Worcester

Worcester Has New Tool in Fight Against COVID as Cases Surge

The city has seen more than 31,000 cases and 468 deaths since the pandemic began

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Massachusetts' second-largest city has a new tool in the fight against COVID-19: a mobile vaccination van.

Vinh Ly donated the vehicle to Worcester, his adopted home, having come to the city from Vietnam.

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”I just thought it was a great cause, to be able to give back," Ly said. "Worcester has done so much for me and my family.”

The donation comes amid rising COVID case counts in Massachusetts, including a new milestone reached Friday: 900,000 cases since the pandemic began.

Starting Friday, 16- and 17-year-olds can get COVID booster shots, good news for places like Framingham, where the school district has had a spike in cases.

In Worcester, they’ve seen more than 31,000 cases and 468 deaths, while 57% of the city is fully vaccinated.

”We’re just continuing to do everything we can to get people to use things are available to them,” City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said.

Worcester moving to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. The lines at clinics are getting longer with concerns about case counts and the Omicron variant.

So far, Worcester has given out nearly 30,000 booster shots.

”We’ve been seeing an [uptick] in the amount of people coming to get vaccinate," vaccination site manager Deondre Carr said. "Elderly, children, people of all ages.”

Cases have been on the rise in Worcester since October, but the surge has picked up steam since Thanksgiving.

As the city approaches its second Christmas of the pandemic, officials are vowing not to be underprepared.

"Public health was underfunded and that will not happen again,” Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh said.

With people in Worcester urged to get vaccinated before Christmas, the city hopes this latest surge will start to tail off by mid-January.

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