Bedford feels like a ghost town – which is a good thing. There are only 20 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to the most recent report relayed by town officials from the state.
But there is also a price to pay for many people engaged in disciplined social distancing and disconnection from normal activities, events, and culture.
Professionals in government and private practice who are trained to address issues like isolation, insecurity and information overload have a handle on who is most vulnerable, and what steps can be taken to mitigate the mental health impact.
ByGinni Spencer - Board Member, The Bedford Citizen |
The Bedford Citizen extends a warm welcome to Jordan Stewart who joined us as an interim, part-time reporter on March 30. Regular readers may recognize Jordan’s name from the previous reporting he did for The Citizen in 2019. Most recently The Citizen published his account of his abrupt return from Scotland three weeks ago where he was enjoying a semester abroad through UMass Amherst when Covid-19 arrived.
As the Covid-19 mandatory business lockdown continues, our local Bedford businesses are making do the best they can, but it is not easy. I reached out to officials and Bedford businesses to see how they are doing and how Bedford residents can help them through this tough time.
“I am sorry to report that over the weekend first on Friday evening, and again on Saturday afternoon, Bedford Police discovered offensive graffiti, including swastikas and other inappropriate and racist content, painted along the back of a private building at Great Road Shopping Center, and on a storage shed at Shawsheen Cemetery. Our Police Department, in partnership with the District Attorney, is investigating this incident and will be reviewing surveillance cameras to try to determine who committed these heinous acts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police Department at 781-275-1212.
Whether this was done with malicious intent or just out of ignorance, it is an action that must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. This incident is evidence that no community, even one as welcoming as Bedford, is immune from hatred and that we must remain ever vigilant in denouncing these acts and in supporting efforts to combat bigotry and hatred in any form. Five years ago these sorts of despicable acts resulted in the Bedford community coming together to stand up for the value of respecting our neighbors and embracing diversity.
Pam Aghababian, Teen Services Librarian (and official Peeps-master) at the Bedford Free Public Library tells The Citizen that the 10th Annual Peeps Diorama contest is “going virtual.” If you submitted an entry before the Library closed, you do not need to re-submit. The Library has your information and your pictures. Deadline for submitting your entry is April 8. You will be able to view the entries and vote for your favorite on the Library website. Winners will be announced on April 15.
There isn’t anything that can quite take the place of a real, walk-in visit to the Bedford Free Public Library, BUT – there are a host of online services available to you at home during this time when the physical Library is closed.
The Bedford Water Division will be flushing hydrants to ensure clean, clear water throughout the distribution system. The work will be done on weekdays, between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM from March 24th into early May. The program starts at the Lexington meter vaults and moves northwesterly across Bedford. Signs will be set out the day before flushing in each specific area of town. If you experience rusty water please let your cold water tap run for several minutes. If the water does not clear, or if you have any questions, please contact the Bedford Department of Public Works at (781) 275-7605, ext. 4255. Thank you for your cooperation through this annual program.
The Bedford Interfaith Clergy Network has been informed that the local public health department has issued an emergency order requiring houses of worship to suspend all public gatherings, services, or other activities in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the hard work of our public health leaders in this time, and support this decision wholeheartedly. We encourage everyone in our community to follow all recommendations and directives from our public health and other governmental officials to help us stem the tide of this pandemic, including important social distancing practices.
Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) and Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) joined their legislative colleagues and Massachusetts Health and Human Services officials Tuesday on a conference call to discuss the Commonwealth’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Following this discussion, they issued an update for Bedford residents.
All sites suspended operations effective Monday, March 16, 2020 for a minimum of two weeks. That was the email that was sent out to all Tax-Aide sites on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Once we receive permission to resume this service, we will add extra days and hours and provide this service until the end of tax season, whenever that might be
Whenever there is a crisis, accurate information is critical. There is so much information and it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from rumor. To make matters worse, social media rumors get amplified and are often repeated. So how is one to know truth from fiction?
At The Bedford Citizen, we strive to keep you up to date on how Bedford is reacting to the pandemic.
Two weeks ago (way back when groups were still meeting in person), Sustainable Middlesex hosted a “Carbon Countdown” in Winchester. Sustainable Middlesex fosters collaboration and communication among local climate-conscious grassroots organizations. About 120 people attended, from 26 communities, including four members of the Bedford Mothers Out Front team.
With senior citizens at higher risk for contracting serious cases of COVID-19 and Governor Charlie Baker limiting restaurant food service to take-out only, six indigenous Bedford businesses have risen to the challenge.
Chip-in Farm, and current dine-in only restaurants ~ Minuteman Diner, Ginger, Flatbread, Peppers Grille, Ken’s NY Deli, and Bedford Farms ~ have earned The Bedford Citizen’s praise for supporting the community by offering take-out service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, the Bedford VA Medical Center has not encountered anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The facility is following CDC guidelines for intake precautions.
While the Centers for Disease Control still considers COVID-19 to be a low threat to the general American public, the Bedford VA Medical Center is paying special attention to it.
As part of this process, everyone who enters the campus will be pre-screened. This may lengthen entry times, so patients are advised to allow for that when arriving for their appointments.
ByBedford Department of Health and Human Services |
The outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and the availability of local resources.
People can become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media.
The Bedford Health Department, the Town Manager, and the School Superintendent would like to provide an update on the status of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Bedford. We recognize that these are trying times. Our thoughts are particularly focused on our family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues who are of a vulnerable age, or who themselves or loved ones close to them have an underlying condition that puts them at risk.
Editor’s Note: This is a very long and important message from the town. Please read through to the end.
Joan Bowen of the League of Women Voters of Bedford welcomed members of the community to a Candidates’ Forum on Sunday afternoon in the Shawsheen Room of the Town Center Building. The meeting began with opening statements from the three candidates competing for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen: Bopha Malone, Ed Pierce, and Mark Siegenthaler. This was followed by a question and answer period for the trio and then each was allowed a brief closing summary.
What is the risk level in Bedford for COVID-19?
Based on current information, the risk of acquiring COVID-19 remains low in Bedford and across Massachusetts. On Saturday, March 7th, the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) reported to the Bedford Board of Health (BOH) that a Bedford resident was reported to be a close contact of a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 who attended the Biogen conference. The resident was identified as a Person Under Investigation (PUI), was tested for COVID-19 and his immediate family are in home quarantine, awaiting the results of his test.
Should conditions change and the test results indicate that the Bedford resident is presumptively positive for COVID-19, the BOH and Town officials will work with State officials to communicate with anyone who may have had close contact with this resident to reduce any spread of illness.
Conditions regarding the COVID-19 response are rapidly updating. Please check the following websites regularly for information and updates:
Late Saturday, March 7, 2020, Town health officials were notified that a Bedford resident has been in direct contact of a recently identified presumptive positive COVID-19 case.
The resident underwent testing and is awaiting results. The resident is currently under quarantine at home, and being monitored by the Bedford Board of Health. As a precaution, the Town has also advised that the family members of the resident quarantine at home until test results are received.
State Senator Mike Barrett, State Representative Ken Gordon, Town Manager Sarah Stanton, and Barbara Purchia, Bedford Cultural Council Chair, have announced the award of 31 grants totaling $11,610 for cultural programs in Bedford or for Bedford residents. A complete list of recipients and grant amounts can be found below.