Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19
The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Monday, March 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
As of today, March 23, 2020, there have been a total of four (4) presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the Town of Bedford Board of Health by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH). Three (3) of these cases have already recovered and have come off of isolation and quarantine, and there are two (2) People Under Investigation. There are anticipated to be more 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. Many of the identified close contacts of the original three (3) cases never exhibited symptoms, have completed their required quarantine period and have been released from quarantine by the Board of Health. The Town has also been informed of one (1) presumptive positive case at Hanscom Air Force Base. This individual has been in quarantine since returning from overseas, and has no close contacts that the Town of Bedford is required to follow up on.
Anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms should immediately self-quarantine, isolate from household members and contact their healthcare provider for further guidance on whether testing is warranted.
As we anticipate the likelihood of a longer school closure, we want to be sure that all students have access to the learning activities that the schools are sharing online. This will be important whether we move to more structured learning or continue with enrichment. Over the next several days, we will be reaching out to determine what supports (technology, “how to videos”, for example) families may need in order to enable their students to access future learning. This may take the form of an additional online survey, email outreach, or telephone calls.
Today, Governor Charlie Baker has ordered Mass. Dept. Public Health to issue a “Stay at Home” advisory thru April 7. This is not a shelter in place. Travel is permitted, but should be limited. All non-essential businesses must close locations starting tomorrow March 24, 2020 at noon. See the link for more information on “essential services”: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-essential-services.
Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, Republic Services, the Town’s waste management contractor, will no longer be accepting weekly overflow bags. Additionally, curbside yard waste, white goods, and bulk item pick up is cancelled until further notice. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, Republic Services is transitioning exclusively to automated pickup to ensure the health and safety of their employees.
As a reminder the following facilities/service providers are closed: schools, Town offices, hairdressers and barbers, nail salon, massage services, body work services, gyms, health clubs, athletic facilities (including outside courts/fields), ice rinks, indoor swimming pools, yoga studios, spa-type services for cosmetic purposes that are not deemed medically necessary, private instruction classes such as, driving and tutoring schools, entertainment venues, houses of worship and Town playgrounds and fields. Restaurants, if open, are delivery and take out only and when picking up take out, people should adhere to social distancing protocols. Grocery stores in town are open. Employees have been advised to maintain social distancing throughout their workday and patrons are advised to maintain social distancing when shopping and during check out.
Today, the Town Social Workers, and other Town personnel, delivered food from the Food Bank to homebound, vulnerable residents. If you are a Bedford resident who is homebound due to age or disability and require food assistance, contact Council on Aging Social Worker Danika Castle at 781-275-6825 (residents 60 years of age and older) or Community Social Worker Chris Bang at 781-918-4328 (residents under age 60). For other errands, please contact Amy Mason at the Bedford Neighbor Brigade at BedfordMA@neighborbrigade.org or 781-526-5269.
Police Update (LTC/FID-New Procedures)
Bedford License to Carry and Firearm Identification Card renewals. The BPD will be processing the renewals on a weekly basis. Due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the BPD are going to be implementing temporary measures to limit contact. Make sure you get your complete application in before you expire. The BPD will check your residency via the listed information in the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Make sure your address is updated with RMV. The BPD will be using driver’s license photos until the State of Emergency passes. The BPD will mail the receipt to the listed residential address. Provided the resident get their application in before it expires, it will be covered by a grace period until its are approved or denied by the licensing authority.
Bedford License to Carry and FID New Applicants: These applications will be done by special appointment only. Due to their nature, the BPD will need to positively ID the applicant, take a photograph and secure a set of fingerprints. The BPD will need to take special precautions to limit exposure. New application processing will resume the week of March 30.
Town officials continue to urge residents to deploy social distancing, and limit social gathering. In accordance with Governor Baker’s Updated Assembly Order issued today, March 23, 2020, gatherings are now limited to no more than 10 people. Town officials continue to urge residents to deploy social distancing, and limit social gathering. Go for a socially distanced walk, order take-out, get your coffee to-go, pick up a gift certificate, and support the local business communities from a distance.
Public health officials strongly discourage activities that promote gathering of people, including play dates, sleepovers, parties, social visits, and other activities where closer contact is the norm.
The Town has stated and continues to advise that those — including municipal employees, residents, or students — who are feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms should stay home, self-quarantine, not report to work or school, and contact their medical provider to determine if they should be tested for COVID-19.
For previous updates on COVID-19, please review the COVID-19 News and Announcements Page at on the Town website (www.bedfordma.gov).
It is important to remember that while the COVID-19 outbreak is evolving quickly, influenza is currently circulating in the area. Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Employ social distancing if you are not otherwise required to be in quarantine and must go out.
- For those at home-moderate exercise or meditation goes a long way. Get up, stretch, and maybe have a short walk.
The best source of guidance and recommendations is the DPH website: www.mass.gov/covid19
Alternatively, if you are without internet capabilities, please call the State hotline: 2-1-1
You can also the Town of Bedford website for local updates and actions: www.bedfordma.gov
Town and School officials, and the Bedford Health Department, remain in continuous communication about this issue, and further updates will be provided to the community as we receive them.