Editor’s Note: In addition to the current case count, this update contains information on Influenza Vaccination Clinics; Mental Health and Social Services Available to Bedford Residents; Gatherings without Social Distancing – Impacting Start of School in Some Communities
The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
The MA DPH is reporting COVID-19 data on a community level and releasing the data weekly on Wednesdays. Based on this data, each city or town is designated a color – gray, green, yellow or red. Gray and green are lower risk communities, yellow represents a moderate risk community and red represents a higher risk community. Based on data reported by the state through yesterday, Wednesday, September 16, 2020, Bedford remains a green community, the same category as last week. The color-coded relative risk designation established by the state is a tool that can be used by the Town to set policy and implement safety protocols for the protection of the community. In the coming weeks, this data will continue to be updated by the state on a weekly basis. For the current color-coded risk map, please navigate to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/community-level-covid-19-data-reporting.
COVID-19 Data for Bedford, MA as of September 16, 2020
1 Previous-14 day data is used by the MA Department of Public Health to determine Bedford’s COVID-19 risk category (gray, green, yellow or red) on a weekly basis
2 Confirmed cases = positive viral test.
3 Demographics unknown for a confirmed case. Follow-up required. Often cases are reassigned to the proper community for follow-up or become probable/confirmed.
4 Recovered cases counts are adjusted due to deaths subsequent to recovery and/or reassignment of cases to other communities.
5 Probable cases = positive antibody test or clinical diagnosis. Probable cases are not included in the Confirmed Cases totals.
Shading used to correlate various data sets.
Influenza Vaccine Clinics
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. The flu season traditionally starts in September and ends in April with a peak in cases from January through March.
In an effort to protect people who live and work in Bedford from getting the flu, the Bedford Board of Health has scheduled FREE flu clinics during the months of September through November at the Town Campus on Mudge Way. These flu clinics will be done via drive-thru (in-vehicle) and an outdoor (under a tent) walk-thru model. These clinics will require on-line registration in advance of attendance at a clinic. The registration process will collect your personal and insurance information via a HIPAA compliant portal. This model for flu clinic registration and vaccine administration will help minimize contact and exchange of paper. Specific instructions will be emailed to you prior that communicate flu clinic expectations.
To register for a flu immunization appointment date/time, please visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/pages/flu-clinic-information-community.
Walk-ups and unregistered drive-ups will not be served at the drive-thru clinics. If you do not have a vehicle or prefer to walk, please register for the outdoor walk-thru clinic. Also, please continue to check the above registration website for up to date information on clinic offerings as expanded appointment opportunities and additional clinic dates may be added in the future.
The flu clinics are free and open to those who live in work in Bedford and are 6 months of age and older. High dose flu shots are available for those 65 years and older. Please wear clothing that allows for easy access to your arm for vaccine administration. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. School-based clinics will be scheduled to provide opportunities for Bedford Public School children to be vaccinated in school-based clinics, during the school day. These clinics will be announced in the coming weeks. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Board of Health at 781-275-6507.
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. Social Workers will work with residents faced with 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 telehealth 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.
- Connecting Bedford residents and Bedford Public School students with INTERFACE, an outpatient mental health resource and referral Helpline that matches individuals with licensed mental health providers, on average, within 2 weeks of their call. INTERFACE strives to refer residents to their best match for mental health services based on location, insurance, and specialty needs.
Mental Health & Support Contacts
- If you are a resident who is 60 or older please contact Social Worker Danika Castle in the Council on Aging at 781-275-6825.
- If you are a resident under the age of 60 you can contact Social Worker Christopher Bang in the Youth and Family Services Department at 781-918-4328.
- Any Bedford resident seeking mental health counseling or therapy services can contact one of the Social Workers or reach out to Eliot Community Human Services directly at 978-369-1113. Bedford Residents are not required to pay a co-pay and lack of insurance is not a barrier to access counseling. Eliot has been a long time provider of mental health services through the Bedford Youth and Family Services Department and they are also a provider in the Interface system and available for referrals through that system as well.
Gatherings without Social Distancing – Impacting Start of School in Some Communities
After months of planning and implementation of safety protocols and protective measures to keep students and school staff safe, one night of irresponsibility has impacted the start of school for many communities and resulted in converting to an all-remote learning model. While we respect that some families have chosen that model of learning for their children, there are many others who have chosen the hybrid model of education and desire for their children to be in school, at least part of the week. Out of respect for each other and our community, the COVID-19 task force asks the Bedford community to adhere to the social distancing and mask requirements and the limitations on gathering size to prevent this from happening in Bedford.
Any time you or your family are attending a public or private celebration, remember that safe, responsible participation includes:
- Assessing your personal COVID-19 risk and assess and discuss COVID-19 risk for those you live with, before attending the event.
- Staying home if you are sick.
- Wearing or bringing a face covering over your nose and mouth when out of your house.
- Avoiding large crowds. While outdoor gatherings of 50 and indoor gatherings of 25 are allowed, they can still represent a risk to public health in our current environment.
- If you choose to be in a crowd, practice strict social distancing, wear a face covering, bring hand sanitizer or wash hands before and after, do not shake hands, hug, or have long face to face conversations and avoid touching your face.
- Keeping 6 feet away from people who are not in your household.
- Good social distancing also includes dogs. Keep them 6 feet away from those not in your household.
- Do not share water bottles or utensils for eating or serving food.
As always stay safe, practice social distancing, and wear a mask!