Editor’s Note: Monday’s bi-weekly update includes the current case count along with updates on crisis counseling, mental health and social services available to Bedford residents, as well as a DPH order regarding non-essential elective procedures.
The bi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
As of today, June 29, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred fifty-six (256) 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 forty-five (145) 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.
One hundred thirty-four (134) 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 that 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.
Crisis Counseling offered by the Governor’s Administration
As part of its efforts to support the behavioral health needs of Massachusetts residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the availability of a new crisis counseling assistance program, MassSupport. Riverside Community Care is providing the crisis counseling under contract with the Department of Mental Health.
To reach MassSupport, anyone in the state can call 888-215-4920 to be connected with local support. Counseling is available in English and Spanish.
Mental Health and Social Services Available to Bedford Residents
During this time of purposeful separation from loved ones, friends and neighbors to keep each other safe, feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression may set in or perpetuate. Bedford’s Social Work services remain available to all Bedford residents and the town Social Workers are available via phone and can assist with:
- Ensuring individuals have food security during this time. Residents who are struggling with having an adequate amount of food in their homes can reach out to the Social Workers for assistance getting connected to the Bedford Food Bank, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP/EBT), and other community resources. The Social Workers will work with residents faced with a hardship and unable to travel outside their homes through food bank home delivery.
- Information accessing financial supports such as SNAP, unemployment, MassHealth, and utility assistance.
- Transportation to appointments and essential services.
- General support for coping with anxiety during this time. Residents are able to call and speak with a Social Worker who can provide strategies for managing anxiety.
- Outreach calls for residents who are experiencing isolation. Residents who are concerned about individuals who are experiencing isolation can contact the Social Workers.
- Getting residents connected with Health and Mental Health providers. At this time counseling services at the Town Center through Eliot Community Human Services have shifted to a tele-health service and referrals continue to be accepted. Intakes are being conducted over the phone or by Zoom. Please note that Bedford residents do not pay a co-pay for therapy through Eliot and lack of insurance is not a barrier to services.
Order Regarding Non-Essential Elective Procedures and Services
As part of the reopening of Massachusetts, beginning June 8, 2020, at the start of Phase 2, health care providers were permitted to incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits, and vision care subject to ongoing compliance with public health and safety standards. In addition, beginning June 24, 2020, providers were permitted to resume elective cosmetic procedures, in compliance with public health guidance. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may resume, except in-person day programs, which will be a part of Phase 3.
MA DPH advises that telehealth must continue to be utilized and prioritized to the greatest extent possible, whenever feasible and appropriate. Care that can be appropriately delivered via telehealth should not resume in person. Health care providers are advised to expand in-person services cautiously, using their clinical judgment to prioritize urgent services, chronic disease management, and preventive care. For more information on the order and associated guidance, visit: https://www.mass.gov/lists/reopening-health-and-human-services-in-massachusetts#reopening-phase-2-overview-
Stay healthy, and wash your hands as often as possible!