Dear Faculty and Staff,
COVID-19 case rates across the state have trended in the right direction over the course of the past two weeks. As the vaccine rollout, currently in Phase 2, continues in Massachusetts, strides are being made in the fight against COVID-19. Statewide, case rates remain on the decline, and in the past two weeks we’ve also seen steady improvement in test positivity on campus. While this is a welcome progress, it is still extremely important that we all continue to do our part to reduce the spread of the virus in our homes and communities. Remember to continue to be smart about your social interactions and avoid extended gatherings with those outside of your household. It’s only when we all do our part that we will see continued progress.
New CDC Guidance for Face Coverings
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations for the best face coverings to wear to protect yourself and others. While wearing two masks have been suggested by some, it’s most important that face coverings fit closely against your face and have two layers of cloth or fabric. Face coverings with multiple layers will help to stop the escape of respiratory droplets, which is largely how the virus is spread.
Some best practices for face coverings include:
- Wearing a cloth mask with two layers of material. Gaiters should also have two layers or fold a single-layer gaiter to make two layers.
- Wearing a disposable mask underneath a reusable cloth face covering.
- Choosing a mask with a nose wire to help it better fit to your face.
- Avoid wearing two disposable masks (like medical procedure masks), as these aren’t designed to tightly fit on your face. Wearing two will not improve the fit.
- Do not combine a KN95 filtering facepiece mask with any other mask. Use only one KN95 at a time.
Since January 1, 79 positive cases have been reported on the dashboard. With 19,069 total tests administered, that leaves us at a 0.43% positivity rate.
Until next week,
Geoffrey C. Bartlett, CEM
Director of Emergency Management