Rising COVID-19 Cases Concerns Watertown Health Director

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An upturn in the new COVID-19 cases concerns Watertown Health Director Larry Ramdin, who worries that the state may go back into more strict shutdown rules if the trend gets worse.

During the first week of August, Watertown had its first COVID fatality reported since the second week of May, bringing the total to 24. For the first time in several weeks, the number of new positive COVID-19 cases is into the double digits in Watertown, and the state numbers are growing by around 2,000 a week.

“People are going on vacation, it is summer, there is a little complacency,” Ramdin said. “People are going to social gatherings, they are not social distancing, not wearing face coverings, expose themselves.”

People have been returning to life as normal, which sometimes includes activities not allowed by the COVID-19 restrictions. Ramdin said he has seen people playing basketball without face masks. They are allowed to shoot hoops, but not play full games, he said. In other communities, the nets have been removed to stop people from playing, Ramdin said.

Ramdin reminded people that they may not know they have the virus, but could be spreading it.

“It is 72 hours before the onset of symptoms that you are infected, which means you can not have symptoms but you can pass the virus on,” Ramdin said. 

Watertown had 14 positive tests reported during the second week of August, for a total of 463. This was the most since the third week of June, when there were 20 new positive cases. Besides that the new positive tests in Watertown had been in the single digits each week. The most new cases seen in Town over a week was 80 in the fourth week of April.

Middlesex County saw more than 400 new cases each of the past three weeks, with 409 last week, 539 two weeks ago and 494 three weeks ago. The biggest weekly jump during the surge saw 3,518 new cases in the third week of April.

Ramdin said a sharp increase in cases could mean going backward in the state’s reopening plan.

“If the trends continues, you can have the state being pushed backward, so instead of moving forward — we are in phase 3 — we can go back into phase 2,” Ramdin said. “It comes down to personal responsibility.”

Over the past couple weeks, Gov. Charlie Baker has stressed the importance of wearing masks, including starting the #MaskUpMA campaign, instituted travel rules requiring people coming into the Bay State from another state or country to quarantine for 14 days (even state residents), and he reduced the allowable size of gatherings from 100 to 50. The new limit applies to both gatherings in both public and private places. Also, masks are required for gatherings of more than 10 people where people from multiple households are mixing.

The past two weeks, the number of cases in Massachusetts has risen by around 2,000 a week (1,984 last week, and 2,133 the week before). The last week of April saw the biggest number of new cases statewide, with 16,582. Statewide, there were 98 COVID-19 related deaths last week, up slightly from 95 the week before, but down from two weeks ago, when there were 110 fatalities. The second week of May was the worst for deaths, statewide, when 1,040 were reported.

While Ramdin and other health officials can emphasize the rules, he said it is up to people to do their part.

“I cannot be in everyone’s homes or backyards. People need to be responsible,” Ramdin said. “People need to take ownership of this. If we as community come together and do what’s right, we will beat this.”

7 thoughts on “Rising COVID-19 Cases Concerns Watertown Health Director

  1. Any sickness or fatality by Covid-19 is terrible, it goes without saying.

    But of course a positive “case” does not mean you are actually sick. People get confused about that.

    It would be good to know the ages of those who tested positive and any fatalities.

    I say this particularly because some parents are concerned about their children, though it appears that children are at very low risk. Without information, people get confused and scared.

    As the Fall and Winter come upon us, there is going to be flu too. To what extent should society shut down for that?
    The flu vaccine is only about 60% effective says this 2015 Harvard Medical School article: https://www.health.harvard.edu/vaccinations/flu-vaccination-win-some-lose-some

    There is a cost in lives and well-being to more closures of businesses and activities: medical exams, people out of work, depression, businesses closing, and more.

    What are the risks vs. benefits?

  2. It would be interesting to know the degree to which each COVID cases in Watertown are regarding how many recuperating at home, how many hospitalized and to what degree, etc. since July 1. That would give us a better idea as to severity, etc.
    Thank you.

  3. I go for a stroll after dinner through the path from Whites to Waver,year. On Sat. the 1st 9 people had no masks. For the night it was 15 w/o masks and 16 with. For about a week it was @60 with and 50 w/out. My conclusion is we are doomed. At the 2 basketball courts there were @ 30 /with out and @at the BOYS/Gitls club there were about 20 without masks. Most young people in town do not wear masks. That’s a recipe for mass infections ; w earring mask retards the virus , no mask spreads the virus. It is a fearsome and painful illness , and a punishing death often.

  4. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families that have lost a loved one to Covid-19. One loss is to many.
    I agree with the above comments letting the citizens know the age group of new cases and deaths would help families to make decisions regarding their families situation, regarding schools, colleges and careers.

    As a former teacher of 34 years and a resident health and safety should be put first and foremost. I would like to speak to Health Director Larry Ramdin and ask him why he did not post that information (ages of confirmed cases and ages of recent deaths) No names confidential we all are aware Of The H.I.P.A. laws.

    My thoughts for the day,
    1) I have been working on safety , health and the legality in the Watertown Public Schools for over 4 years Asbestos, Mold and Mildew laws have been admitted to being broken and covered up by administration, they have not been in compliance for decades.
    Administration and Town officials have done everything possible to conceal the asbestos contamination in the schools.

    2) W.P.S. failed to address or report to the board of Health Since February 2020 infestation of rodents and droppings at the High School. I filed a Written complaint along with an e-mail that was sent out by Building Director Lori Kabel and Joe Sexton to principals back in February 2020 it omitted the board of health and the director of foods Brandon Rabbit.
    On 6/16/2020 I filed a complaint to Board of Health Rajit Gupta and Deanna Mazina I left numerous messages written and voice as well to their secretary. Two months later 8/19/2020 today I was told I need to fill out another complaint asking for Pest control reports and their findings.
    Rajit Gupta hung the phone up on me and stated “he was aware of who I was for being the person pushing for safety and health concerns in Watertown “. This is what he should be doing, we have a state grant feeding our residents.
    The food is prepared in that infested High school of rodents and droppings. Residents should be made aware of this disgusting possibly hazardous issue.
    Perhaps Health Director Larry Ramdin would be a bit more professional with at least speaking with me or meeting to discuss a solution to an ongoing Health problem in Watertown Public Schools.

    3) Does anybody really believe any Town Official or School Administrators can effectively manage the Covid-19 Crisis?

    When they were not even competent in handling any of the two examples that I just pointed out. This does not even touch upon many other numerous and decisions putting people in harms way.

  5. There is no doubt that people have become more relaxed with the virus now. One noticeable thing I have seen is the many people playing basketball at Victory, Casey, the police station, etc with no masks at all. Basketball is being considered a high risk contact sport so why are we not either shutting down the hoops in town OR at least enforcing a mask? I am seeing people on the track, running or walking, that are not even within 6 feet of others being harassed about not wearing a mask yet just feet away I see kids playing basketball with no masks at all. How does this make sense? How is this even consistent?

    And absolutely agree about the recklessness of some with larger gatherings, no social distancing, etc. Looking at Social Media I see so many posting their group photos that show no masks, no social distancing, and so on.

    With regards to our schools. If our schools don’t open this Fall then how is it we could possibly hold Fall Sports? Our schools should have been able to figure out a way to at least go remote. If the reason is because of the danger of the virus then how as a town could we possibly OK sports such as soccer, field hockey, basketball? The least we could do in town is be somewhat consistent on how we are handling this virus.

  6. Dunkin Donuts on Main St in Watertown let three teenagers come into there store last Saturday with no mask and they got served. The next time I see this I will call the police. I reported it to the home office but got no response

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