COVID-19 and its very contagious Omicrom variant continue to spread anxiety and illness in New Bedford.

The New Bedford Community Health Center downtown continues to offer both vaccinations and testing to combat the virus, and while CEO Cheryl Bartlett suspects conditions will improve in the weeks and months ahead, right now the number of cases continues to grow.

Cheryl Bartlett was a guest this week on Townsquare Sunday. As a former Commissioner of Public Health in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she knows what a pandemic looks like.

All of us are weary of of the whole COVID experience: illness, quarantines, masks, regulations, what masks to wear, anxiety, misinformation from the government, remote learning, and worry about the safety of our kids. Bartlett said it's possible the situation will be better in a few weeks or months. It's also possible, she said, that the pandemic could result in an endemic, something we have to deal with every year.

Bartlett's message is similar to other public health officials we've spoken with: get vaccinated. If you feel sick, stay home. Get tested. If you have a positive test, isolate.

Bartlett and the New Bedford Community Health Center are part of a partnership with the City of New Bedford to spread the word about the importance of vaccinations and boosters.

She said getting the jab is the best way to beat back the virus in New Bedford. Bartlett's Townsquare Sunday interview can be heard here.

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday morning on 1420 WBSM. The program features interviews with individuals and organization leaders working to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.