The East Bridgewater Board of Selectmen wishes to provide the community with information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as federal, state and local health officials continue to monitor the spread of the virus domestically and internationally.
On Tuesday, March 10, Gov. Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts due to COVID-19. Today, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that the number of total positive cases of COVID-19 rose to 108 in Massachusetts.
There are currently no confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus in East Bridgewater.
Town officials are closely following guidance from the DPH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the virus, and steps communities can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The East Bridgewater Board of Selectmen, Board of Health, Town Administrator, Town Counsel, school officials and other members of the town’s leadership team met this morning to discuss plans about how to respond to the virus, including if an individual has a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Town departments will be creating continuity of operations plans in the case of a department head needing to self-quarantine or testing positive for COVID-19.
At this time, all town offices and buildings, including schools, will remain open and operate on a normal schedule.
The Town’s facilities staff continues to work regularly to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect town buildings and schools.
The East Bridgewater Police and Fire Departments, based upon recommendations from local and state health officials, are following the recommended protocols for limiting and dealing with possible exposure while assisting individuals in the community.
According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear 2-14 days after exposure. The DPH reports that symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pneumonia in severe cases
State public health officials are urging seniors and those with preexisting health conditions to avoid large gatherings, including sporting events, concerts and conferences.
The COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and new information and guidelines are being posted by the CDC on a regular basis. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads. The virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has determined that it will not count absenteeism from early March onward, and that school districts will not have to extend the school year beyond its planned end dates as a result of the coronavirus. East Bridgewater School District officials will continue to monitor the situation and proceed in a way that both minimizes the disruption to students’ learning, while ensuring the wellness of the school community.
As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, they should not come to work or school and they are advised to contact their primary care physician.
The DPH recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
Further updates will be released if additional relevant information becomes available from the Town of East Bridgewater.