UPDATED Feb. 25, 2024: The mask mandate for all K-12 public schools in Massachusetts will be extended through at least Jan. 15, 2022, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.

Covid-19 image

YourArlington partner Patch reported that state education officials said the extension is to allow more time for younger students to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccines for children ages 5 through 11 are expected in Massachusetts as early as next week.

"Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccination rates for adults and eligible children, and in anticipation of the vaccine becoming available in the coming weeks for children ages 5 to 11 years old, this extension of the mask requirement will allow time for the elementary school population to receive the Covid-19 vaccine," Education Secretary James Peyser said in a statement. "This will be another big step forward in our efforts to keep school safe for our kids."

Officials will continue to evaluate criteria that could be used to lift the mask requirement based on public health data.

Though the extension has been put in place, there is still the option to lift the mask requirement if schools can prove at least 80 percent of all students and staff are vaccinated after submitting documentation to DESE. 

Covid cases in town

The Oct. 29, 2021, Arlington update shows that Covid-19 cases rose 155 since Sept. 14, to 2,260, an increase of 62 since Oct. 6. The town total had not risen before that since Sept. 29. Deaths rose one on Sept. 17, to 88, the first rise in three months. 

Since May 19, when cases rose to 1,868, until July 6, when the count was 1,875, Arlington has had its longest periods with few increases since the pandemic hit Arlington and YourArlington began reporting numbers almost daily, on March 6, 2020. 

The town has recorded a total of 204 breakthrough cases of Covid-19, Christine Bongiorno, town director of Health and Human Services, told YourArlington on Oct. 12. In these cases, those who have received Covid vaccinations nonetheless get the virus.

She wrote that the town's public-health nurse has been tracking such cases since authorization was granted in Arlington after last Dec. 20, 2020. The website asked for the number after a resident requested it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discuss breakthrough cases here >>

Vaccines administered
45,827 (earlier census)
At least 1 dose: 80%Fully vaccinated: 75%

See the percentage of those vaccinated in Arlington (one dose and both shots):

Data: Mass. Dept. of Public Health

 See daily counts going back to March 2020 here, under cumulative cases) >>

See all numbers by clicking on View more tables >>  Here's an explanation about how to read these numbers >>

 The age breakdown of cases reported through Oct. 29:

19 and under20-2930-3940-4950-5960-6970-7980 and overTotal cases
413 353 355 277 335 223 143 161   2,260

Effective Aug. 9, face coverings are required for all individuals aged 2 years and above in all Arlington municipal buildings public, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering because of a medical condition or disability.

The requirement is made in an effort to protect town staff, visitors to town buildings and the community at large. The policy will remain in effect until a decrease in cases of Covid-19 is seen in Arlington and Middlesex County.

Arlington Health officials also encourage the public to wear masks when indoors (outside of your home) to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19, particularly the fast spreading Delta variant. Also continue to wash hands and social distance whenever possible. Read more town face-covering guidance >>

Accounting for some deaths

The Boston Globe has reported that Ellen McDonald, a guardian to Norma Ricci, 92, said her friend’s assisted-living residence, Sunrise of Arlington, told her April 1 that a nurse who worked on Ricci’s floor had been infected. A week later, McDonald was told Ricci was rushed to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, with no mention of coronavirus.

The next day, Mount Auburn called to say Ricci had Covid-19. McDonald donned full protective garb to visit her friend on Easter. Ricci died April 15, according to a DeVito Funeral Home notice, which lacks an obituary. 

McDonald told the Globe that Sunrise nurses told her many residents were coughing and some staffers had stopped coming to work, without official word from management. In a statement, Sunrise Senior Living told The Globe that nine residents of its Arlington facility have died and 25 have tested positive. The statement said Sunrise has regularly updated residents and families by phone and e-mail. It quoted a regional vice president, Thomas Kessler, as saying, “Communication has always been a source of pride at Sunrise of Arlington.”

10th local death identified

Joyce Dodge, a resident of Sunrise Assisted Living, Arlington, before she was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital last Christmas, tested positive and died there Jan. 8, according to a member of the family. There is no obituary.

9th local death identified

Among the Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents since early March, YourArlington has identified an ninth from obituaries. A listing at Boston.com shows  Helen T. Metros died Dec. 12 from the virus in Pittsfield.

8th local death identified

Among the Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents since early March, YourArlington has identified an eighth from obituaries. A listing at Boston.com shows Vincent A. Aliberti died July 12 from the virus.

6th, 7th local deaths identified

Among the Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents, YourArlington has identified a sixth and seventh from obituaries. Listings at Boston.com show that Joan M. Mockel and Danile F. Morrison recently succumbed to the virus.

A window in Arlington tells the story in April 2020. / Marjorie Howard photoA window at Sunrise in March 2020. / Marjorie Howard 

5th local death identified

Among the 19 Covid-19 deaths so far reported among town residents, YourArlington has identified a fifth, Vincie Teresa DeRose (Militello), as reported by the Gloucester Times. 

The fourth was Alfred "Fred" Iannacone. YourArlington reported a third death, occurring April 14 at Sunrise Assisted Living. A source confirmed the virus victim was Theodore S. Wayne. Since the end of March, two others have died in town from coronavirus: A Globe death notice identifies the first as James K. Power on March 30. A second death here was reported March 31, without details. 

Town issues "Wear A Face Covering in Public" advisory; continue to heed state’s stay-at-home advisory. Only run essential errands.
In addition to the current Stay at Home advisory by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, starting immediately, the Town of Arlington is issuing a townwide advisory that all residents wear a face covering when in public.

This advisory applies to anyone age 2 or older when in any public indoor or outdoor space. Indoor public spaces include stores and common areas in multi-unit homes. Outdoor areas include sidewalks, parks, trails, and the bike path. All persons including joggers and cyclists must comply.

This ongoing town statement continues: "We continue to believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents as numbers in the region and across the state increase at a rapid rate. Public health officials remind all residents, regardless of age, to stay at home and away from anyone who does not live in your house, including relatives. If you have to go out to conduct a necessary errand, like grocery shopping, picking up medication, or checking in on a neighbor who may need assistance, it is crucial you practice social distancing and keep 6 feet away from others."

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance information: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is now accepting applications; this program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a Covid-19 related reason, but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes the self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others. Individuals can review eligibility scenarios here and apply for PUA here.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings when in public: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Wearing a cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing, but an extra measure while you are running essential errands to minimize the spread of the virus. The CDC provides instructions on how to make your own cloth face covering.

For the national picture as of March 2023, see this U.S. map showing numbers from all counties >>

The town is also accepting donations of cloth face coverings, to local seniors, as well as PPE equipment for first responders and healthcare professionals.

List of businesses currently open in Arlington: The listings will be updated at least once daily. Please contact businesses directly before placing and order or going to their establishment to confirm that they are open, as the information on this list is subject to change.  See the list here >>

Additional resources for businesses and nonprofits may be found on the Business & Nonprofit Resourcepage. but should not comngregate in groups. 

Tracking Covid-19 through March 2023 via Johns Hopkins site

June through August: Town Covid-19 tracking
May 1 through 31: Town Covid-19 tracking
April 1 through 30: Town Covid-19 tracking
March 1 through 31: Town Covid-19 tracking
Feb. 1 through 28: Town Covid-19 tracking
Dec. 1 through 30, 2020: Town Covid-19 tracking

Feb. 28-March 6, 2020: Coronavirus risk remains low in town, health office says in 2nd update

This news announcement was published Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. It was updated through Oct. 29, 2021. The orginal copy was written by Joan Roman, town webmaster, with editing and additions by Bob Sprague. Patch reports were included. It was updated Feb. 25, 2024, to remove a broken link spotted by a sharp-eyed YourArlington reader, and also to note that some major reporting sites including Johns Hopkins have not updated since March 2023.