Editor’s Note: In addition to the current case count, today’s update is chock full of information: Bedford Awarded Shared Streets Grant to Promote Public Health, Safe Mobility and Renewed Commerce; September 1st Election Information; Town Manager Virtual Office Hours; Reminder on Gatherings; Bedford’s Social Workers – Appreciated by the VA ; Bedford Food Bank – Now at the Town Center Building; Mask Up MA!; Household Hazardous Products Collection Events – COVID-19 Safety Requirements; Hand Sanitizer Recall – List Expanded; Need a COVID-19 test?
The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
As of today, August 6, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred seventy-five (275) positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the BOH by the MA DPH, of those, one hundred sixty (160) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty-six (46) 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 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-one (221) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off 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.
Today’s Update includes the following news releases:
- Bedford Awarded Shared Streets Grant to Promote Public Health, Safe Mobility and Renewed Commerce
- September 1st Election Information
- Town Manager Virtual Office Hours
- Reminder on Gatherings
- Bedford’s Social Workers – Appreciated by the VA
- Bedford Food Bank – Now at the Town Center Building
- Mask Up MA!
- Household Hazardous Products Collection Events – COVID-19 Safety Requirements
- Hand Sanitizer Recall – List Expanded
- Need a COVID-19 test?
Bedford Awarded Shared Streets Grant to Promote Public Health, Safe Mobility and Renewed Commerce
The Town of Bedford has been awarded a $62,666 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Shared Street and Spaces Program. The Shared Spaces grant program was established to address existing mobility needs in the community that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and also created, such as the need for sufficient space for people walking to physically distance themselves from one another and the need for meaningful commerce to now be safely conducted on the sidewalks and in the streets of our cities and towns. The Shared Streets and Spaces Program is intended to support projects that promote public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce by quickly providing new or repurposed space for socially distanced walking, bicycling, dining, retail, and bus travel.
September 1st Election Information
Voting by mail is an available option for *all voters* for both the September and November 2020 elections. Please see this frequently asked questions document for more information on voting in Bedford: https://www.bedfordma.gov/home/news/primary-election-information-september-1
Town Manager Virtual Office Hours
Town Manager Sarah Stanton will be holding office hours virtually on Tuesday, August 11 from 10:00-11:30 am. Advanced sign-up (by Monday at noon) is required. More information and a link to the sign-up form can be found here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/home/news/town-manager-to-hold-virtual-office-hours
Reminder on Gatherings
On July 2nd, Governor Baker issued updated guidance around holding large gatherings and graduation ceremonies to allow people to celebrate special occasions in a responsible way. We know that this time of year is usually filled with celebrations and we are grateful for the many residents of the Bedford who have followed the guidance to keep people safe; however, we are increasingly hearing disturbing reports of large gatherings, including high school graduation events, where individuals are not wearing a face covering or social distancing.
This behavior can dramatically accelerate the spread of COVID-19.
The current guidance limits indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 100 people. The residents of Bedford and across the state have worked hard over the last few months to bring down the number of positive cases and slow the spread of the virus. That progress cannot be lost because of the actions of a few, and everyone needs to do their part to protect to protect their families, their friends, their neighbors and their communities.
The state has COVID Safe Practices Concern Form which can be completed by anyone who would like to report possible concerns about non-compliance with the Commonwealth’s travel advisory quarantine, face covering, gathering, or other public health rules. You can access the form here: https://www.mass.gov/forms/covid-safe-practices-concern-form
Bedford’s Social Workers – Appreciated by the VA
The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing at the Bedford VA provided Certificates of Appreciation to Council on Aging Social Worker Danika Castle and Community Social Worker Christopher Bang for their supportive services to Veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. On a weekly basis, Danika and Chris have been making deliveries of food from the Bedford Food Bank to the Veterans living at Bedford Green to combat food insecurity among that population.
Bedford Food Bank – Now at the Town Center Building
Starting this afternoon, Thursday, August 6th from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, the Bedford 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 previously 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 – 5:30 pm, with the first event today, August 6th from 4:00 – 5:30 pm.
Families and guardians of Bedford school children are welcome to continue to access Bedford’s Food Bank.
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.
Mask Up MA!
Governor Baker issued an Order that went into effect on May 6th requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition.
So, when you go out, make sure you wear a mask or face covering. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. They protect you. They protect everyone around you. And they help Massachusetts move in the right direction.
When you wear a cloth mask, it should:
- Cover your nose and mouth,
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
- Be secured with ties or ear loops,
- Include multiple layers of fabric,
- Allow for breathing without restriction, and
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage, or change to its shape
Household Hazardous Products Collection Events – COVID-19 Safety Requirements
Following the cancelation of the early 2020 collection events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town of Bedford is pleased to announce that the 2020 schedule for collection of Hazardous Household Products will resume; however, with new protocols and registration required for attendance. The collections will take place at the Town of Lexington Landfill Site at 60 Hartwell Avenue from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on the following dates (which are Saturdays unless otherwise indicated):
- August 15th
- September 20th (Sunday)
- October 17th
- November 7th
Pre-registration is now required to attend the 2020 events. To register for an event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pre-register-by-town-for-august-15-household-hazardous-waste-drop-off-tickets-114575329896. For more information on registration and details on and materials excepted at these collection events, visit the information page on the Board of Health website found here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/pages/household-hazardous-waste. Should you have any questions, please contact the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507.
Hand Sanitizer Recall – List Expanded
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to customers and health care professionals not to use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers and is recommending a voluntary recall of various brands of hand sanitizer. These hand sanitizer products are recalled because the sanitizer was made with Methanol instead of Ethyl Alcohol. Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, can be dangerous when ingested or absorbed through the skin. Substantial exposure to Methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision and even permanent blindness. Seizures, comas, permanent damage to the nervous system and death are also listed as possible side effects. Anyone who has been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and is experiencing methanol poisoning symptoms should seek medical treatment.
The list of recalled hand sanitizer products has grown to over 100. To view the list of recalled products please navigate to: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-consumers-should-not-use#products.
Need a COVID-19 test?
Free COVID-19 testing sites are open in several communities as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s “Stop the Spread” initiative. Testing sites in the following communities are free to all residents of the Commonwealth regardless of symptom state and will remain open until August 14th to help stop the spread of COVID-19: Agawam, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, Taunton, and Worcester. Visit www.mass.gov/stopthespread to find out more. If you need testing closer to home or beyond August 14th, consider navigating to https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13 to find a testing site. Check with your insurance company for covered services prior to booking an appointment for testing.
As always stay safe, practice social distancing, and wear a mask!