Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19
June 26, 2020
The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Friday, June 26, 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, June 26, 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 is 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.
Enjoy the Nice Weather and Reopening of the Economy - but please continue to Slow the Spread!
With the nice weather upon us and businesses and facilities opening their doors during the Phase II Reopening of the Massachusetts economy, residents may have a strong desire to go out and and enjoy it all. While Bedford parks, playgrounds and athletic fields are open to adults and youths, group sizes should consist of no more than 10 people total and contact sports (e.g., basketball, football, baseball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, hockey and other sports where ordinary play puts players in direct contact or close proximity) must limit activities exclusively to no-contact drills and practices.
The Bedford Board of Health and the COVID-19 Task Force, who have been working so diligently to keep you informed and protected during this epidemic, caution residents 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. View our infographic on Safety Guidelines for use of Parks and Open Spaces - https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/news/keep-our-community-safe-when-using-parks-and-open-spaces