After Year End Review, Belmont Records 13 ‘Extra’ COVID-19 Deaths, 10 Since Thanksgiving

Photo: COVID-19 deaths in Belmont is higher than originally thought.

A year-end review of official death records maintained by the Belmont Town Clerk’s Office revealed 13 additional Belmont deaths attributed to COVID-19 in 2020, according to the Belmont Health Department.

The revised total brings the town’s total COVID-19 death count since March 2020 to 74 resident including a death since the beginning of the new year, said Wesley Chin, Belmont’s Health Department director in his weekly health report dated Friday, Jan. 8.

And the Belmont health director is anticipating more cases and possible deaths in the near future.

“It’ll be a tough winter,” Chin told the Select Board last week due to the record number of COVID cases and deaths in the US and state over the past five weeks, as residents traveled to see relatives and were more likely to be at social events during the holiday season.

According to Chin:

  • Ten Belmont residents – all living outside long-term facilities – have died from COVID-19 since Thanksgiving.
  • COVID-19 deaths have disproportionately older residents, with the average age of death being approximately 85 years old.
  • 22 of these all deaths occurred among community members who were not residing in a local long-term care facility.

Belmont has 737 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is an increase of 48 cases since a Jan. 4 report.

Due to the new case count over the past two weeks, this puts Belmont in the state’s “yellow” zone according to the new color designation metrics; lower than 10 average cases/100,000 or five percentage positivity, as reported in the last two weeks.

The Town Clerk’s Office will continue to provide information for COVID-19 death statistics; the data will contribute to the town’s COVID-19 dashboard on Fridays.

The COVID-19 Vaccine

The Belmont Health Department is monitoring the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and preparing for the eventual vaccination of the general public. The Town is updating plans for large-scale vaccination of residents to ensure that doses of the vaccine are given quickly and efficiently when they arrive in Belmont.

At this time, Massachusetts is currently in Phase 1 of its vaccine distribution plan, and vaccines in Massachusetts are reserved for healthcare workers doing direct and COVID-facing care as well as employees and residents of Long-Term Care facilities. Vaccine requests for these groups are being
approved and overseen by the state.

Belmont is participating in a regional collaborative to administer vaccinations to first responders, the third priority group within Phase 1 of the Commonwealth’s vaccine distribution timeline. First responder vaccinations will begin on Tuesday, Jan 12.

At this time, the Belmont Health Department does not currently have access to COVID-19 vaccine, other than the vaccine that has already been allocated to the Town’s first responders, Chin said. Currently, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has not determined that local health departments will be involved with additional vaccine administration prior to the general public in Phase 3 of the State’s distribution plan, but that is subject to change.