Board of Health COVID-19 Response

Bedford Board of Health and Health Department COVID-19 Pandemic Response Evaluation

Bedford Board of Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies
February 28, 2022 (Updated May 16, 2022)

The Bedford Board of Health continues to promote the following public health strategies for all Bedford community members to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID Testing

  • Test before visiting or attending an indoor event or gathering with older individuals, those with weakened immune systems and those at risk of severe illness. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 - Find a COVID-19 Test Massachusetts page.
  • Participate in the Bedford Public Schools COVID-19 testing program - Bedford Public Schools COVID Dashboard website.
  • Pick up a free at-home test kit, available for Bedford residents from one of the following town offices during normal business hours: Health Department, Council on Aging, Town Manager's Office or the Bedford Free Public Library.
  • Order your free at-home test kit from the Federal Government- COVID United States Government website.

Vaccination

  • Per CDC's guidance, COVID-19 vaccination has been demonstrated to prevent severe disease.
  • Follow your health care provider's guidance regarding receiving a COVID-19 vaccine series, additional doses, and boosters - search the vaccine locations website.

Have a Plan in the Event You Contract COVID-19

  • Talk with your health care provider about any special guidance or considerations for protection and treatment, given your individual health circumstances.
  • Talk with those in your household about where you will isolate/quarantine, how to acquire provisions/medications and any other supports your household may need.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, take a COVID-19 test and don't host or attend a gathering unless you test negative.
  • Isolate when you are sick or when you have COVID-19, even if you don't have symptoms - Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19 CDC website. Postpone in-person interactions and leverage remote opportunities to stay connected.
  • Wear a Face Covering in Public Indoor Spaces: In accordance with CDC COVID-19 Community Levels (COVID-19 by County website), the Bedford Board of Health advises individuals wear a face covering based on personal preference, informed by personal levels of risk, and guidance from their health care provider. Residents are encouraged to consider wearing a mask indoors when in contact with someone at high risk for severe disease, seniors, those with weakened immune systems, those at risk for severe illness due to underlying medical conditions, and children less than 5 years not eligible for vaccination.

Individuals who are considered close contacts or who have tested positive must follow isolation and quarantine guidance (Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19 CDC website).

All people in Massachusetts (regardless of vaccination status) are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including public transportation and health care facilities. Please see the COVID-19 Mask Requirements CDC website for a complete list of settings where face coverings have remained mandatory since May 29, 2021.

Recommendations for Wearing a Mask

Respirators (N95 or KN95): For the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants, wear an N95 or KN95 respirator. The CDC reports that a respirator has better filtration, and if worn properly the whole time it is in use, can provide a higher level of protection than a cloth or surgical mask.

Surgical and Cloth Masks: If using disposable surgical masks or cloth, the CDC recommends the following ways to have a better fit and extra protection:

  • Wear two masks (a disposable mask underneath and cloth mask on top)
  • Combine either a cloth mask or disposable mask with a mask fitter or brace
  • Knot and tuck ear loops of a 3-ply mask where they join the edge of the mask
  • For disposable masks, fold and tuck the extra material under the edges. For instructions, see - How to Knot and Tuck Your Mask to Improve Fit YouTube video.
  • Use masks that attach behind the neck and head with either elastic bands or ties (instead of ear loops).

For information on types of masks and approved respirators that meet an international standard (as well as those that are fake), navigate here: Types of Masks and Respirators CDC website.

  • Increase Ventilation: Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces, and remember that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. Open windows and doors in homes, businesses, and vehicles.
  • Wash Your Hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.
  • Cover Your Cough and Sneeze.
  • Sanitize Common or Frequently Used Areas.

General Well-Being

  • Keep active mentally, socially, and physically, as approved by your healthcare provider and your comfort level.
  • Each individual's circumstances are unique. Expressions of empathy can be good for everyone's health as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
  • If you are experiencing feelings of isolation or impacts from a loss, the Bedford Health and Human Services Department can connect residents to various social service supports, counseling, and resources (food, personal care items, clothing, heat assistance, and access to volunteer / social groups). If you are age 60+ contact the Council on Aging at 781-275- 6825 and if you are under age 60 contact the Youth and Family Services Department at 781-275-7727, for assistance.