June 23, 2020: Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

Important Updates: COVID-19 Risk is Still Real
June 23, 2020: Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

June 23, 2020

The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Tuesday, June 23, 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

Current Cases

As of today, June 23, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred fifty-two (252) 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-three (143) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. Forty (40) deaths of 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.

Eighty-four (84) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off of 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

COVID-19 Risk is still real!

While most would view the nicer weather, reopening of businesses and slowing positive case counts as positive indicators that we’re getting closer to the other side, please be mindful that COVID-19 is still present in our community and across the state and represents a risk to human health. It continues to be everyone’s responsibility to strictly adhere to limitations and restrictions in place as part of the reopening protocols. Please use social distancing. Please wear a face covering when leaving your home. Please wash your hands often for 20 seconds. Please do not touch your face. Please do not gather in large groups. Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if you’ve had an exposure. Stay safe and, with these actions, continue to slow the spread.

Understand your Risk

Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions appear to be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised. Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
  • If you’re in one of these vulnerable populations, regardless of allowable access to public areas and essential services, it is strongly advised that you:
  • Stay home, if possible;
  • Wash your hands often;
  • Keep space between yourself and others (stay 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths); and,
  • Wear a mask when you cannot safely socially distance.