Editor’s Note: Monday’s case count, along with an update about the face-covering order that will go into effect on Wednesday, May 6; a reminder that the Stay-a-Home Advisory remains in place; and a reminder to seek medical care for situations other than coronavirus symptoms to avoid complications from untreated issues.
The daily update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
As of today, May 4, 2020, there have been a total of one hundred and thirty-four (134) positive cases of COVID-19 in Bedford and twelve (12) deaths reported to the Town of Bedford Board of Health by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH). The total case number includes residents of the Town of Bedford, Hanscom Air Force Base, and the Bedford Veteran’s Administration (VA) Campus as reported to us by the MA DPH.
Twenty-nine (29) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off of isolation and there are currently zero (0) known Persons Under Investigation. 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, and staff, many of whom do not call Bedford home.
The information can be found here: https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary
Mask and Face Covering Order
The Baker-Polito Administration has ordered all residents over the age of two to use a face covering or mask in public places where maintaining proper social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not possible. This statewide order goes into effect on May 6th and supersedes previously issued guidance relative to mask use. This order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are currently open to the public and permitted to operate as COVID-19 Essential Businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail stores. Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when using any means of transportation service or public mass transit.
This order also applies outdoors if you cannot keep a safe distance from others. In practice, this means that, even if you are seeking some fresh air or exercise by going outside for a walk, run, or bike ride in a place where you don’t expect to see anyone else, you still need to wear a face covering. You can keep it around your neck if no one is around. But when you see someone else you should raise your face covering up over your nose and mouth while you are in the same vicinity.
Navigate to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtUJPizQVPI&feature=youtu.be to see the new DPH PSA on How to Safely Cover Your Face Outside of Home.
A face covering may include anything that covers the nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf, or bandana. Health care masks (such as surgical or N-95 masks) should not be used and should be preserved for health care workers and first responders. Cloth masks should not be worn by young children under the age of two, persons with difficulty breathing, or those who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Instructions on how to make a cloth mask are available from the CDC by navigating to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advise that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Individuals should remove the face covering from ear loops or from the tied area away from the face and avoid touching the front of the face covering. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing the cloth face covering and wash hands immediately after removal.
Stay At Home Advisory is STILL in effect
Wearing a face covering does not make it OK to gather and/or socialize with others. This action is meant to protect others from your respiratory droplets when you must leave your home for necessary errands and activities. Remember people may have the virus and be asymptomatic and contagious all at the same time. Staying home and avoiding close contact with others is still the BEST and most protective option to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Seek help with any medical or health issues
If you experience any medical issues during this time, please call your doctor. If you have an emergency, please go to the ER. Medical offices and hospitals are abiding by strict protocols to keep patients safe. Please don’t let a fear of this virus prevent you from seeking needed medical care and potentially exacerbating an issue that may cause you harm. You should call 9-1-1 for any serious medical or mental health emergency.
Stay healthy!…(and wash your hands as often as possible.)