Rising COVID-19 Case Counts in Bedford

Jan. 22, 2021—As the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the nation as a whole are in the midst of a surge in COVID- 19 cases, the Bedford Health Department reminds Bedford residents that the surge is happening here in town too.

Travel over Thanksgiving and the December holidays, socializing at gatherings, and mixing of households during celebrations are all situations believed to have contributed to the increase in positive cases. Additionally, based on contact tracing data, we know many of our cases are attributable to household contact – the virus is spread within the home when one infected (likely asymptomatic) family member has close contact with uninfected household members during their infectious period.

Because the virus is predominantly spread via droplet and aerosol transmission, mask-wearing is an important protective measure in preventing virus transmission. We bring this to your attention not to shame anyone or point fingers, but human nature is indeed a contributing factor to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

With vaccine distribution underway in the pursuit of herd immunity, now is not the time to let down our guard. All safety protocols necessary to slow the spread have to continue to be followed: wear a mask, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, wash your hands frequently, sanitize common touch surfaces regularly, increase ventilation in indoor spaces, take advantage of testing opportunities, limit gatherings and encounters with people outside your immediate household and get vaccinated as soon as you can!

As of the writing of this article, the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) has reported one hundred sixty-six (166) Confirmed and Probable COVID-19 cases in Bedford since January 1st, which is about double the number of new cases from the previous 20 day time period. Thirty-five (35) cases have been reported within the Bedford Public School (BPS) Community since January 1s, a number almost equal to all the positive cases realized from the beginning of school through December 31, 2020. Only one of the BPS cases to date was suspected to result from in-school transmission.

With our current Incidence Rate of over 10/100,000 but a positivity rate under 5%, Bedford remains in the yellow “lower risk” category. If Bedford’s positivity rate reaches 5%, that will elevate us to the red or “higher risk” category. We were assigned that category for one week several months ago before the risk metrics were changed by the MA DPH. The red category releases additional outreach resources to the town from the state as well as triggers an elevated surveillance alert to the Bedford Public Schools (BPS), in that it would be one of many factors reviewed in the event schools had to close due to high case counts or evidence of widespread in-school transmission

FAQ COVID-19 Vaccine for Residents

With the release of vaccine for COVID-19 facing workers over the past few weeks, many are wondering when they may be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Bedford Health Department has prepared the following FAQ’s to address some of our residents’ questions.

Will the Town of Bedford have COVID-19 vaccination clinics?

Yes. Vaccination clinic planning is currently in its final stages, and clinics are expected to begin in the coming weeks. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) will be releasing the vaccine to the Health Department for distribution to the community. The Health Department currently does not have vaccine.

Who can get the vaccine?

The state of Massachusetts through the MA DPH has coordinated a timeline for vaccine eligibility. Right now, the vaccine is only available to those listed in Phase One of the vaccine distribution plan from the Department of Public Health. To view currently eligible groups for vaccination, please navigate to: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/when-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccine

When can I get my vaccine?

The Health Department is required to follow Massachusetts state guidance for vaccine distribution and will offer the vaccine at our town sponsored clinics when eligible to begin Phase Two. Currently, Phase Two is expected to begin in February for the first priority group of high-risk individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications), individuals 75+, etc. Please see the vaccine distribution timeline plan displayed by clicking the link above.

Free COVID-19 Testing for Residents on Wednesday, December 30 ~ 9 am to Noon

On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, the Town of Bedford will be offering free COVID-19 PCR testing for residents. The testing clinic will take place at the rear of 12 Mudge Way, Town Center building (big yellow building), from 9 AM to 12 PM.  This testing program, run by the Bedford Fire Department, Pro EMS and the Broad Institute, will be free for all Bedford residents aged 4 and older. The testing program will run via a drive-through model. Residents are asked to remain in their vehicles when attending the testing clinic.

The testing is available for all residents, symptomatic or asymptomatic, and will use the “shallow nasal swab” sample collection method and analysis will be by PCR testing methodology. You do not need to be a close contact, have a note from your doctor, or any other condition to be tested…you just need to be a Bedford resident.

Residents are invited to use the link below to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test. Registration is first come, first served. Please note, there are a limited number of tests available on this date.

Thinking Ahead ~ Caucus and Annual Town Meeting, 2021

No one knows how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect life in Bedford 20 weeks from now.

But just in case social-distancing and other considerations are still warranted, Town Manager Sarah Stanton said during the November 9 Select Board meeting that the town Covid-19 Task Force is recommending that annual town meeting be delayed from Monday, March 22 to Saturday, May 15.

She said the board didn’t have to act immediately on voting the delay, but perhaps it could be considered on their November 23 agenda, so other boards and committees could plan their timetables.

Town of Bedford and Bedford Public Schools to Provide Covid-19 Testing for Employees

The Town of Bedford is partnering with the Bedford Fire Department to provide employees of the Town of Bedford and Bedford Public Schools with COVID-19 testing. Pro EMS, in collaboration with the Broad Institute of Cambridge, provides a solution for municipal and private ambulance services to collect samples and facilitate the lab analysis and required reporting.

Under this arrangement, Town staff including firefighters and Community Health Nurses will be trained in sample collection. Given this local sample collection capacity, Town and school employees will have access to timely COVID-19 testing in the event of an at-work exposure or cluster, they are symptomatic, and/or they are a close contact of a confirmed case. Further details will be made available to employees.

This initiative is intended to ensure that school and town staff can safely stay in their work environments, therefore bolstering the ability to keep schools and municipal buildings open to serve students and the Bedford community.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Friday, 23 October 2020

In addition to the current case counts, this week’s full update includes information on Stop Gatherings without Precautions; CDC Updates its Definition of Close Contacts; Some Reasons why a Bedford School Community Member (SCM) might have No Close Contacts in the Schools; and Operation of Indoor Ice Rinks and Indoor Ice Skating and Hockey Facilities – Temporary Ban

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Friday, October 23, 2020

Responding to Positive Cases of COVID-19 and Contact Tracing – FAQ October 6, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 and their Response to Positive Cases and Contact Tracing.

Will the names of positive COVID-19 cases in the school community be released?

Will personal health information be released on COVID-19 positive cases?

Will the identification of individual classrooms occupied by positive cases be released?
At this time, no.

If it is determined that my child is not a close contact, will I be informed that a child/teacher in my child’s class has tested positive?
At this time, no.

How will I know if there is a case of COVID-19 in my child’s classroom/school?
The school nurses strive to monitor illness and potential COVID-19 cases as well as identify any possible positive cases in the school community. Recognizing the importance of protecting confidentiality and following the MA DPH guidelines for close contact management, at this time you will be only notified if your child is considered a close contact.

If my child is diagnosed with COVID-19, will his/her/their privacy be maintained?
Your child’s name will not be revealed if diagnosed with COVID-19. Close contacts will be notified and told that they have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and will be provided with information about quarantine and given further instructions. No personal identification will be given to others.

Town of Bedford ~ Covid-19 Update ~ Thursday, 17 September 2020

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

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, September 17, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 10 September 2020

In addition to the case count from Town Manager Sarah Stanton, this report includes information on Flu Clinics (Registration opens tomorrow for Walk-Up Clinic on Saturday, September 26) and precautions for safety during rallies and protests.

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, September 10, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 3 September 2020

Editor’s Note: In addition to today’s case counts, this update contains information on the new schedule for the Town’s Covid updates; celebrating Labor Day weekend safety; more office hours with Sarah Stanton; cautions about ‘Contact Tracing’ scams; and information on Bedford’s autumn flu vaccine clinics.

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, September 3, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 31 August 2020

In addition to current case counts, this edition of the Town’s Covid update includes Today’s information about Bedford’s Influenza Vaccine Clinics; the CodeRED Emergency Notification System; updates to the COVID-19 Travel Order; small business updates; and information about the September 1 Massachusetts Primary election.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 27 August 2020

In addition to Bedford’s current case counts, today’s update includes Back to School Supports for Parents, Influenza Vaccine Requirement and Flu Clinics, and Election Information

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, August 27, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 24 August 2020

In addition to today’s case count, this update from Town Manager Sarah Stanton and the Covid-19 Task Force includes the Influenza Vaccine Requirement and news that free Covid tests will be available until September 12

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Monday, August 24, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 20 August 2020

Editor’s Note: In addition to today’s Case Count, presented in a new format, today’s update from Town Manager Sarah Stanton includes information about the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Travel Order and Bedford’s Mental Health and Social Service Resources. Today’s PDF link is a long one with substantial additional information.

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, August 20, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 10 August 2020

In addition to current case counts, today’s update includes Orders from the Governor – Gatherings and Restaurants; September 1st Election Information; Mask Up MA! Safe Practices Concern Form; and Need a COVID-19 test?

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Monday, August 10, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 6 August 2020

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Thursday, August 6, 2020

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:

Website ~ www.BedfordMA.gov
Facebook ~ @bedfordma
Twitter ~ @BedfordMAGov

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.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 3 August 2020

Editor’s Note: In addition to the current case count, read important information about adjustments to Bedford’s Food Bank now being held on Thursday afternoons.

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Monday, August 3, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 30 July 2020

In addition to the current case count, today’s update includes the following information:

Diapers and Personal Items Available for Residents In Need
Hand Sanitizer Recall
Governor’s COVID-19 Travel Order
Need a COVID-19 Test?
Food Bank-New Location and New Time!