Editor’s Note: In addition to the current case count, today’s update includes guidelines for Outdoor Activities Permitted in Phase 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan — for businesses offering outdoor classes, and for permitted outdoor activities.
The daily update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
As of today, May 29, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred seventeen (214) 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 twelve (112) 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. Please see “Data Reporting Explained” below for detailed information on why Bedford experienced an increase in positive case counts today.
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.
Sixty-three (63) 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 who 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 Veterans 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:
Update on Outdoor Activities Permitted in Phase 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan
The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has developed additional guidance for outdoor activities included in Phase 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plans. Parks, athletic fields and courts are allowed to open for non-contact activities such as tennis and catch. Businesses interested in offering outdoor classes are allowed to do so under specific conditions. Organized outdoor educational programs, outdoor activities such as gym, yoga, dance, personal fitness, and outdoor public art installations may occur in private outdoor spaces only if the program does not require individual participants to share equipment or make physical contact in order to engage in the activity. All outdoor activities are subject to the following guidelines:
Guidelines for Businesses with Outdoor Class Offerings
- 6 feet of separation between participants
- 12 feet of separation between activity stations and/or building doorways that are shared with others
- Face coverings must be worn at all times
- No shared equipment, tools or materials
- Gatherings must be less than 10 people, including staff/instructors
- Classes must have pre-registration process
- Temporary signage needs to be in place for public health guidelines and standards
- Signage should be posted at entrance points and on website
- All equipment must be disinfected after use
- Before and after sessions, participants should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
Guidelines for the Use of Outdoor Parks, Fields and Courts
- Parks, Athletic Field, and Courts may be used for non-contact sports only (tennis, catch, etc.)
- Public courts or fields are only to be used for non-organized activities. Pick-up games, scheduled lessons, organized games or tournaments are not allowed
- Bleachers, dug-outs and other seating areas must be closed
- When engaged in play, users should avoid touching other users’ equipment
- Users waiting to utilize a section or area of the field or court should wait outside the area of play or gate/fence until previous users have vacated the area to ensure proper social distancing and prevent accidental contact of other users’ equipment
- No shared equipment – wipe down equipment before and after use, sanitize hands before and after activity
- Face coverings are required – masks must be worn when social distancing cannot be maintained in accordance with the Governor’s Order #31
Businesses looking to expand such activities outdoors must receive permission from the owner of the property prior to doing so. The outdoor area must be deemed safe for such activities. As a reminder, participants should not be entering the building or facility at this time. Additional guidance and details can be found at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/executive-office-of-energy-and-environmental-affairs-eea-covid-19-guidance-documents#parks,-open-space,-and-outdoor-education-programs-
Stay healthy…and keep washing your hands.