COVID-19 may no longer be the threat it was several years ago, but it's still something to which Greater New Bedford residents should pay attention.

That's the feeling of Cheryl Bartlett, the Chief Executive Officer of the New Bedford Community Health Center.

Bartlett joined Townsquare Sunday to update the virus in our area and discuss some of the latest COVID recommendations from the CDC.

"I don't think COVID will ever fully disappear," Bartlett said. "I think its going to be more aligned with how we've managed the flu all these years; we will have the flu, COVID and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) to worry about."

Bartlett said her staff saw a "bump" of COVID cases around the holidays – so many that her staff went to full masking for several weeks. She also feels fewer people are being vaccinated against virus.

"I think people might be vaccine-fatigued and that obviously leads to more transmission, and more people getting sick," she said, noting she believes getting vaccinated is still the best way to combat COVID.

The CDC recently announced it would be doing away with the suggested five-day isolation period for people recovering from COVID. Bartlett suggested individuals and families should decide what levels of risk they're able to tolerate.

"Sometimes the recommendations that come from science are the ideal, the perfect, and we don't live in a perfect world," Bartlett said.

"People have to think about themselves and their families, and what level of risk they're comfortable with," she said. "We should wear masks if we feel we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, but I don't think we need an aggressive, all-out masking policy, because people won't do it anyway."

Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program heard Sundays at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on WBSM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at

WBSM's Top SouthCoast Stories 2/5-2/11

Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

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