The Bedford Citizen At Work: How We Will Report on COVID-19 in Our Community

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The Bedford Citizen, in accordance with our Breaking News Policy that was put in place last fall and recently posted on our website, is closely monitoring all aspects of rapidly developing events in Bedford regarding COVID-19.

We are focused on publishing reliable information that is fact-based and cross-checked with officially designated agencies and departments at the federal, state, and local levels.  This includes, but is not limited to, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Bedford Board of Health, Selectmen, Town Manager, School Committee, and the ad-hoc Town/School COVID-19 Task Force.  (Task Force members are Sarah Stanton, Town Manager; Jon Sills, Superintendent of Schools; Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services; David Grunes, Fire Chief; Robert Bongiorno, Police Chief; and Taissir Alani, Director of Town/School Facilities.)

The Citizen holds itself to a high standard with regards to the reliability of any information it publishes and we will maintain this standard during the current emergency.

It is possible that in some instances it may not be entirely clear what is happening and whether or not a final decision regarding a particular matter has been made or is under discussion.  The Citizen will report only what it can confirm or, if appropriate, it will clearly distinguish information that is “developing” or “evolving” from what is actually known.  We are committed to regular updates on developing stories as facts become clear.

It is our understanding that the reporting of names of individuals who have or are deemed at risk to develop COVID-19 is not permitted without the individual’s written consent under the Privacy Rule requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).  The Bedford Citizen will comply with these requirements.  Consistent with our own policy, minors, in any case, will not be named without the express permission of an appropriate family member or legal guardian.

For consistency’s sake, The Bedford Citizen is using the term “COVID-19” in all instances in which we are writing about the “coronavirus,” “novel coronavirus,” and so on.  “PUI” (Person Under Investigation) is a term used by CDC to describe people who may or may not be symptomatic but are being interviewed by public health officials.  “Presumed positive” is also a term used by CDC to refer to a person who has tested positive for the virus in one test, typically conducted at the state or local level, but is awaiting confirmatory testing by CDC.  Frequently, per the CDC website, CDC, state, and local authorities proceed with public health investigations and response activities as if the second test has confirmed the results of the first even if results are not yet available.  This is how The Bedford Citizen will use these terms in its reporting.

An Invitation to Be in Touch with The Bedford Citizen

Individual readers with relevant information or feedback on our coverage may contact The Bedford Citizen directly by email or phone (thebedfordcitizen@gmail.com; 781-325-8606).

As always, we encourage Letters to the Editor on any topic of interest or concern to the town of Bedford (editor@thebedfordcitizen.org).  Please include your full name and phone number.


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