Health Greater Gardner MA Local News

Health Around Greater Gardner MA

  • Covid Update (4/19/2022)
    MA Covid Dashboard – CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    With Covid cases low, small increases appear to be large. Here’s actual data.

    Covid Cases Still Low in MA

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its Covid Dashboard on 4-15-22 (which looks back 2 weeks) showing in MA: under 2500 new Covid cases (in last day), under 350 patients currently hospitalized with Covid, and under 40 patients currently in ICU units, with under 10 new deaths reported.   7 day average of percent positivity is 3.89%.  Average age of death was 78.   Gardner Magazine is committed  to not overstate the risk of Covid and still urges proactive measures such as vaccines, boosters, and quick treatment for those afflicted.

  • Kids Colds (4/17/2022)
    Sick Child
    Doctor with child

    Are Snot Nose Kids Coming Back in Greater Gardner MA?

    One of the unintended consequences of masking children during the pandemic has been the effect on immune systems and the transmission of other illnesses.  Not only was Covid spread possibly prevented, but also the incidence of colds and flu was greatly diminished.  Less kids were getting sick with other illnesses.  With masks coming off, colds and flu are expected back.

    Snotty noses in babies and toddlers can be treated with saline spray or nose drops available over the counter.   For older children, there’s Children’s Tylenol Cold and Flu or Dimetapp Cold and Cough.   Other items to stock in the medicine cabinet are ibuprofen, acetaminophen, petroleum jelly, hydrocortisone 1 percent, antibiotic ointment, cough syrup, menthol rub, honey, kids vitamins, thermometers, and other over the counter remedies.   Of course, for specific concerns, check with your family doctor or pediatrician.

    Information on Colds and Flu from the CDC. CLICK HERE.

    Family of 3

    CDC Influenza Map
    CDC Influenza Map Week Ending 4-9-22 CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    Good news is actual flu cases in Massachusetts are shown as low on the most recent CDC Influenza Map. Let’s hope the trend continues.

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  • Noise Complaints (4/16/2022)
    When Noise is Too Loud
    Sound Meter
    No Noise graphic

    Be Kind. Have fun, but limit noise to appropriate hours. You will keep your neighbors happy.

    Solutions to Excess Noise in Greater Gardner MA

    A situation which occurs often is the NOISE COMPLAINT. When is the line crossed from when someone is simply enjoying some music on their own property having a good time to when they are infringing on someone else’s rights. According to Massachusetts Environmental Protection Regulations, there is a clear line and it is measurable and also enforceable by local police under 310 CMR 7.52. In fact, there was a Virtual Seminar conducted on the subject and we have the 49 page pdf. Air Quality Nuisance Complaints Concerning Noise CLICK HERE. Here’s a link to sound level meters on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

    Measuring the Problem

    Utilizing the above regulations through sound measurement can be done at any time of day, irrespective of any other local ordinances limiting complaints to, for example, loud noise between the hours of 11pm and 7am such as some communities do with ordinances. Keep in mind you can’t complain about circumstances for which individuals have a valid permit such as a parade, public gathering, or sporting event, a licensed Fireworks Display, or Band Concert. You can’t complain about Emergency vehicles or national defense activities. And, you can’t complain about domestic equipment such as lawn mowers and power saws used between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm. – these uses are specifically permitted by statute.

    Local Ordinances

    Your local community may have a local ordinance establishing a quiet time between certain hours, such as 11pm and 7am. In those cases, common sense applies and Police officers can easily step in and get the music turned down without having to do specific measurements. The evidence is that you heard it and it bothers you. We advise the City of Gardner to either enact a simple local excess noise ordinance or have officers carry Sound level meters which would allow them to take action at any time of day when noise levels exceed the ambient noise present at the complainants property line by 10db.

  • Covid Seesaw (4/12/2022)
    Covid Seesaw

    Should you have Covid symptoms, your best source of advice is your family doctor who can advise of appropriate treatments and protocols.

    Covid in Context, Cases Up, Hospitalizations Relatively Low in MA

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that 243 people are in the hospital right now in Massachusetts with Covid 19 and the 7 day positivity percent average is 3 percent.  For the Massachusetts Covid Dashboard giving you the latest data at any time, CLICK HERE.

    Massachusetts Covid Cases
    Massachusetts Covid Cases Up. Positivity at 3%, however hospitalizations still relatively low.
  • Surgical Pavilion (4/7/2022)
    Operating room
    Surgeons
    Heywood Hospital postcard
    Heywood Hospital historical postcard
    Health and Medical Gardner MA

    Surgery to be State-of-the-Art at Heywood Hospital in Gardner MA

    Construction crews are visible daily at Heywood Hospital, laying the groundwork for the new Surgical Pavilion being built in the coming months.

    The current surgical area at Heywood Hospital in Gardner MA was built over 50 years ago and is utilized for thousands of procedures every year.   After construction, the Surgical Pavilion will be approximately 22,000 square feet and feature 6 operating rooms, 2 minor procedure rooms, 2 endoscopy rooms, and other areas.  The improved facility is expected to help Heywood’s bottom line and help keep good physicians.   While construction is going on for up to a 6 month period and possibly in to 2023, employees are parking on Green Street and Mathews Street due to construction affecting available parking. The projected cost of the project is over $30 million.

    More on the Heywood Hospital Website. CLICK HERE. Original public announcement

    More Health stories on our Local Health page

    Covid stories on our Covid page.

  • Illegal Dumping (4/1/2022)

    Don’t illegally dump in Gardner. You will get caught. You will pay for your crime.

    Illegal Dumpers in Gardner MA soon to get Rude Awakening

    The fine is $250 for the first offense. The problem has been capturing the crooks in the act. That’s about to change. The Gardner Board of Health is going high-tech, employing sophisticated cameras rotating throughout the city to capture license plates of people dumping illegally.

    At a recent Board of Health meeting, Director Lauren Saunders said “looking to catch people who are illegally dumping in the city. It’s a big problem.  I think we’ve talked about it before. …There are certain hot spots that people are continuously dumping furniture, televisions, electronics, big items like that. “  Have one camera, will work with PD and DPW to get it up, will move locations. “  Board member Susan Avalon also commented saying she walks down Betty Spring Road “and there’s toilets, chairs, all kinds of things.”

  • Stop and Buy (4/1/2022)

    Cloud Hanging over Stop and Buy in Gardner MA

    The Gardner Board of Health met at length on 3-28-22 regarding repeated violations of the food code at Stop and Buy, 56 Union Square Gardner. Specifically, inspections going back 5 years have revealed expired food at every inspection. Watch meeting on YouTube

    Inspector Rick Rossi said he told manager. “next time I come here, I don’t want to find anything expired.” And then he picked up a random item and it was expired. Board of Health Director Lauren Saunders suggested that the store license be suspended if further violations occur. Some inspections have found over 20 expired food items.

    Not the only problem at the location

    The attorney for the business owner indicated, “client was in a tough business, and he’s also been hammered by the pandemic.”  Members of the Board did not find this a valid excuse for expired food, especially since it has been a problem at every inspection over past 6 years. Other problems at the location included a clogged sink, a 3 bay sinking leaking at a drain, a leaking roof, and Honey Buns not labeled for individual sale were being sold separately without any date code. The attorney for the landlord stated that according to a lease, the tenant is responsible for repairing the roof. Board member Geoffrey Tobia indicated there’s “not much tolerance for any further violations.” The Board voted to wait until after Thursday 3/31 when a plumber is supposedly scheduled for do repairs. “Mr. Rossi will go in and reinspect regarding hot water and sink and the plumbing in the 3 bay sink area and any food expiration dates.  As far as the roof, attorney for business and landlord will discuss and have some sort of agreement or plan within 2 weeks to get back to Board of Health”

    Property is on the Market

    In a surprising revelation considering the property’s condition, it was noted that the property is on the market for $1 million. See the listing here.

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  • Gas Line Struck (3/24/2022)
    Gas Line struck 3-23-22

    While evacuations of patients or staff were not necessary, ambulances had to transport patients to other hospitals during the incident. Engine companies from Westminster and Ashburnham assisted at scene, while Hubbardston and Templeton covered Gardner Fire station.

    Gardner MA Fire Department Dispatched to Heywood Hospital for Broken Gas Line

    A Construction Crew working at Heywood Hospital on the morning of 3-23-22 apparently damaged a 1 ½ inch high pressure line that services the kitchen.   The rear of the Hospital campus was evacuated due to a strong odor of gas. Subsequent testing of entire building by Firefighter teams showed no dangerous levels.    More from the Gardner Fire Department on Facebook, CLICK HERE.

  • Rabies Clinic (3/23/2022)
    Gardner Rabies Clinic and Microchipping
    Sick as a dog

    Keep your pet healthy. Attend the clinic.

    Rabies Vaccine Clinic for all Dogs and Cats in Greater Gardner Area

    The Gardner Rabies Clinic will take place Sunday April 3, 2022 from 10am to 1pm outside at the Gardner Animal Shelter, 899 West Broadway, Gardner   DIRECTIONS.   Fee is $20, exact change only. Micro chipping is free.  Open to residents and non-residents.   You must pre-register ahead of time by filling out a form and dropping it in a lock box at the animal shelter or you can scan the form and email it to animaladoption@gardner-ma.gov.  Form is available at: CLICK HERE.

    Dogs must be leashed, Cats must be in sturdy carriers.  In order to receive 3 yr. rabies certificate, you must bring your old rabies certificate. (even if expired.)  For questions please contact the Gardner Animal Shelter at (978) 630-4950.

  • Heywood 2-25-22 (2/27/2022)

    Watch the Heywood update on YouTube. CLICK HERE.

    Heywood Hospital of Gardner MA changes some Covid Policy

    According to statements made in a video update by Heywood CEO Win Brown, each patient not under precautions can have one healthy visitor. Visitors must still go through screening, wear masks, and use gel in and out. The CEO says he’s a little nervous with the dropping of mask mandates locally and school vacation and encourages residents to still wear masks inside when going to different places. Brown stated that as of 2-25-22, there were 10 Covid positive patients at Heywood.

    In good news for Heywood employees, Win Brown explained that while some employees have not received raises since the hospital raised its minimum starting wage to $18/hour, they will soon. starting with some employees getting increases in February and continuing until all commensurate increases have occurred.

    Massachusetts Covid Data as of 2-24-22
    Massachusetts Covid Data as of 2-24-22 – Cases by age, Percent Positivity, Hospitalizations

    Surgical Wing Construction

    Win Brown also announced that parking will be soon limited due to the start of construction of the new surgical wing. He says permission has already been obtained for staff to park on Green Street and the hospital is inquiring whether the use of Mathews Street will be possible. The new Surgical Wing is expected to be completed sometime next year and add to Heywood’s capabilities.

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  • FREE TESTS GIVEN (2/25/2022)
    test kit

    Over 3000 FREE Covid Test Kits distributed February 24, 2022 at PACC in Gardner MA

    According to Mayor Nicholson, “We gave away about 35 cases (each case has 90 kits) there’ll still be some available for free at the Health Department in City Hall”

  • Board of Health News 2-23-22 (2/24/2022)

    Watch the entire meeting. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Board of Health Lifts Mandate and Advisory

    With Gardner’s Covid positivity rate of 26% in January having dropped to 8.9% and continuing to fall, the Gardner MA Board of Health has immediately lifted its mask mandate for municipal buildings and senior housing.  The community mask advisory was also immediately lifted.

    Graham Street Property

    Property changed hands in 2020 according to the Worcester Registry of Deeds. But, a previous owner is somehow collecting rents from tenants and somehow interfering with current owner’s desire to make repairs to property for benefit of renters.It’s all headed for COURT!

    Update on Graham Street Violations and Owner Dispute

    According to the Gardner MA Board of Health, the currently listed owner and landlord attempted access to the property to address a tenant’s heat problem. However, Gardner Police were summoned to the property by a man who was a previous owner and is somehow collecting rents illegally according to the current owner. To avoid confrontation, owner left and repairs were not made. Board of Health states tenants are using space heaters to stay warm. In an attempt at remedying the problem, The Board of Health has filed in Housing Court. Gardner MA City Solicitor Flick will represent the City on Friday, March 11th. No reason was given why previous owner on property illegally was not arrested and why current owner was not assisted by Gardner PD in helping tenants, as suggested by Board of Health at January meeting.

    Board Doing Right Thing to Help Citizen

    Board did not identify property involved in another situation apparently involving the Gardner MA Building Department, Fire, EMS, and police. A property was condemned due to no electricity, no running water, ceilings falling in, and lots of mold. Individual received temporary housing and was signed up for Mass Health.

    The Honey Buns and Expired Food Scandal

    Board did not identify a local business it is calling before the Board of Health at its next meeting March 28, 2022 in person at Gardner MA City Hall. Business is accused of having expired food on the shelves despite numerous inspections uncovering the same, having leaks in the ceiling, illegally splitting up packages of Honey Buns, and maintaining a store temperature of 48 degrees. No explanation as to why the business was not immediately cited and closed down. Board of Health Administrative Coordinator Angela DiPrima stated to Gardner Magazine that the business would be identified in the agenda for the upcoming March meeting, generally released about a week before.

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  • Mask Mandate Gone (2/18/2022)

    Read 2/28/22 letter from Gardner Superintendent of Schools Mark Pellegino. CLICK HERE.

    Not so Fast! Greater Gardner Mask Mandate only Partially Rescinded.

    While on February, 28, 2022, masks will no longer be required in Gardner Public Schools and other schools in area communities, all students and staff must still wear masks on school buses. There are other requirements and recommendations, and changing circumstances could bring the masks back.

  • Gardner MA Covid (2/14/2022)
    Covid Dashboard 2-14-22

    Gardner MA Positive Covid Cases down 91 percent from the last report one month ago. View report from last month

    The State of Massachusetts also does Covid-19 Response Reporting. Information was just updated as of 5:30pm 2/14/22. Chart below. Here’s the link if you want to view more data. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Covid School Cases Down, Wide Participation in Covid Testing

    The Gardner Public School Covid-19 Bi-Weekly DASHBOARD was updated just before 11am on February 14, 2022.  Total Current Positive Cases are 10, down from 114 reported one month ago, a decrease of over 91 percent.    A new statistic is being reported: 324 staff in home testing program and 638 students in home testing program.     The Massachusetts Mask Mandate for schools goes away February 28, 2022.   Gardner has not  yet announced whether the mask mandate will be lifted locally.

    Note: The Gardner MA School Committee meets Monday, February 14, 2022 at 7pm in the City Council Chamber. We’ll bring you information from this meeting as soon as it becomes available. Here is the posted agenda: CLICK HERE

    Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Interactive Covid Response

    MA Covid Dashboard
    CLICK IMAGE for larger view.
    CLICK Image for larger view

    The Covid Cases rates per 100,000 people have also fallen. For example, on the last report Gardner was at 200.2. In this recent report covering the past 2 weeks. the number has dropped to 119.3, a drop of more than 40%. With this trend, the overall current number of Covid cases in the Gardner MA population is likely much lower as the data reporting covers a rolling past two-week period.

    CLICK on the image at left for a large view showing Covid Case Counts/100,000 covering past 2 weeks for all towns of Worcester County.

  • Mask Mandate (2/12/2022)

    Gardner Public Schools is currently not making any data available as to the number of staff and students afflicted with Covid. No word as to why.

    Gardner MA Schools go DARK on Covid Data, Mum on Masks

    Gardner Public Schools Covid Dashboard hasn’t been updated in a month. The current DASHBOARD was checked on January 28, 2022 and again on February 12, 2022 – still states updating and has missing data. No word on why. With the statewide Mask Mandate expiring February 28, 2002 we are waiting for word on whether Gardner Public Schools will be requiring masks in March or not. As of this date, the official website has no information.

  • Covid February Update (2/9/2022)
    Covid Incidence Rate per 100,000 Worcester County MACLICK on image above for larger view.

    For the Massachusetts Covid Dashboard, CLICK HERE.

    Covid Reports are a Mixed Bag for the Greater Gardner MA Area

    The Covid Incidence Rate per 100,000 is still high for the past two weeks in the Greater Gardner MA area. However, cases in Massachusetts as a whole are plummeting to the lowest levels in months. See the sharp downward lines on the 4 graphs below. CLICK on the image at left or below for larger view.

    Massachusetts Covid Dashboard

  • Free Sanitizer (2/4/2022)
    Free hand sanitizer at ocean state job lot gardner ma

    Gardner MA Ocean State Job Lot offers FREE Hand sanitizer and wipes for Educators

    Now through February 16: Teachers, School Management, and school support personnel as well as homeschoolers can come in to the store and pick up hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and disinfectant wipes for FREE while supplies last. Ocean State says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult on our educators and we want to recognize these incredible individuals and help keep them-and their students-healthy.” Proof of employment required and homeschooler documentation needed. No purchase necessary.

  • Covid Dashboard (1/28/2022)
    CLICK on IMAGE for larger view

    Gardner MA Covid Dashboard Not Yet Updated

    As of 10pm on January 28, 2022, the Gardner Public School Covid 19 Bi-Weekly DASHBOARD shows “updating” instead of a number of cases. We’ll update this story if the information becomes available.

  • Rutland Vaccine (1/24/2022)
    Covid Vaccine

    Rutland MA Vaccine Clinics

    Rutland is offering vaccine clinics on Mondays at the lower level of the Rutland Public Library.  Pediatric is 2-4pm and adults are 4:30-7pm.  All brands are offered.   For dates on PDF, CLICK HERE.  Occasional additional popup dates may occur.  More information at  Town of Rutland Board of Health website, CLICK  HERE,  or the Rutland Fire Department Facebook page.  CLICK HERE.

  • Heywood Hospital (1/22/2022)
    Heywood CEO Win Brown
    Heywood CEO Winfield Brown with 1-21-22 update shared with staff and the community.

    Gardner MA Heywood Hospital CEO Win Brown – Covid Update

    Mr. Brown spoke of the current Covid challenges including a 7 day positivity rate of 36 percent and a high hospitalization of 43 Covid inpatients (down from a peak of 48 in the last week) Brown emphasized Central Mass hasn’t peaked yet and Heywood goes through 650 N95 masks and 1000 isolation gowns daily. Some figures since the start of the pandemic: 142,000 specimens tested, 8.6% overall positivity rate, and 300 covid-positive patients have been discharged.

    Win Brown noted all staff must be boosted by March 4th and that the blood supply was critically low, suggested the public donate at the Red Cross site in Worcester. To watch this short update, CLICK HERE..

  • Test Reimbursement (1/19/2022)

    UPDATE: Free Covid-19 Test Kits and Reimbursement for Greater Gardner MA

    The Federal Government has a website in effect NOW from which Americans can order free COVID-19 tests. This began on January 19th. For the site CLICK HERE. These kits are absolutely free (limited to 4 tests per address) and don’t require any payment upfront.

    In addition, private insurers must cover the cost of up to eight at-home Covid-19 tests per month. (This started   January 15, 2022.) Consumers pay for the tests up front and get reimbursed by insurance. Previous purchases don’t count and tests must be on approved government list: Rapid Antigen —- Molecular (PCR).

    The Biden Administration has also announced that FREE masks will soon be available through your local pharmacy. Ask your pharmacy for details.

    Additional suggestion: With many venues requiring proof of vaccination, we suggest the purchase of an inexpensive all-in-one printer (less than $70 from any major retailer) so you can scan your vax card. Back up any documents and keep a file on your phone. Now an even easier suggestion: Get a digital Vax Card through the State of Massachusetts. To visit the portal, CLICK HERE.

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  • Smokin’ Sewer (1/17/2022)

    Smoking the Sewers in Orange MA

    The Town of Orange MA will be performing Smoke Testing as part of a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey on January 19, 2022 between the hours of 7am and 4pm. Non-toxic smoke is blown into sewer mains to determine any areas where storm and surface water may be entering the sewer system. Residents should not get smoke in their homes if they have proper plumbing, ventilation, and water traps containing water – should smoke occur inside, report to crews on site or call (800) 268-0281

  • Vax Record (1/17/2022)
    Covid-19 Smart Health Card
    To get your electronic record, CLICK HERE

    MA COVID-19 Digital Vaccine Card

    Massachusetts now has a new option for residents to access their COVID-19 vaccination record from the state’s immunization registry and obtain a ‘SMART Health Card’ QR code to indicate proof of vaccination. 

    Massachusetts residents can visit a web portal that follows national standards for security and privacy and provides residents a way to electronically view and save their COVID-19 vaccine record. To visit the portal, CLICK HERE

    By providing a cell phone number or email address, users can obtain a digital record of their vaccinations recorded in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System. Their COVID-19 vaccination record includes a unique QR code that can be saved to the user’s phone files, camera roll or the Apple Wallet. It can also be printed out for a paper record.

  • First 2022 update (1/14/2022)
    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson delivers weekly update of 1-14-22 Watch the update on YouTube or via our page, CLICK HERE.

    In other matters:

    Gardner Fire Department: The Mayor reported that the Fire Department received an 11 thousand dollar State grant to replace portions of their breathing apparatus.

    Police Dog for Gardner PD: The Stanton Foundation is providing funds through a grant to purchase a new Police Dog for the Gardner PD. 

    New Road Salt Formula: With respect to SALT on the roads, this year the formulation is different and contains Molasses, giving the product a brown color , the mayor assuring residents that it is SALT, not dirt. 

    Impressive Gardner Cheerleaders: The Mayor says that we should be impressed with the performance of the Gardner Cheerleading squad making it to nationals in Texas, especially since there was no cheerleading last year and thus no seniors on the squad.  There will be a special send-off ceremony for the Gardner Cheerleaders on January 18, 2022 at 6pm in Gardner City Hall Auditorium with a 5 dollar suggested donation at the door to help cover their travel costs to Dallas.  The Cheerleaders will be performing their Dallas routine at the ceremony.

    Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Delivers First Update of 2022

    Gratitude: Mayor Nicholson started off with gratitude: Heaps of praise for all those who were part of the Inauguration Ceremonies in any way and thanks to all who contributed to the successful vaccine clinic at Gardner Middle School.

    Pandemic Concerns: The mayor indicated he was asked by Heywood Hospital to speak about the Covid pandemic in the City of Gardner, relating that the hospital has “well over 25 patients admitted to the hospital testing positive for Covid 19, the intensive care unit is full, …they have started for the first time to  double up on beds in the intensive care unit….the other day they had 13 beds in the hallway of the emergency room…it’s really getting to become an issue here. “

    Testing Issues: The mayor stated, “We’re also seeing a very big strain on the amount of testing that has to be done….the amount of people who are calling for a test has been such a large amount that Heywood Hospital’s phone system crashed 3 times in the past week.” Nicholson said that in order to help alleviate the testing load, about one thousand testing kits have been distributed to private physician offices in the city.  He also stated that he has spoken with neighboring communities about hosting a rapid test distribution day to help with the problem.

    Weekly Updates: Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson generally releases an update each week which is posted on the City of Gardner’s YouTube Channel.- CLICK HERE We also maintain a Mayor’s update page on Gardner Magazine, CLICK HERE.

  • Covid Cases (1/14/2022)
    COVID Cases Gardner MA Public Schools. CLICK IMAGE for larger view
    Covid Flow Chart
    CLICK IMAGE for 7 page flow chart PDF

    With Covid still challenging, Gardner MA School District releases Helpful updated COVID Protocol Flow Chart

    As of January 14, 2022 – Covid Cases reported by Gardner Public Schools are a total of 114 current Positive Cases consisting of 9 Staff and 105 students.  See chart.  This is up from 75 total on January 4th and 31 on December 3rd. Back on October 8, 2021, there were 9 Positive Cases.

    As another part of the effort to tackle the ongoing situation, this 7 page COVID Flow Chart was released. CLICK HERE.

    In the State of Massachusetts as of January 13, 2022, there are 3,180 patients in the hospital with Covid, 484 of these patients are in Intensive Care Units where 278 are intubated. Average age of death has dropped to 73. Visit Mass.gov Covid Dashboard. CLICK HERE

  • Tree Pickup Delay (1/14/2022)
    Christmas tree recycling

    No Tree Pickup in Gardner MA – Transport D.I.Y. to Transfer Station

    The Gardner Board of Health issued this Christmas Tree update on 1-13-22: “Due to ongoing & increasing staff at EL Harvey being impacted by COVID illness, Christmas tree pickup has been delayed again.  There will be no tree pickup this week.  At this time, we are still working on a plan for removal, but our focus is to make sure that trash and recycling are removed for sanitation reasons.  Any Gardner resident who has the ability to transport their tree to the Transfer Station is welcome to do so, no permit sticker necessary.  We will post more info on curbside collection as soon as we have it.  Thank you for your patience during these unusual times.  The Transfer Station is located at 744 West St and is open Wed-Fri 9am to 3pm, Sat 7am to 1pm”

  • Face Masks (1/8/2022)

    As of January 4, 2022: “Effective Immediately  Due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant and the advisories issued by the CDC and MassDPH,   Face Coverings are Required  Regardless of vaccination status, for any persons entering this Town building.  Face coverings will not be required for children under 5 and persons for whom a face mask or covering creates a health risk.”

  • Covid Testing Update (1/7/2022)
    Covid Testing Gardner MA

    COVID Testing Change for Monday January 10, 2022

    According to the Gardner Health Department, effective Monday, January 10, 2022, COVID testing will only be performed at Main Street Urgent Care, Gardner and Tully Walk In Care, Athol for “patients who need to see a provider.” In order to accommodate the public, daily appointment availability is being tripled at the Damon Testing Site on Green Street, Gardner. Appointments (even same day) can be scheduled by calling (978) 630-6186.

  • Covid Cases Up (1/4/2022)

    There is a vaccine clinic January 4, 2022 at Gardner Middle School. While the average death from Covid is 75, the average age of infection is 33, demonstrating that getting the vaccine will help prevent the death of other family members, friends, and neighbors. We have a page with all the stats. CLICK HERE.

    Covid 19 Update Gardner MA and State of MA

    Gardner MA Public School Covid-19 Bi-Weekly DASHBOARD updated January 4, 2022 shows a total of 67 positive cases, staff 14 and students 53.  This is up from 6 staff members and 46 students which was reported on December 16, 2021.  This data is consistent with an upward trend observed in Gardner and the State of Massachusetts.   We have a page with more MA Covid data, CLICK HERE.

  • Keeping Active (1/3/2022)

    Keep Active in Greater Gardner MA

    With so many of us spending more time indoors during the winter months, it’s still important to keep active.  Here are some options:

    The Fitness Center at Mount Wachusett Community College, 444 Green St., Gardner MA is 65,000 square feet and open to the public. It has a pool, courts, tracks, equipment, 85 programs, and even childcare. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    Planet Fitness, 74 Victoria St., Gardner. Website. Rates.

    Vanarchy Gym, 212 West St., Gardner Website Rates

    Clark Memorial YMCA, Central St. WInchendon Website Rates

    There’s ice skating at the Gardner Veterans Arena, 45 Veterans Drive, Gardner. For more information, CLICK HERE

    Fitness Concepts, 696 West Broadway, Gardner. Website Rates.

    Muscleworks Gym, 34 Sanborn St., Gardner Website Rates

    Another option is bowling at Gardner Ten Pins, 560 West Broadway, Gardner. For more information, CLICK HERE

    Have one to add? Let us know and we’ll add to this post.

  • Saluting Covid Progress (12/31/2021)

    Greater Gardner MA Covid 19 Progress

    We made substantial progress with Covid 19 in 2021. Just how much impact did the efforts of so many have? Please read our complete article crediting efforts of the heroes who helped so many survive. CLICK HERE.

  • Year of Covid Progress (12/31/2021)
  • Guardsmen Deployed (12/27/2021)

    Guardsmen to Assist Gardner MA Heywood Hospital

    Gardner Mayor Nicholson and Council President Kazinskas were part of the welcoming team at Heywood Hospital on Monday December 27, 2021 as 9 members of the Massachusetts National Guard were deployed to the facility for the next 12 weeks.   The guardsmen who are all from the North Central MA area will assist in operations due to  Hospital staffing shortages.

  • Covid Kit Time Change (12/27/2021)
    Home self test

    Test Kit Distribution Time Change

    Gardner MA sent out an emergency message via the Community Alert system informing residents that test kit distribution time has been changed to 3pm to 6pm this Wednesday December 29th.

    Gardner Board of Health states, “Please remember this is not a testing site. Kits will be distributed for at-home testing. You must be a Gardner resident to obtain a kit and proof of residency will be required. Only one test kit per adult. Proof of residency is an ID or a piece of mail with your Gardner address on it.”

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  • Test Kits (12/21/2021)

    Gardner Board of Health – Free Covid 19 Test Kit Distribution

    UPDATE: “FREE COVID-19 test kits (2 tests per kit) were successfully distributed to Gardner residents at the Gardner Police Station on Wednesday, December 22nd. Allocation for that day was all distributed. Next distribution date is Wednesday, December 29th from 1-6pm or while supplies last. Due to limited supply, only one test kit per adult. Please bring proof of Gardner residency.” Suggestion: If you don’t live in Gardner, please check with your local Board of Health regarding availability in your town.

  • Math of Covid (12/18/2021)

    An analysis of the numbers reveals the power of vaccines. CLICK HERE.

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  • Life-saving Tool (12/17/2021)
    Gardner MA Mask

    Advisory: Get the Covid Vaccine or Booster. Advisory: Wear a mask indoors in public to protect others. Advisory: Covid testing is generally FREE at area pharmacies.

    Save a life!

    This Gardner MA mask tool may just save your life or the life of someone you know. Mayor Mike Nicholson addressed the Gardner Board of Health’s indoor mask advisory in this week’s update. It is well-known that those contagious with Covid 19 can help prevent spreading it to others by wearing a mask. With many people not knowing they are contagious, the mask becomes a life-saving tool.

    “The Math of Covid”. Read our article. CLICK HERE

    Mayor Nicholson put this in perspective in his weekly address noting Gardner MA Heywood Hospital has 23 active Covid patients as of 12/17/21 and ICU is full. Leominster Hospital ICU is also full and has shipped ICU patients as far away as Philadelphia PA.   Another 2 to 3 dozen hospitals are FULL.  Heywood has cut elective procedures in half.  There is also a statewide blood shortage with the Red Cross rationing blood in Massachusetts.

  • Covid Cases (12/17/2021)
    Massachusetts and Gardner Covid Case Counts

    Gardner Magazine has a Vaccine News page containing automatically updated stories. CLICK HERE

    “The Math of Covid”. Read our article. CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA and Massachusetts Covid Cases Up

    With Covid Cases up, what’s the best advice for you and your family? Most experts still advise that vaccines provide the best ammunition and the CDC now favors Pfizer and Moderna over J&J. Vaccines are readily available.

    For those desiring Covid testing, Gardner Magazine has the following links for those needing Covid 19 tests. Walgreen’s: CLICK HERE, CVS: CLICK HERE, Price Chopper: CLICK HERE, Walmart: CLICK HERE. Chair City Pharmacy indicates they usually refer patients needing testing to CVS, Walgreen’s, or Walmart.

    The MA Covid Dashboard shows current Covid Cases.

  • Covid Testing (12/16/2021)
    Covid 19

    Covid 19 Test in Gardner MA area

    Gardner Magazine has the following links for those needing Covid 19 tests. Walgreen’s: CLICK HERE, CVS: CLICK HERE, Price Chopper: CLICK HERE, Walmart: CLICK HERE. Chair City Pharmacy indicates they usually refer patients needing testing to CVS, Walgreen’s, or Walmart.

  • Covid Dashboard (12/16/2021)
    Covid Overview 12-15-21 CLICK IMAGE

    MA Covid Dashboard

    MA Covid Dashboard shows current Covid cases for Massachusetts. For the current dashboard, CLICK HERE.

  • Board of Health (11/29/2021)

    Athol MA Board of Health Vacancy

    Are you a medical professional willing to help the town of Athol in exchange for a small stipend? Fill this vacancy on the Board, CLICK HERE

  • Vaccine News Page (9/16/2021)
    Vaccine icon

    Interested in Vaccine News? Visit our new Vaccine News page.

  • Why get vaccinated? Vax Facts (9/11/2021)

    Massachusetts has a high Covid vaccination rate which has protected much of our population. However, since the vaccine is not 100% effective, getting the shot to the rest would be helpful. We understand hesitant people need facts, So here’s a page of the best facts we found…. CLICK HERE

  • Getting the Vax – Setting the Record Straight (8/26/2021)
    Opinion - Editorial - Gardner MA

    Vaccine Information Resources

    So What do Masks Actually Do?

    We’ll keep it simple: Studies show droplets of from 20 to 500 micrometers are generated when saying a simple phrase AND nearly all can be blocked by putting a simple damp washcloth over the mouth. Similar studies showed reduction in droplets by wearing a mask by those having the flu or a common cold. However, mask wearing has been shown to slow down Covid transmission only by single digits, typically by about 2 percent over the 3 weeks following a mask mandate.

    So that’s why some people say masks don’t work. They DO work, just not as well as advertised. What does work very well is a vaccine. And that’s easy to prove.

    Getting the Vax – Setting the Record Straight

    Why is there vaccine hesitancy?  It’s understandable as so many figures are thrown around like hotcakes and consistency and transparency are lacking.   But let’s be very clear.  The overall risk in the United States of dying from covid (after getting it) from 12/15/2020 through 8/25/2021 has been a relatively consistent 1.7%% to 1.8%.   The risk was higher early on due to the larger number of older Americans being infected and also that the medical community has gained more experience in treating patients.  

    Risk of Covid 60,000 times greater than risk of Vaccine

      In any case, the current risk of dying if you get Covid is still about 60,000 times the risk of dying if you get the vaccine which some numbers show is .0032%.  (And that number is disputed as being way too high by the medical community.  So to be clear, even using the ant-ivaxers numbers, the risk of dying from Covid 19 (once infected) is still 60,000 times the risk of dying from the vaccine.)  

    Risk in the young, therapeutics, and candor

    Yes, it is true that the  younger you are, in general, the risk of dying from covid is relatively low with the death rate being almost non-existent in young children.   But there is a substantial risk in all adults over 18, still thousands of times higher than any risk of getting the vaccine.  We urge adults to get the vax.   We also urge the medical community to work at a quicker pace to get proven therapeutics to patients to improve the survival rates for those who do get Covid.  And, we encourage government officials to be more transparent with data irrespective of whether it supports their narrative.  Lack of government candor has caused more vaccine hesitancy and thus arguably more covid deaths.  Honesty is still the best policy.

    What About the Masks?

    The extremely small number of covid deaths in children overall is why there has been a huge objection by parents to the practice of forcing young children to wear masks in schools.  However, there have been some areas with an alarming number of children suffering with covid.  Put that on TV and fear fuels the mask mandates.   So what about the rest of us?   If we got the vax, why should we wear a mask.    Well, it depends on your appetite for risk.   A vaccine which is 95% effective means your chance of getting covid is only 5% of the risk taken by an unvaxed person.    But, there is still a small risk.  – Fortunately, if you do get covid after getting the vaccine, you will likely survive it, because severe cases are the exception rather than the norm.  The decision on whether to wear a mask is an individual one, unless your rights are usurped by a mask mandate.

    The Record is Straight

    Adults getting the vaccine helps and we encourage it, based strictly on the math.  Mask wearing can make sense indoors in close quarters.   But having kids wear masks can do more harm than good so why are we doing it?  We haven’t seen any science supporting a kid masking policy. We know  fear is driving vaccine hesitancy.   Fear is driving mask mandates.   Fear drives human behavior in general.   Public policy should be based on fact rather than fear.   Each of you have a unique medical history and we encourage you to consult with your doctor regarding any important medical decisions. 

    Where to get the vaccine?

    Here’s a link to places to get the vaccine within 25 miles of Gardner MA: from Vaccines.gov search – You can also do your own search here: Vaccines.gov custom search

    Please get the VAX.

    We love you.

    Beautiful Trees are enjoyed by those who are alive because they got the covid 19 vaccine.
    Autumn Trees enjoyed by those who got the Covid 19 vaccine because they are still alive.

  • Vaccine – Gardner MA (8/26/2021)
    Opinion - Editorial - Gardner MA

    Getting the Vax – Setting the Record Straight

    Why is there vaccine hesitancy?  It’s understandable as so many figures are thrown around like hotcakes and consistency and transparency are lacking.   But let’s be very clear.  The overall risk in the United States of dying from covid (after getting it) from 12/15/2020 through 8/25/2021 has been a relatively consistent 1.7%% to 1.8%.   The current risk of dying if you get Covid is still about 60,000 times the risk of dying if you get the vaccine even using the anti-vaxers vaccine mortality number of .0032% which others have said is incorrect.  READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE on our Editorial page.

  • Resources RE Covid (7/12/2021)

    There are still state resources available regarding Covid 19 impacted individuals and families. For more information visit this state of Massachusetts website page. For our comprehensive post on Covid 19 vaccine and statistics, click here.

  • Getting the Covid Vaccine? (7/7/2021)

    Click above for easy to read large version of Covid Hospitalization vs. Adverse Reaction to Vaccine chart.

    Click above for easy to read large version of Covid Hospitalizations per million people (and Covid Adverse Reaction rates)

    Click above for easy to read large version of Covid 19 Infections, Illnesses, and Hospitalizations by Age Group.

    Data below includes charts on adverse reactions to the various vaccines. Click an image for large view.

    Pfizer 18-55
    Pfizer 56+
    Moderna 18-64
    Moderna 65+
    J&J 18-59
    J&J 60+

    We hope this Gardner MA News article has been helpful. Please contact us with comments.

    Getting the Covid Vaccine or not?

    That is the Question on the minds of many Greater Gardner MA people. The answer is not simple. When comparing data provided by the FDA and CDC regarding the risk of Covid 19 hospitalization vs. the risk of a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine. the answer is easier when asked based on age. For example, the Pfizer vaccine risk is almost the same vs Covid in individuals up to the age of 17. With Moderna, it appears it is riskier for those under 17 to get the vaccine than with getting Covid 19. However, in the 18 to 49 group, Vaccine wins 4-1 with Pfizer and 2.7 to 1 with Moderna. In the 50-64 age group, Vaccine wins 10 to 1 with Pfizer and 6.7 to 1 with Moderna. Lastly in the 65+ group, Vaccine wins 21.5 to 1 with Pfizer and 14.3 to 1 with Moderna. We couldn’t find good J& J data. What we have not considered in the math is that the risk of death from a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine is much less than the risk of death after hospitalization from covid. We don’t have those exact numbers.

    There is concerning data in the 18 to 49 group. 1. Why is it such a large group? 2. Would there be a disparity among the ages in the group if the data was separated 18 to 25, 25 to 34, and 35 to 49? We don’t have the answer to the questions, but the answer could help decision-making. Overall, it makes sense for older adults over 50 to get the vaccine. It may make sense for those 18 to 49 – data is not clear because the FDA and CDC have lumped so much together, not revealing enough data . For those under 18, there is clearly no advantage (based on this odds data) to get the vaccine vs. not. With all of that outlined, when you consider that there is a much lower death rate from a vaccine adverse reaction than from a covid hospitalization, it could be argued that getting the vaccine is appropriate for everyone. More transparent data would be helpful to quell concerns and provide better numbers.

    Risk of Death from Covid: In the CDC document included below, with the 18-29 age group used as reference, covid risk by age group is 30-39: 4x, 40-49: 10x, 50-64: 35x, 65-74: 95x, 75-84: 230x, and 85+: 610x

    Please ask your medical professional regarding your specific situation . CDC docs: 1. Estimated Disease Burden — 2. Reactions Pfizer — 3. Risk for Covid Infection, Hospitalization, Death — Another Document: Nature.com re Mortality Risk *****Read this post on separate page

    Conclusion: If over 50, it’s clear getting the vaccine makes sense. Under 50, look at the data. The overall math still favors a YES to getting the Covid vaccine. Talk to your doctor.