November 20, 2020 - Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

Important Updates: New COVID-19 Community Dashboard, Thanksgiving Guidance
November 20, 2020 - Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19

The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met during the week of November 16, 2020 to review the latest guidance from the MA Department of Public Health (MA 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

Philip Conrad, Superintendent of Schools

Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services

Robert Bongiorno, Police Chief

David Grunes, Fire Chief

Taissir Alani, Facilities Director

Christopher Laskey, Code Enforcement Director

Bedford remains a Green (Lower COVID-19 Risk) Community

For full Bedford, county, and state data navigate to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-weekly-public-health-report-.

New Community Dashboard

The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force, with active support from the Information Technology Department and Board of Heath Staff, has developed a dashboard of Bedford’s COVID-19 data to relate case counts, active/recovered cases, case demographics and school data. The majority of the data on the Dashboard will be updated Monday through Friday, with some data tables and charts updated on a weekly basis.

The COVID-19 data presented in the dashboard is derived from the MA DPH’s Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiologic Network (MAVEN) and utilized for case investigation and surveillance purposes. While the Board of Health staff extract data from MAVEN at a point in time, data is constantly being entered, transferred, updated and corrected by MA DPH. As such the data presented in the dashboard may vary from the online data tables provided by the MA DPH on their COVID-19 response reporting webpage.

We invite you to view the new dashboard here: www.bedfordma.gov/covid-stats

From today forward, the Bedford COVID-19 Task Force will use the Dashboard as the primary means of reporting data to the community and will no longer generate and distribute a weekly update. Rest assured, if emergent information requires timely distribution to the community, we will use our usual means of communicating: Town and departmental websites, Facebook, Twitter, CodeRed, and community media outlets.

Thanksgiving Gatherings

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us and the December holiday season not far behind, out of respect for each other and our community, the Bedford COVID-19 Task Force asks the Bedford community to adhere to the social distancing and mask requirements and the limitations on gathering size to prevent spread in Bedford.

If you choose to host or attend a gathering during the holiday season that brings people who live in different households together, follow this guidance from the MA DPH: https://www.mass.gov/news/thanksgiving-during-covid-19.

Any time you or your family are attending a public or private celebration, remember that safe, responsible participation includes:

  • Assessing your personal COVID-19 risk and assess and discuss COVID-19 risk for those you live with, before attending the event.
  • Staying home if you are sick.
  • Wearing a face covering at all times to cover your nose and mouth when outside your home.
  • Avoiding large crowds. While outdoor gatherings of 25 and indoor gatherings of 10 are allowed, they can still represent a risk to public health in our current environment.
  • If you choose to be in a crowd, or even just hanging out with friend, practice strict social distancing, wear a face covering, bring hand sanitizer or wash hands before and after, do not shake hands, gather for photographs, hug, or have long face to face conversations and avoid touching your face.
  • Keeping 6 feet away of from other people who are not in your household.
  • Good social distancing also includes dogs. Keep them 6 feet away from those not in your household.
  • Do not share water bottles or utensils for eating or serving of food.

We are far from out of the woods with regard to COVID-19. Over the past several months many of our positive COVID-19 cases have been attributed to household and family contacts where one person in a family who is positive and asymptomatic transmits the virus to close family/household members. If you are positive for COVID-19 you should stay home in isolation and strictly follow the protocols provided by the Board of Health Staff or Community Tracing Collaborative.

A lot of these protocols have been part of our routine for the past several months. However, we may have to remind ourselves to apply them when a new event occurs that’s outside the routine. If you choose to venture outside your home or in your home with non-household members, remember to apply the “3 Ws” – Wash your hands, Wear a mask, Watch your Distance!

Holiday Travel

In the upcoming holiday period, some Bedford residents may travel out of state and will be required to follow the MA Travel Order if doing so.

All MA residents are discouraged from traveling to high risk states (see list: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order). If you have to travel to a High Risk Area or participate in foreign travel, Governor Baker’s Travel Order requires that all returning travelers over the age of 18 must complete a MA Travel Form: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order#massachusetts-travel-form-.

All residents, regardless of age, must be quarantined for 14 days upon return to MA, unless you present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test on your return.  The COVID-19 PCR test must be done either within 72 hours of your return to MA, or when you get home. Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult(s) from their household is not required, as long as the adult(s) is tested and if found to be negative. Quarantine is not necessary in this case.

The same travel order applies to all Bedford Public School students:

  • Students older than 10/staff members traveling to High Risk Areas must quarantine and may not return to school, until their negative test results come back.
  • If  the family chooses not to test the student 10 years and younger, the parent/guardian must submit a copy of their own test results to the school nurse. 
  • If the families choose not to test, the entire family/group must quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Thank you for doing your part to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Need a COVID-19 test?

Free COVID-19 testing sites are open in numerous communities as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s “Stop the Spread” initiative. Visit www.mass.gov/stopthespread for free testing site locations.

If you need testing closer to home, consider navigating to https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13 to find a testing site. Check with your insurance company for covered services prior to booking an appointment for testing.