Local public health officials explain transitioning out of “pandemic phase”

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – From lockdown until now, the pandemic’s impact on our lives has changed these last two years, and now Doctor Fauci says the U.S. is transitioning out of its “pandemic phase”.

Doctor Fauci said we’re transitioning into this new phase, where we can learn how to live with the virus, but still protect ourselves from it. That was the topic of Friday’s panel with the public health institute of western Massachusetts.

These last two years, shots were put in arms at shopping malls, and testing lines happened in parking lots.
But Phoebe Walker with the Franklin County Regional Council of Governments said we’re now seeing the shift to offering these services in health care settings.

“We’re sort of ramping down all the emergency stuff, all the big stuff that the state-funded and we’re trying to learn to live with this and the state is trying to have us learn with it within the structures we’re all used to,” said Phoebe Walker, Director of Community Services at Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

Only two stop the spread sites are left in western Massachusetts, both being in Springfield. COVID cases are on the rise, but deaths and hospitalizations are miles off from where they once were.

Doctor Amanda Westlake said that’s thanks to the recent boom in therapeutics.

“Now we’re in the place of having a boatload of paxlovid, remdesiver, and monocloval antibodies. So anyone who is eligible should be able to access these,” said Amanda Westlake, MD, Physician, Director of COVID Outpatient Therapeutics, Medical Director of Post-COVID Clinic at Baystate Health.

Available to the majority of U.S. for treatment, and highly effective in preventing serious illness if it’s taken shortly after being diagnosed.

While the pandemic’s role appears to be changing in our lives, there are still some things that are not changing. Baystate Health put out a reminder today that masks are still required in healthcare facilities.



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