Superintendent’s Update ~ Sunday, September 27, 2020

was informed by the Bedford Board of Health that they received a laboratory testing report indicating that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Lane Elementary school has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing. The Board of Health determined that the positive school community member at Lane School was not present at school during their infectious period, therefore, no close contacts were identified among the school community in this situation.

Town of Bedford Adds More Flu 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. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths, including 27 pediatric deaths, from the flu nationally.

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.

Flu Clinic Registration and Influenza Vaccine Requirement

Last week, state public health officials announced that influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities.

The Bedford Board of Health will host the first of its planned weekly drive-thru flu clinics for the Bedford community on Monday, September 14th.

Board of Health to host weekly drive-thru Flu Clinics

The Bedford Board of Health will host the first of its planned weekly drive-thru flu clinics for the Bedford community on Monday, September 14th.

The registration process can be found by visiting the following Town of Bedford Board of Health webpage:

Mosquito Spraying Planned for Thursday, August 27

The East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project is planning to use a truck-mounted aerosol sprayer to apply Sumithrin in Bedford on Thursday, August 27, 2020, between sunset and 11:30 PM.

Spraying is scheduled for neighborhoods that are located in the vicinity of

Tips For Safe Use of Reusable Bags During COVID-19

On July 10, 2020, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) rescinded a previous emergency order related to grocery stores and pharmacies that, in part, prohibited the use of reusable checkout bags by grocery stores and pharmacies and their patrons. 

Mosquito Spraying Planned for Wednesday, July 29

The East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project is planning to use a truck-mounted aerosol sprayer to apply Sumithrin in Bedford on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.  

Spraying is scheduled for Bedford neighborhoods located in the vicinity of Washington Street, Marion Road, Short Street, Alaska Avenue, Dunelm Road, Ridge Terrace, Meadowbrook Road, and Sweeney Ridge Road.

EEE, School Start Times Top BoH Agenda

At their July 20 meeting, the Bedford Board of Health discussed an emergency order regarding reusable bag use, heard updates from community social worker Chris Bang, discussed school start times, and planned for the expected Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) outbreak.

It’s HOT Outside! Tips from the Bedford Board of Health to Prevent Heat-Related Illness

Throughout the summer months, there are often heat advisories issued by the National Weather Service for much of Massachusetts, including the Bedford area. A heat advisory is issued to raise public awareness when high temperatures and relative humidity cause a high heat index that can affect people if precautions are not taken.

Hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illness to occur if you are not careful. Heat-related illness can also happen at any time depending on the person, temperature, and level of activity.

Mosquito Season is Upon Us!

Mosquitoes are most active in Massachusetts from June through August, but the true determination of mosquito activity is weather dependent.

Most adult mosquitoes can be found during the day in damp, shady areas where they can find protection from the sun.  Mosquitoes can spread diseases that may make humans and animals sick. Viruses carried by mosquitos can be transmitted to humans or animals through a mosquito bite.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Editor’s Note: Today’s case count along with a preview of the new schedule going into effect next week, a mental health check-in, and a reminder about the importance of wearing a mask or other face covering to stop the spread.

Click this link in the actual article to read the Town’s full update for Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Phase Two (2): Reopening Guidance for Businesses

As we continue to move forward with the Governor’s plan to phase in the reopening of different establishments and businesses, the Bedford Board of Health wants to direct you to the required documentation to help your business reopen or continue operating in a manner that will protect the health and safety of both staff and customers, and keep you in full compliance with the requirements set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Warm Weather Brings Residents Outside and Ticks Too!

Residents are currently following Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Orders, which include a Stay-at-Home Advisory that is currently in effect until May 18, 2020, unless extended. Spending more time at home is leading residents in search of fresh air and outdoor activities while continuing to maintain social distancing. The Bedford Board of Health wants to remind residents that tick season is upon us and with the nice weather and stay-at-home advisory many people are spending more time in potential tick environments.

You don’t have to be walking in the woods to be bitten by a tick; it can happen around your own home, while gardening, picking up leaves or while out on a socially distanced walk on Bedford trails and grassy areas. Whereas spring is a popular time for clean-up in many backyards, please be mindful that ticks might be hiding under leaf litter that may have accumulated over the winter.

Board of Health Provides Updates on Town’s Covid-19 Situation

The Board of Health meeting on May 4 painted a clear picture of the extensive work being done to combat Covid-19 not just head-on, but in addressing the numerous consequences stemming from it. Director of Health and Human Services Heidi Porter, Assistant Health Director Katharine Dagle, and Community Nurse Mark Waksmonski provided detailed reports on the town’s current situation.

E-Cigarettes Can be a Risk Factor for Covid-19

Youth tobacco rates are at a 20-year high in the United States due to the growing youth e-cigarette epidemic.  In our region, statistics indicate that somewhere between 30-40% of youth report vaping within the last 30 days.  Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes but experts agree, all forms of nicotine are unsafe for youth. 

Of additional concern, smoking and vaping are also being actively investigated as risk factors for  COVID-19.

Board of Health Hard at Work to Mitigate Spread of Covid-19

Director of Health and Human Services Heidi Porter presented her department’s wide-ranging responses to the Covid-19 pandemic at the April 13 meeting of the Board of Health. The Board unanimously approved an amendment to the Town’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency to include regulatory citations as recommended by Town Counsel. Sarah Thompson was elected Board chair with Anita Raj as Vice-Chair.

Safe Shopping Tips Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak – Bedford Board of Health, 27 March 2020

On March 23, 2020 Governor Baker released an additional Order allowing COVID-19 Essential Services to continue to operate. A Stay-At-Home Advisory was also issued, urging residents within the State of Massachusetts to stay home as much as possible, and limit unnecessary time spent out in public.

Grocery stores, pharmacies and specific retail establishments are included in the list of Essential Services that remain in operation. While residents are limiting time spent in public, some establishments cannot be avoided so many people are wondering how to practice safe shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are many ways that YOU can help limit the spread within Bedford by taking the following steps if you have to go to the grocery store or pharmacy:

Important COVID-19 Update ~ Saturday, March 7, 2020

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. 

Legal Notice of Aerial Spraying for Mosquitoes Published in the Boston Globe

The following Legal Notice describing planned aerial applications to control mosquito larvae appeared in the Boston Globe on Friday, February 14, 2020.

Publishing the legal notice and sending a copy to the appropriate Boards of Health are requirements of the notification criteria of Massachusetts Pesticide Board regulation 333 CMR: 13.04(7). The purpose of the regulation is to facilitate public notification prior to aerial applications of mosquito larvicides.

The February 14, 2020 notice will be the only legal notice published this year for aerial application notification purposes.

Press releases will be issued prior to any aerial larvicide applications over wetlands.

Coyote and Wildlife Safety, from the Bedford Board of Health

Coyotes have been a recent news topic as humans have had encounters with coyotes while out enjoying nature as well as directly in their neighborhoods.  Coyotes remain active year-round and do not hibernate. Coyotes can be active night or day, and sightings at dawn or dusk are common. As with all types of wildlife, human interaction should always be limited as much as possible. It is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times and know what to do if you come in contact with a wild animal. People should never approach, touch, or give food to any animal. Such contact is not safe for people, pets, or wildlife.  

The following information focuses on coyotes but also applies to many other species of wildlife.  This information was provided in part by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Talk Saves Lives: Health and Human Services Department Presents Program on Suicide Prevention

Heidi Porter, Director of the new Health and Human Services Department for the town of Bedford, welcomed residents to a meeting on November 18 in the Reed Room of Town Hall featuring speaker Tara Greeley from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP.) Greeley began her remarks with some compelling statistics: suicide is the 10th leading cause of  death in the United States and 13th for the state of Massachusetts; among young people between the ages of 2 and 34, it is the 2nd leading cause of death; and for every completed suicide, there are an estimated 25 attempts.  Globally, 800,000 lives a year are lost due to suicide which translates to one death roughly every 40 seconds.