In addition to the current case count, Town Manager Sarah Stanton and the Covid-19 Taskforce shared information about staying cool during hot weather.
The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
Over the past several weeks, the Bedford Board of Health conducted a comprehensive review of COVID-19 positive cases and the case count as reported to the town by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH). The review revealed duplicate cases, cases that belong to other jurisdictions, and cases reported to other jurisdictions that are actually Bedford residents, which has led to adjustments in the Bedford case count reported today. The data reporting discrepancies typically result from incomplete information provided by an individual at the time of testing. As more information is obtained by the Board of Health relative to ongoing case investigation, the total case count will be adjusted and reported accordingly. The Board of Health has gone through this “data cleaning” process on several occasions and we will continue to request MA DPH clarification in the future to ensure proper case follow-up and contact tracing of our COVID-19 positive residents.
As of today, July 20, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred seventy-four (274) 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 fifty-two (152) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty-four (44) 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.
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.
Two hundred twenty-five (225) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off isolation. This number is down from two hundred twenty-eight (228) reported on Friday, as three cases that had been assigned to Bedford which we were following, were transferred to their rightful home town for continued follow-up. 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 https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary
It’s HOT outside, how to beat the heat keeping social distancing in mind!
The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for much of Massachusetts, including the Bedford area, that remains in effect until 8 pm on Monday, July 20th, where heat index values may reach 102 degrees. Hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illness to occur if you are not careful. With this forecast, please be mindful of ways to prevent heat-related illness and stay safe.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids. Increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink (Note: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot). Popsicles, watermelon, cantaloupe, fruit salads, and Jell-O all contain a lot of water, and summertime is the perfect time to indulge in such treats. Avoid caffeine and alcohol whenever possible.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Use a sunscreen product rated at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 and apply it liberally to all exposed skin at least 30-60 minutes before going out into the sun.
- Stay Cool Indoors. Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned area. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider other locations that may have air conditioning. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be difficult to congregate in common areas indoors that you may have visited in the past to keep cool during these hot weather days. It is important to consider other areas that are safe and allow you to socially distance while trying to keep cool. If you will visit public places in order to keep cool, be prepared by taking a face covering and hand sanitizer with you.
The Bedford Health and Human Services Department has a limited supply of desk-top fans available for residents who may be in need during the hot weather. Additionally, if transportation is a limitation during this time, the Health and Human Services Department may be able to arrange a ride to public locations with air conditioning.
If you or your family are in need during the heat, you may contact the following for additional information or assistance:
- If you are over 60 years old, contact Danika Castle at the Council on Aging at 781-275-6825
- If you are under 60 years old, contact Chris Bang at the Youth and Family Services Department at 781-275-7727
You can view the full Board of Health outreach article on preventing heat-related illness by navigating to https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/news/its-hot-outside-follow-these-tips-for-preventing-heat-related-illness
You can also visit the CDC website on extreme heat at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html
Please stay healthy….and wash your hands as often as you can!