Editor’s Note: In addition to today’s Case Count, there is news of canceled Town events through the end of 2020, a change to the Bedford Food Bank pick-up time and place. Click the full update link and learn about the return of reusable bags, an extension of the moratorium on evictions and foreclosers to October 17, and Step 1 of the Phase III adult/amateur sports reopening.
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.
As of today, July 23, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred seventy-four (274) positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the Board of Health by the MA DPH, of those, one hundred fifty-three (153) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty-five (45) 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-four (224) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off isolation. This number is down from two hundred twenty-five (225) reported on Monday, as one case that had been assigned to Bedford, which we were following, was transferred to the rightful hometown 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.
Today’s Update includes the following:
- Town-Sponsored & Large-Scale Events Cancelled Through 2020
- Food Bank-New Location! New Time!
- Reusable Bags are Back
- Moratorium on Evictions/Foreclosures Through 10/17
- Reopening of Adult/Amateur Sports in Phase III, Step 1
Town-Sponsored and Large-Scale Events Cancelled Through the End of 2020
At Monday’s Select Board meeting, in the interest of public health and safety, the Select Board voted to cancel several Town-sponsored events through the end of 2020, including but not limited to, Bedford Day, Oktoberfest, the Citizen of the Year ceremony, Veterans Day commemorations, road races (whether or not they are town-sponsored), and any indoor or outdoor event that typically draws large crowds. The well-attended nature of these events makes it extremely difficult to maintain social distancing, and protect public health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the Board voted that the Council on Aging will remain physically closed to the public through 2020, and that Town board, commission, and committee meetings will continue to be conducted virtually through Zoom through the end of 2020. For town committees previously identified as Phase II committees, meetings will re-start after Labor Day. In the interim, the Town Manager’s office will be working to temporarily assign a staff person to facilitate Phase II remote meetings.
Canceling some of Bedford’s most wonderful events was a decision that did not come lightly. The Select Board shares residents’ disappointment that these events and programming will not be held this year. We all look forward to being able to attend these types of gatherings again!
Fall sports, after-school activities, recreation programming, and child-care continue to be under evaluation as part of school reopening discussions. More to come!
Food Bank – Planning for a new location and day/time
The Town of Bedford has operated a successful drive-thru Food Bank every Friday at the John Glenn Middle School (JGMS) at 99 McMahon Road since mid-March. To date, over 3,500 bags of food, to supplement meal preparation during the week, have been provided to Bedford seniors, schoolchildren, Veterans and residents experiencing food insecurity.
In an effort to allow the school staff to prepare for reopening in the fall, the Food Bank location is shifting locations and distribution day/time, after July 31st.
Starting the first week in August, the Food Bank will be operated out of the Town Center Building (yellow building behind Town Hall) at 12 Mudge Way, situated on the Town Campus. The drive-through model will be maintained with residents pulling up to the front door of Town Center via the rotary. Signs directing residents to the location will be posted. The process for bag pick up will essentially be the same with cars pulling up to the door and a volunteer placing the bag in the car trunk, back cargo area, or back seat. Residents do not get out of their vehicles.
The new schedule for the Town Center Food Bank will be Thursdays from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, with the first event on Thursday, August 6th from 4:00– 5:30 pm.
Families and guardians in need are welcome to continue to access Bedford’s Food Bank.
Starting in August, the intention is to provide one robust bag of food per household in need, but separate bags will no longer be customized for school students.
For nutritious meals adhering to school nutrition guidelines, the summer nutrition program in Waltham is also available to Bedford families. Please navigate to https://meals4kids.org/find-summer-meal-site for hours and directions, as well as information about other summer feeding programs for schoolchildren in the area.
The Town Center Food Bank will continue to operate primarily on a drive-through basis, with limited exceptions for residents who are on foot. Those utilizing the Food Bank cannot park their car and walk up to the site.
Residents should enter the Town Center rotary from Mudge Way and will be directed in reverse around the rotary. The separate Food Bank delivery system will continue to operate for homebound seniors and disabled residents. If you are a homebound resident and in need of food assistance, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to the Bedford Food Pantry, Gaining Ground in Concord, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and donors to the Bedford Emergency Relief Fund for the continued support of this well-needed effort which serves upwards of 150 families each week during this crisis.
Please stay healthy….and wash your hands as often as you can!