With COVID-19 cases and wastewater data once again rising in Massachusetts, many are wondering if this could signal another surge.
Margret Cooke, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, joined NBC10 Boston to discuss her thoughts on whether a spike in cases is expected and if so, how ready Massachusetts is to weather it.
"It is true that numbers are ticking up, and we know obviously that makes everybody nervous with everything we've been through in the last two years," Cooke said.
Massachusetts health officials announced 1,442 new COVID-19 cases Friday and 10 new deaths. The state's seven-day average positivity rate came in at 2.47% Friday, compared to 2.36% on Thursday. Test positivity has been slowly ticking up in recent days.
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COVID cases in Massachusetts schools and wastewater data in Greater Boston have also been on the rise of late.
But Cooke said there are still reasons for optimism, beginning with the new ways to fight the virus that weren't readily available during previous surges.
"We are fortunate in Massachusetts that we have the tools to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from COVID-19 and all its current variants," she said.
One of these is booster shots, especially now that a second booster has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for those over 50 years old.
"I think the number one thing, and we've been saying this for over a year, is people should get vaccinated," Cooke said. "If you have been vaccinated, the second most important thing to do to protect yourself is get your booster shot."
To sign up for a booster shot in Massachusetts, you can go to vaxfinder.mass.gov.
"The next thing you can do is that if you do test positive for COVID-19, you can access treatments now widely available," Cooke added.
But she said it's important to remember that these treatments can only be prescribed in the first five days after you test positive, so it is critical to contact your doctor immediately after testing positive.
These treatments are only available for certain categories, but Cooke said the categories are "a little broader than you might thing." It includes anyone 65 or older or anyone who is pregnant, has substance abuse issue or a mental health diagnosis, or who has diabetes or is obese, which includes almost 40% of Massachusetts residents.