Town of Bedford Update on COVID-19 ~ Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Editor’s Note: The Town’s March 17, 2020, update focuses on the number of active COVID-19 cases in Bedford, an update on the Temporary Food Bank scheduled to begin service on Friday, March 20, and TakeOutBedford.com, a local business initiative

The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to review the latest guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH), the office of Governor Charlie Baker, and Town Legal Counsel.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts due to COVID-19.

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 and Taissir Alani, Facilities Director.

Active Cases

As of today, March 17, 2020, there are four (4) presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the Town of Bedford, and two (2) People Under Investigation. The Board of Health continues to do the appropriate follow-up and outreach.

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.

Town/School Update-Temporary Food Bank- March 17, 2020

To assist and support Bedford residents in need, the Town is establishing a limited temporary food bank at John Glenn Middle School (JGMS).

At this time, the Bedford Food Bank will serve the following population: school-aged children/families of the Bedford Public Schools in need of food support (including, but not limited to, students currently on free or reduced breakfast and lunch), previously identified vulnerable seniors and veterans, and existing clients of the Bedford Food Pantry.

  • Families seeking support for school-aged children: bags will include five days’ worth of children’s breakfast and lunch fixings, and a few additional items to support the entire family, and will be distributed by school administrators at the JGSM drive-thru Food Bank.
  • Vulnerable seniors and veterans, and existing clients of the Bedford Food Pantry: bags will contain goods for meal preparation.

The Bedford Food Bank at JGMS will start Friday, March 20, 2020, and will continue on Fridays until further notice.

The Food Bank will operate primarily on a drive-thru basis, with limited exception for residents who are on foot.

There will be a separate food bank delivery system for homebound seniors, and residents with disabilities. If you are homebound resident, and in need of food assistance, please e-mail bedfordfoodbank@bedfordma.gov.

To ensure the health, safety, confidentiality, and privacy of our residents most in need, the Town will not be accepting food donations, or volunteers to staff the food bank.

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Town will launch a website for the Bedford Food Bank.

The website will include information about the program, and how residents can make a financial contribution to this initiative. Stay tuned!

The Bedford Food Bank at John Glenn Middle School ~ Beginning Friday, March 20, 2020 ~ Hours of Operation:

  • Senior Citizens/Veterans/Existing Bedford Food Pantry Clients ~ 12-2 PM
  • Bedford Public School Families on Free or Reduced Breakfast and Lunch ~2-6 PM

Please be mindful, the Bedford Food Bank service is intended for Bedford residents and families who are in need, and facing food insecurity.

Questions about the food bank? Please e-mail bedfordfoodbank@bedfordma.gov

Town Update – March 17, 2020 – Local Business Initiative

Following Governor Baker’s announcement of restrictions to on-premise dining, the Town worked quickly with our local restaurants, and purveyors, to find ways to ensure their businesses could stay open during this tumultuous time.

Today, we are proud to announce the launch of www.BedfordTakeOut.com

Bedford is lucky to have so many wonderful dining options available to our residents and [the Town] wanted to make sure folks knew which establishments are staying open, and the options available for delivery and pick-up.

The Town will be updating the website as we receive changes in status from local businesses. There is a great variety of options from picking-up at the curb, to delivery to your home. If you are financially able, this is a great way to send a meal to your neighbors in need.

General Updates – March 17, 2020

All local actions are being undertaken in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • 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. Additionally, health officials are strongly recommending that all childcare / day care facilities consider closing in alignment with the Town of Bedford Public Schools.
  • 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).

Staying Healthy

It’s 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.

Get More Information

The best source of guidance and recommendations is the DPH website, www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus

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.

 


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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