Covid and Respiratory Illness Information

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Respiratory Illness Update 
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Updated February 21, 2024  

Please note Massachusetts Data is updated once a week on Thursday afternoons, the CDC is updated weekly on Fridays.

National Respiratory Virus Activity Levels

The amount of respiratory illness (fever plus cough or sore throat) causing people to seek healthcare is elevated in many areas of the country. This week, 27 jurisdictions experienced high or very high activity.  Reported on Friday, February 16th, 2024

See this data at the CDC Respiratory Virus Activity Levels Website.

Massachusetts and Hampshire County Respiratory Disease Indicators

Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) provides a dashboard with data on contagious respiratory viruses, including acute respiratory diseases, COVID-19, influenza (flu), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The data presented can help track trends in respiratory disease and vaccination activity across Massachusetts. See this data at the MDPH Viral Respiratory Website.

Date: Updated February 21, 2024


Northampton Wastewater Surveillance Data

The latest Northampton effective virus concentration is posted below.  Check here to access Massachusetts DPH municipalities wastewater data. Check here to access the CDC national, regional and state data.

Date: Updated February 12, 2024    1.3M copies/L

Biobot Feb21

SARS-CoV-2 Virus: 1 Year Duration, Wastewater Effective Concentration (copies/L)

What does wastewater surveillance show? Wastewater data can provide an early warning about increasing cases since virus will show up in wastewater several days, maybe even a week, before positive test numbers start to increase. Wastewater data can help us track trends in the number of people that have COVID-19 in a community. The amount of virus that a person has in their stool and the length of time that they have virus in their stool varies. Because of this, the amount of virus measured in wastewater does not tell us total number of cases in the area and does not tell us the amount of increase or decrease in cases in communities. However, if the amount of virus in wastewater increases or decreases over several time points, that information shows that cases are either increasing or decreasing in the community. Importantly, 

More information on wastewater sampling can be found HERE and HERE.

What you Can Do To Keep Healthy

To reduce risk to becoming sick with a respiratory virus and keep our community healthy, it is important to keep taking precautions, especially if you or someone in your household is at higher risk for severe disease. The precautions we have been using during the pandemic are still the same today: staying home if you're sick, getting recommended vaccines, wearing a surgical or KN95 mask in crowded spaces, regularly washing hands, improving ventilation in indoor spaces (such as opening windows, and/or using HEPA or MERV13  filters). Use COVID Rapid Antigen Tests (see below).

Rapid Antigen Tests

Rapid Antigen Tests continue to be one of the most important COVID mitigation strategies. Rapid Antigen Tests work with the current circulating variants. Test before you are going out, have your friends and family test before the visit others, test when you think you have been exposed and test when you have symptoms. A few pro tips: get a good sample, meaning cells from inside your nose and not just mucous. Don't test too early! After exposure wait at least three days. If your result is negative, test again in 48 hours.

Two ways to get Rapid Antigen Tests for you and your family

1. From the Northampton DHHS: The Northampton Department of Health and Human Services continue to provide Rapid Antigen Tests at no cost to the public. 

2. From the US Government: Order Rapid Antigen Tests delivered to your home for free! Fill out this easy request form here

If You Test Positive for COVID

If you test positive you need to isolate, if you are exposed there are recommendations regarding masking. Follow guidance by Massachusetts DPH at isolation and exposure guidance.

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