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Springfield public health officials issue COVID-19 mask advice as infections rise sharply

Free masks and hand sanitizer were also given to people
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Public health officials in Springfield, Massachusetts are urging people to take precautions including masking and hand sanitizing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV.

Seniors, people with underlying health conditions urged to again wear masks

A surge in COVID-19 cases has led to a mask recommendation in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The city’s board of health is advising seniors and people with underlying health conditions to wear masks in public indoor places.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 now accounts for the majority of new COVID-19 cases in New England. Scientists say the variant is highly contagious because it is more resistant to antibodies created by current vaccines and past infections.

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris.

As mentioned in the interview, the Springfield health department has a free vaccination clinic every Tuesday from 9 a.m. – noon at the department’s headquarters at 311 State Street.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.