The number of Covid-19 cases in Bedford is falling, not only in reality but also on paper.
Mark Waksmonski, the Health and Human Services Department’s public health nurse, reported to the Board of Health Monday that there were 15 cases between Feb. 27 and March 4, from 2,239 tests. That was about half of the total cases during the previous two-week period, he said.
Waksmonski also noted that over the past year, Massachusetts National Guard members testing positive at the state headquarters at Hanscom Air Force base were linked to Bedford. After several months of discussions with the state Department of Public Health, the practice has been changed and the town’s total caseload will decline by about 30, he said.
“This happened before with staff at the VA Hospital,” said Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter. “Folks should be tallied in the community where they live.”
Monday’s meeting was the first for newly-elected member Maureen Richichi. She couldn’t vote because she and re-elected member Anita Raj won’t be sworn into office until the results are certified in the office of the town clerk.
Asked about discrepancies between state case data and the numbers posted on the department dashboard, Waksmonski explained that if a person tests positive multiple times, he or she is counted just once locally. “Someone could test positive up to three months,” he said.
Porter said the town-sponsored testing site is not operating at capacity. Last Saturday’s total was 60. “We are trying to get the message out,” she said, surmising that interest is declining because of the onset of vaccines and nicer weather.
The director told the board there wasn’t a lot of interest in the pooled testing project in the Bedford schools. Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad said later that parental permission forms are still being received.
Waksmonski said he administered 27 vaccine doses to residents of Ashby Place, the Bedford Housing Authority’s elderly housing complex, Tuesday morning. Many of the residents of the 80 apartments already had received shots, he said.
Porter said her office has a list of homebound residents, compiled through the Council on Aging and the Bedford Free Public Library. “We have been reaching out to get them doses,” she said, such as last week when the town inoculation program ended up with some extras.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763