Editor’s Note: The highlights in today’s post, include an update to public building closures, and contact information for department heads and code inspectors; infoeation about a temporary, large-scale food bank planned for the John Glenn Middle School with an optimal opening date of Friday, March 20, 2020. As always, please read the entire update. There is lots of good information to share.
The Bedford COVID-19 Task Force met Monday, March 16, 2020, to review the latest guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH), the office of Governor Charlie Baker, and Town Legal Counsel.
The Governor has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts due to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Task Force is comprised of the following Town officials: Sarah Stanton, Town Manager; Jon Sills, Superintendent of Schools; Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services; Robert Bongiorno, Police Chief; David Grunes, Fire Chief and Taissir Alani, Facilities Director.
As of today, March 16, 2020, there are three (3) presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the Town of Bedford, and three (3) People Under Investigation. We are actively monitoring the quarantined close contacts of the (3) presumptive positive cases, and if they report applicable symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough, chills, etc.) we direct them to contact their health care provider. All close contacts of the (3) presumptive positive cases have been identified at this time and notified of the need to quarantine. If you have not been contacted by the Board of Health and told to quarantine, you were not deemed to be a close contact of one of the (3) presumptive positive cases.
Anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms should immediately self-quarantine, isolate from household members and contact their healthcare provider for further guidance on whether testing is warranted.
Town Update-Building Closures to the Public- March 16, 2020
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, at 5:00 PM all Town buildings are closed to the public. Closure of public access includes all Bedford Public Schools, the Council on Aging, Bedford Free Public Library, Old Town Hall, Town Center, and Town Hall.
Town Staff Availability
The following departments will have staff available via phone and e-mail: Board of Health, Code Enforcement, Council on Aging, Facilities, Finance, Public Works, Town Clerk, Town Manager, and Youth and Family Services.
Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep those employees safe.
To reach the aforementioned departments, please the numbers listed below. Due to reduced staffing levels at this time, there may be a delay in responding to your request.
Visit www.bedfordma.gov for additional information. Call 781-275-1111 if you are unsure which department you require.
Department – Phone Numbers
- Board of Health ~ 781-275-6507
- Code Enforcement ~ 781-275-4010
- Council on Aging ~ 781-275-6825
- Facilities ~ 781-275-5290
- Finance (Assessor/Collector/Treasurer) ~ 781-275-2218
- Public Works ~ 781-275-7605
- Town Clerk ~ 781-275-0083
- Town Manager ~ 781-275-1111
- Youth and Family Services ~ 781-275-7727
- Bedford Public Schools ~ 781-275-7588
The School Department will be checking phone messages throughout the day, and will return calls accordingly.
Enforcement inspectional requests will be addressed on a case by basis. Residents, and contractors, are encouraged to e-mail, or call, the Code Enforcement Department for project-specific clarification. If your home is currently under quarantine for COVID-19, staff will not be performing inspections.
Category of Inspection ~ Staff Contact, Email
- Building ~ Chris Laskey, [email protected]
- Conservation ~ Chris Laskey, [email protected]
- Electrical ~ Jack Landers, [email protected]
- Fire ~ Captain John Daniels, [email protected]
- Health ~ Katherine Dagle, [email protected]
- Plumbing/Gas ~ Jim Powderly, [email protected]
- Water/Sewer ~ Jason Raposa,[email protected]
Town/School Update-Temporary Food Pantry- March 16, 2020
To assist and support Bedford residents in need, the Town is establishing a temporary large-scale food bank at John Glenn Middle School (JGMS).
The Bedford Food Pantry, located at Town Center Building- 12 Mudge Way, is not a large enough physical space, or staffed operation, to address the widespread need of this public health pandemic. Residents who use the Bedford Food Pantry will be directed to the facilities at John Glenn Middle School for services. The Bedford Food Pantry will remain closed until further notice.
Working closely with Bedford Public Schools Food Services Director, Ken Whittier, and the COVID-19 Task Force, beginning Friday, March 20, 2020, the Town will open a food bank which will be open to the public, for drive-thru, or on foot, pick-up, on Tuesday, and Friday of each week until further notice.
To ensure food safety, the food bank will not be accepting outside food donations. Residents will be given food necessities to ensure that those in need are supported during this time. If residents arrive on foot, please observe social distancing as you queue.
Food will also be delivered to our non-mobile elderly and disabled residents, impacted large-housing complexes, as well as students/families who are not able to drive to JGMS. This effort will also include impacted students at Hanscom Air Force Base, and students in the METCO program.
The Town anticipates having the first food-bank pick-up begin on Friday, March 20, 2020, at John Glenn Middle School.
Additional details on time of day, and set-up, will be included in a future daily update.
General Updates- March 16, 2020
- Town officials continue to urge residents to deploy social distancing, and limit social gathering. Go for a socially distanced walk, order take-out, get your coffee to-go, pick up a gift certificate, and support the local business communities from a distance.
- Public health officials strongly discourage activities that promote gathering of people, including play dates, sleepovers, parties, social visits, and other activities where closer contact is the norm. Additionally, health officials are strongly recommending that all childcare / day care facilities consider closing in alignment with the Town of Bedford Public Schools.
- The Town has stated and continues to advise that those — including municipal employees, residents, or students — who are feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms should stay home, self-quarantine, not report to work or school, and contact their medical provider to determine if they should be tested for COVID-19.
For previous updates on COVID-19 please review the COVID-19 News and Announcements Page at on the town website (www.bedfordma.gov).
It’s important to remember that while the COVID-19 outbreak is evolving quickly, influenza is currently circulating in the area. Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops)
- with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Employ social distancing if you are not otherwise required to be in quarantine and must go out.
Get More Information
The best source of guidance and recommendations is the DPH website, www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus
If you are without internet capabilities, please call the State hotline, 2-1-1
You can also the Town of Bedford website for local updates and actions www.bedfordma.gov
Town and School officials, and the Bedford Health Department, remain in continuous communication about this issue, and further updates will be provided to the community as we receive them.