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Holiday Season Precautions

The rise in respiratory viruses across the county has raised concern, especially for young children and older adults who are most at risk. To minimize risk of infection and stop the spread, use the following tools and preventive practices that we know well. This includes staying up to date on vaccines, testing, hand washing, masking, and staying home if sick. 


Testing for COVID-19 at-home is convenient, fast, and reliable—and it’s an important tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community this fall and winter. At-home test kits can be found at pharmacies and many local health departments. Your insurance likely covers the cost of 8 per month per person. When taking an at-home test, remember to:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Take another test in 24-48 hours if your first test is negative, especially if you’re still having symptoms.

El aumento de los virus respiratorios en todo el condado ha generado preocupación, especialmente para los niños pequeños y adultos de edad avanzada que corren mayor riesgo. Para minimizar el riesgo de infección y detener la propagación, utilice las siguientes herramientas y prácticas preventivas que conocemos bien. Esto incluye mantenerse al día con las vacunas, las pruebas, lavarse las manos, usar cubrebocas y quedarse en casa si está enfermo.


Hacerse la prueba de COVID-19 en el hogar es un procedimiento conveniente, rápido y confiable, además de ser una herramienta importante para prevenir la propagación del COVID-19 en nuestra comunidad este otoño e invierno. Las prueba para el hogar se pueden encontrar en las farmacias y en muchos departamentos de salud locales. Es probable que su seguro cubra el costo de 8 pruebas al mes por persona. Al tomar una prueba en casa, recuerde:

  • Seguir las instrucciones del fabricante
  • Si el resultado de la primera prueba es negativo, hágase otra prueba a las 24 o 48 horas, especialmente si todavía tiene síntomas.


Updated COVID-19 boosters are available in MA for everyone ages 5 and up! Protect your whole family with COVID-19 vaccines and updated boosters! Receive a $75 gift card per vaccination (first, second, and booster doses) at select clinics while supplies last. There are two sites in Springfield offering this incentive.  


¡La vacuna de refuerzos de COVID-19 actualizados están disponibles en MA para todos mayores de 5 años! ¡Proteja a toda su familia con vacunas COVID-19 y refuerzos actualizados! Reciba una tarjeta de regalo de $75 por vacunación (primera, segunda y dosis de refuerzo) en clínicas selectas mientras duren. Hay dos sitios en Springfield que ofrecen este incentivo.

Flu Shots

Get your flu shot. They are easily available at local pharmacies, health centers, and primary care offices. Learn more. 

Vacunas Contra la Gripe

Vacúnese contra la gripe. Están fácilmente disponibles en farmacias locales, centros de salud y oficinas de atención primaria. Aprende más.

Caring for Sick Children

There has been a sharp rise in local pediatric hospitalizations for RSV and other illnesses. There can be long waits at emergency departments due to the volume of adult and child admissions right now. Use this resource from Baystate to learn when you should take your child to the ER and what other things you can do to help your child through an illness. 

COVID-19 Data

Visit the Western MA COVID-19 Data Dashboard to see more COVID-19 data for the region.

Events & Resources


  • How to Be an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Organization, 12/12/22 from 9:00am-12:00pm: The Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance is hosting a FREE training in Ware led by James Shultis (he/they). Pre-registration is required by Monday December 5, 2022. Learn more and register.
  • Latino Scholarship Fund Information Session, 12/12/22 at 5:00pm: The Latino Scholarship Fund of Western MA is recruiting for Board members and volunteers. Sign up here.
  • MPHA Annual Conference and Meeting, 12/13/22 from 9:00am-1:00pm: Register today for Massachusetts Public Health Association's upcoming Annual Conference & Meeting – Rooted in Community: Building Equity-Driven Policies. This is a virtual event. Register here.

Save the Date!

Webinar about Long COVID, 1/20/22 from 12:00-1:00pm: We will be hosting a webinar in January about Long COVID, featuring Bruce Levy, MD from Harvard Medical School, Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD, from Boston University, and Representative Mindy Domb. More information coming soon!


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