June 24, 2020: Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

Important Updates: Mental Health Updates, New Daily Update Schedule, and a Face Covering Reminder
June 24, 2020: Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

June 24, 2020

The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Wednesday June 24, 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 24, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred fifty-three (253) 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-four (144) 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-eight (88) 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

New Daily Update Schedule - Starting Next Week

It’s important to note that the daily count of new cases reported to the Bedford Board of Health by the MA Department of Public Health has slowed over these past several weeks. In an effort to focus on concerted outreach to the community on social distancing while outside in public and within Bedford businesses, as well as the reopening of Bedford – summer camps, summer programs, Bedford restaurants and other businesses, offices and laboratories, the manufacturing sector and construction happening in town as well as important Town business and other emerging issues, this Friday, June 26th will be the last daily update. Starting on Monday, June 29th, we will shift to a twice weekly update schedule, on Mondays and Thursdays. The community will continue to receive important COVID and community related information in those twice weekly updates, or otherwise as needed, while shifting towards perpetuating our pre-COVID business at hand to protect and enhance our community from all angles.

Check in on your Mental Health!

Summer is here, and for many of us that often means relaxation, travel, sporting events, festivals and concerts. However, lingering concerns from COVID-19 has caused many traditional summertime activities to be canceled or they are just not the same, and many of us are experiencing fear, anxiety, and loneliness. The Bedford Health and Human Services Department reminds residents that it is possible to achieve a positive summer mindset and improve or maintain our mental health in uncertain times. Please see the self-care tips and suggestions in the following article to help you get moving, get outside and enjoy the sunshine: https://www.bedfordma.gov/youth-family/news/summer-mental-health-2020

Face Coverings are required in Bedford

As a reminder, all residents over the age of two are required to use a face covering or mask in public places. All workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are currently open are also required to wear a mask or face covering. This requirement also applies outdoors if you cannot keep a safe distance from others.  In practice, this means that, even if you are seeking some fresh air or exercise by going outside for a walk, run or bike ride in a place where you don’t expect to see anyone else, you still need to wear a face covering.  You can keep it around your neck if no one is around.  But when you see someone else you should raise your face covering up over your nose and mouth while you are in the same vicinity. Remember, you could have COVID-19 and not have symptoms. Protect other people from you! Check out our “Stop the Spread – Wear a Mask” infographic - https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/files/save-a-life-wear...