Please click HERE for information on vaccinations in Franklin County.

In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

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**COVID-19 VACCINE – FRANKLIN COUNTY INFORMATION**

COVID-19 Vaccine in Franklin County

Who’s Eligible?

Massachusetts is in the second of three vaccination phases and currently focusing on priority populations. Massachusetts residents 65 and older and residents 16 and older with two specific health conditions are eligible for the vaccine. Caregivers for eligible people over 75 may receive a vaccine if they schedule the appointment at the same time and accompany the eligible person to their appointment. As of March 11, child care and prek12 school staff will also be eligible. However,  Vaccine availability is still very limited. 

Where to get Vaccinated and When to look for appointments

There are many places to schedule a vaccine appointment. Vaccine supply is limited, but we expect availability will increase over the upcoming weeks.

Those able to travel are encouraged to schedule appointments at the High Volume Vaccination Sites:

  •  UMass Amherst  posts new appointments Friday at 6 PM
  • The Eastfield Mall in Springfield. posts new vaccination spots at these sites Thursday mornings around 8/8:30 AM.
  • Baystate Health’s Holyoke Vaccine Clinic gets new vaccines weekly, and the registration link turns off when there is none left. Check early in the week for information. https://www.baystatehealth.org/covid19/vaccine
  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center has occasional clinics and they can be accessed at the same link above.  There will be a clinic there on 3/11.

Pharmacies:  CVS posts new vaccination spots each early morning (5:30/6 AM). Click this link to register at Big Y,

Franklin County Doctor’s Offices and Health Centers are scheduling appointments with their patients when they have vaccine, though there is very little vaccine going to primary care practices at this time. Please do not call about vaccinations, when one is available they will call you to schedule an appointment.

Local Clinics are open throughout the county as part of a state-approved regional collaboration. These clinics intended to support Franklin County residents and are a coordinated effort between many stakeholders in our region. Greenfield maintains a weekly clinic and FRCOG clinics are rotating between Deerfield, Bernardston, Buckland, and Montague (sites and locations may change based on vaccine availability and other factors). Times, dates, locations, and private registration links for upcoming clinics are posted Monday morning and released in coordination with our regional partners.

The City of Greenfield’s clinic is open weekly at the Jon Zon Senior Center.  You can also call them at 413-775-6411.

The South County Clinic in Deerfield concluded the week of February 22 and is expected to return the Tree House Brewery for second dose vaccines in March. Additional first dose vaccinations at this site will depend on vaccine availability over the next weeks/month.

The West County Clinic in Buckland concluded on Saturday, February 27th.  The clinic will return for second dose vaccines at the Mohawk Trail Regional High School in March. Additional first dose vaccinations at this site will depend on vaccine availability over the next weeks/month.

The North County Clinic in Bernardston will be held  on March 8 and March 9 at Kringle Candle’s The Barn at the Farm Table, 220 South Street, Bernardston. Registration is currently full.

A Central County Clinic in Montague expected to be held at the Franklin County Technical School, 82 Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls on March 12th and March 13th. As of Friday 3/5 at 5:30 PM we do not have information about vaccine allocations for the Central County clinics.  Our hope is that we will hear over the weekend and links to register for this clinic will be posted Monday, March 8, after twelve noon, assuming we have a vaccine allocation for that week. 

Planning for an East County Clinic in Orange on March 13 is underway. This clinic will operate as a collaboration between the Town of Orange and the FRCOG. Opening this clinic as another regional site is dependent on vaccine supply to our County in the coming weeks/months. As of Friday 3/5 at 5:30 PM we do not have information about vaccine allocations for the East County clinic.  Our hope is that we will hear over the weekend and links to register for this clinic will be posted Monday, March 8, after twelve noon, assuming we have a vaccine allocation for that week.   

**Please do not contact any of these vaccination site venues with questions, they will not have any vaccine information.  Information about these clinics will be posted on this website or recorded on our hotline 413-774-3167 extension 153.**

Franklin County Vaccine Information Updates

These situation reports including key updates for the Franklin County vaccination effort are released each Friday afternoon and more often as needed.

The County has agreed to a unified vaccination plan coordinated by the FRCOG. This plan is a living document and changes as needed. You can see it here: Franklin County Vaccination Plan, updated February 12th, 2021

State Vaccination reports from the state are released daily and weekly: MA daily and weekly vaccination reports.

FRCOG’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline

Regularly updated message about vaccine availability, call 413-774-3167 extension 153. Please share this number with anyone who prefers to receive information over the phone.

Transcript of the most recent hotline update: Hotline Message 3-4-21

Resources for Seniors

For help scheduling an appointment, arranging transportation, or if you are a home-bound person, call LifePath at 413-829-9285.

People without access to the internet can get help scheduling an appointment at a state run vaccination site call 2-1-1.

Additional Resources

COVID Testing Options: March

Testing for asymptomatic people (people who are not currently sick):

Testing for people with symptoms:

  • Medical Providers with onsite testing for their patients include CHFCFC, Baystate Medical Practices (at drive-through across the street from BFMC), Valley Medical Group (Mondays and Fridays 8-4 in Greenfield with an appointment).

COVID-19 Data and Updates

For an archive of all the emails sent by the state on re-opening, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s COVID data page, click here.
For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the COG’s Board of Health COVID Resources Page click here.
For local public health COVID case management contacts (public health nurses), click here. 
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Click here for testing resources

 

 

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

COVID Winter Holiday Safety Tips

Documents:

Web Links:

New Face Covering Signs Available

These are available as posters for the front door of businesses, schools, houses of worship, town halls, etc.

We are ordering these to be large outdoor signs in mid November.

These are available as post-card size signs.

It’s getting colder and mask standards have changed, so we have updated our face covering signs. Call 413-774-3167 x 1 if you would like any of these signs for your town/business.  Our thanks to Kat Woods Design for the donation of graphic design of the “Help Keep Our Town Safe” signs, to the Brookline Health Department for the “Thank you for Wearing A Mask” sign, and to Katie’s Doodles for the “It goes over your nose” signs.

These are available as election style signs for outdoor use

These are available for the inside of offices/workplaces

These are large election-style outdoor signs

Halloween During COVID: Spooky and Safe!

In response to requests from town administrators and board of health members in a number of towns, the FRCOG has pulled together a Halloween COVID safety poster with tips for both trick-or-treaters and those they visit.

Communities can request hard copies (11×17) by calling 413-774-3167 extension 1 and leaving a message or download it here: FRCOG halloween safety tips poster

Helpful links:

https://www.mass.gov/news/halloween-during-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

How to make a candy chute for safe dispensing of candy.

 

tips for safe trick or treating and celebrating

Remote Learning Options and the Municipal Role in Approving Them

  • Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 Order #49 established expanded care options for the supervision of remote learning for school age children. The order allowed for the creation of “Remote Learning Enrichment Programs” (RLEPs) – and stipulated that these programs must be approved and monitored by municipalities in order for the MA Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to grant a waiver allowing these programs to operate. We have received numerous questions about the responsibilities of the municipalities with regards to approving and monitoring RLEPs, and have compiled the following guidance from EEC:
    • A brief summary of the 3 ways communities can support remote learning (expanded access to existing EEC licensed programs; new Remote Learning Enrichment Programs Exemption; and Remote Learning Parent Cooperatives) can be found by clicking here.
    • The Commonwealth is allowing many of the programs already licensed to care for children (e.g. daycares and after school programs) to provide expanded care during the school day, to assist with supervising remote learning. A brief summary of guidance for currently licensed EEC providers can be found by clicking here.
    • For municipalities which are themselves organizing RLEPs, or have community groups doing so, an overview of the Remote Learning Enrichment Programs Exemption, with links to the various processes in setting up an RLEP and the municipal paperwork involved can be found by clicking here (and scrolling down to the RLEP section).
      • The most extensive and detailed information from EEC about the role of a Municipal Approving Authority, outlining the steps a city or town must take to grant approval to a RLEP can be found here at this link.
    • Detailed health and safety guidance from EEC for child care providers can be found here.
    • Once a municipality has approved a RLEP, that program can then apply to EEC for a waiver. We have heard that turnaround time is fairly quick once municipal approval has been granted.
    • Finally, specific questions can be directed to EEC by emailing: EECExemptions@mass.gov

West Nile Virus and EEE are back! Prevent Mosquito Bites!

Mosquitoes can spread diseases that make you sick. In Massachusetts, mosquitoes can give you eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus or West Nile virus (WNV). EEE can cause severe illness and possibly lead to death in any age group. EEE does not occur every year, but based on mosquito sampling, a high risk of occurrence of human cases currently exists.

Outbreaks of EEE usually occur in Massachusetts every 10-20 years. These outbreaks will typically last two to three years. The most recent outbreak of EEE in Massachusetts began in 2019 and included twelve cases with six fatalities. The first EEE positive mosquito sample within the State this season was detected in Orange on 7/2/20 and Wendell 7/6/20. Risk levels remain elevated through to frost.

The best way to avoid both of these illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites.

You can be bitten at any time. Most mosquitoes are active from just before dusk, through the night until dawn.

There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, and the illnesses they can cause.

Protect yourself from illness by doing simple things:

  • Use insect repellents any time you are outdoors
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing
  • Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the hours from dusk to dawn during peak mosquito season
  • Repair damaged window and door screens
  • Remove standing water from the areas around your home

See a video from DPH on EEE here: https://youtu.be/VekccoVW6aQ

For more information, including current maps of risk levels and findings of EEE and WNV in Massachusetts see https://www.mass.gov/mosquitoes-and-ticks or contact Regional Public Health Nurse Lisa White for more information at 413-665-1400 x 114.

 

FRCOG Racial Justice Work

The murder of George Floyd and resulting international protests highlight again the dire consequences of systemic racism and inequity in our society. We all must proactively work to right centuries of wrong.

At the FRCOG, we are already involved in projects to improve racial equity. The Communities that Care Coalition, staffed by our Partnership for Youth, has a 5-year grant to address racial justice in our county’s school districts. Welcoming and Belonging Franklin County, in which we participate with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation and Greenfield Community College, among others, has received a grant to address racial equity and inclusion in our workplaces and community. The FRCOG’s research conducted to produce last year’s Community Health Needs Assessment identified troubling health disparities for people of color in our county. These inequities must be considered in all local and regional planning efforts moving forward. The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Pan Flu Planning Subcommittee has acknowledged systemic racism as a public health issue, and has recognized that domestic terrorism inflicted upon black and brown people is a Homeland Security issue. The FRCOG also works closely with our county’s first responders, and we will collaborate with them to ensure greater racial equity in our region.