Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19
July 13, 2020
The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Monday, July 13, 2020 to review the latest guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH), the office of Governor Charlie Baker, and Town Legal Counsel.
The COVID-19 Task Force is comprised of the following Town officials:
Sarah Stanton, Town Manager
Jon Sills, Superintendent of Schools
Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services
Robert Bongiorno, Police Chief
David Grunes, Fire Chief
Taissir Alani, Facilities Director
As of today, July 13, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred sixty (260) positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the Town of Bedford Board of Health by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), of those, one hundred forty-eight (148) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty (40) Bedford residents have been attributed to COVID-19. The total case number includes residents of the Town of Bedford, including but not limited to those in: single-family homes, apartments, the VA campus, Hanscom Air Force Base, special needs group homes and any and all other larger assisted living/care facilities in Bedford as reported to us by the MA DPH.
As you may be aware, long-term care facilities serving the elderly and congregate care facilities, house susceptible populations with underlying conditions who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Increased testing occurs at these facilities and results in more positive cases being identified. As such, cities and towns with these facilities, like Bedford, experience elevated positive case counts and, unfortunately, deaths due to the vulnerability to COVID-19 of the populations within those facilities.
Two hundred and three (203) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off isolation and there may other Bedford residents who would be considered persons under investigation in that they are symptomatic, have undergone testing but have not yet received results. There are other individuals impacted by COVID-19 in the community that have not sought medical attention, and/or have not been tested and are isolating at home regardless. Those individuals do not appear on the surveillance reports the Town receives from the MA DPH.
The Board of Health continues to do the appropriate follow-up and outreach to those residents and close contacts known to us and the VA is conducting follow-up and contact tracing of the Veteran’s under their care. Many of the identified close contacts of some of the Bedford cases never exhibited symptoms, have completed their required quarantine period and have been released from quarantine by the Board of Health.
Please note, in part to alleviate the community concern, the VA does do a daily report of their numbers, which includes inpatients, outpatients and staff, many of whom do not call Bedford home. The information can be found here: https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary
Information for Travelers Arriving in Massachusetts
All travelers arriving in Massachusetts – including Massachusetts residents returning home – are reminded to self-quarantine for 14 days, except those traveling from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey, who are exempt from this directive.
In addition, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are exempt from the directive to self-quarantine for 14 days if traveling to Massachusetts for work purposes. All persons are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
Symptoms and Testing
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills;
- Signs of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, lowered oxygen saturation);
- Fatigue, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, headache, body aches/myalgia, or new loss of sense of taste or smell;
- Other less common symptoms can include gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), rash, inflammatory conditions such as “COVID toes”, and thromboembolic events;
- In elderly, chronically ill, or debilitated individuals such as residents of a long-term care facility, symptoms of COVID-19 may be subtle such as alterations in mental status or in blood glucose control; and
- Children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome
Contact your health care provider if you exhibit any of the above mentioned symptoms and to discuss the need for testing. Close contacts of confirmed cases are the people most likely to become infected themselves. Close contacts, regardless of symptoms associated with COVID-19, should be tested as soon as possible after they are notified of their exposure to COVID-19. You may want to check with your insurance provider to ensure coverage for any testing you acquire.
You can use the following link, provided by the MA Department of Public Health, to find a convenient testing site:
Asymptomatic individuals not identified as close contacts can be recommended for diagnostic testing at the direction of their healthcare provider, the Department of Public Health or a state agency, or a local Board of Health. Testing generally requires a clinician’s order and asymptomatic individuals are strongly encouraged to contact their insurer to confirm coverage.
Seek help with any medical or health issues
If you experience any medical issues during this time, please call your doctor. If you have an emergency, please go to the ER. Medical offices and hospitals are abiding by strict protocols to keep patients safe from exposure to COVID-19. Please don’t let fear of this virus prevent you from seeking needed medical care and potentially exacerbating an issue that may cause you harm. You should call 9-1-1 for any serious medical or mental health emergency.
Continue to Stop the Spread
Employ Social Distancing Basics:
- Stay Home, especially if you’re feeling sick, have a fever, or a cough as to avoid contact with other individuals. If you are sick, stay at home and contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.
- Call/Facetime/Online chat with friends and loved ones
If you go out for essential needs:
- Avoid Crowds
- Stay 6 feet away from others
- Don’t shake hands or hug
- Wear a face covering or mask if physical distancing is not possible. Always have a face covering with you. You cannot always predict or control when someone will be close to you.