urged families to “limit indoor gatherings when possible,” including birthday parties and play dates.
“If someone is quarantined as a close contact, please remain at home and not participate in activities as directed,” Vogel stated. “Report symptoms to your child’s building nurse and if sick, please keep children home from school and activities.”
Vogel recalled that students and staff in all four schools are wearing masks and the DPW is utilizing cleaning protocols that were first implemented last year.
“We are doing everything we can with safety protocols and cleaning to ensure that we are mitigating the spread of the virus in our schools and in our community,” Vogel stated.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley recently extended the indoor mask requirement for public schools’ students and staff through at least Jan. 15, 2022.