Coronavirus Guidance - April 6, 2020

Coronavirus Guidance - April 6, 2020COVID-19

 

New Announcement(s)

April 6, 2020

Halifax has been informed that there are now nine residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Overview

Recently, a new coronavirus—2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus—was detected in Wuhan, China. This novel coronavirus causes a respiratory (lung) infection.

There are a number of presumptive and/or confirmed positive cases of this novel coronavirus, now called COVID-19, in Massachusetts. According to the Department of Public Health, these cases occurred in a variety of settings and locations.

According to the Center of Disease Control, current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Halifax Response

Town of Halifax - COVID-19 FAQ

Town of Halifax - Isolation and Quarantine

Public schools including Halifax Elementary School, Silver Lake Middle School, and Silver Lake High School are closed from Friday, March 13 to Sunday, May 3. They may re-open after that time. A decision concerning any further closures will be made closer to May 3.

Pope's Tavern, the Council on Aging center, will be closed indefinitely to the public. Services will continue to be provided. The Halifax Council on Aging announced that if anyone would like to donate non-perishable food items and toiletries for the seniors they can be dropped off in the bins on the porch of the Council on Aging/Pope's Tavern. Our hope is that we won’t need an abundance of these items but if we do we want to be prepared. If these items that we are collecting do not get used and things get back to normal they will be donated to the Food Pantry in Halifax.

The Holmes Public Library is closed to the public until and including Sunday, May 3. Services will continue to be provided. Fines are waived. Bookdrop closed.

The Halifax Town Hall and Water Department will be closed to the public indefinitely. Services will be provided as possible via e-mail, telephone, and drop box, as much as possible. Meetings will continue to be held (the public will be able to attend via electronic means if the meetings are not being held in an actual physical venue).

The date of the Annual Town Meeting has been changed from Monday, May 11, 2020 to Monday, June 15, 2020 and the date of the Annual Town Election has been changed from Saturday, May 16, 2020 to Saturday, June 20, 2020.

The Recycling Center is closed to the public indefinitely. Curbside trash and recycling collection continue on their normal schedules. The next bulky waste pickup on Thursday, April 30 with a registration deadline of Thursday, April 16 at 2pm. The "pink bag" pick-up service through Simple Recycling has been suspended on an indefinite basis. Waste Management, the company that provides the Town's curbside trash collection service, has requested that you properly tie-up your Town trash bags. As we continue to protect the workers who provide vital trash collection service in Halifax during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are kindly asking that you ensure that all trash bags are properly sealed to prevent contents from spilling.

The Town has organized a Halifax COVID-19 Task Force including the Board of Selectmen and department heads and representatives including public health, public safety, public works, social and resident services, schools, and administration. It has and will continue to meet on an as-needed basis. The Town continues to monitor information sent out by the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Custodial staff in municipal buildings have increased the frequency of cleaning the buildings, common areas, and surfaces and objects used by the public and the Town’s employees. The Silver Lake Regional School District, including the Halifax Elementary School, has taken a number of measures to prevent infections. The District is working with its building principals, school nurses, the school physician, local boards of health and government agencies on a daily basis to provide guidance and to implement safeguards.  

The Silver Lake Regional School District has taken measures such as:

  • Custodial and school staff have increased cleaning and disinfecting of common surfaces, including desktops, door handles, counter-tops, and railings.
  • The District’s buses and vans are cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis following the department of health guidance

School lunches -

“Grab and go” lunches will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for families who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

If you are qualified, and would like a lunch for your child, please call or email Megan Ahrenholz @ 781-582-3556 or [email protected].

The District hopes to have lunches available for the duration of our closure from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at the following locations:

Halifax residents - please pick up your food at Halifax Elementary school.
Kingston residents - please pick up your food at Silver Lake Regional Middle School
Plympton residents - Please pick up your food at Dennett Elementary School.

This will be a “drive up” service. Please “pop” your trunk or roll down a window, if possible. After obtaining your lunches, please do not gather in groups. Please remember social distancing guidelines and remain six feet away from others.

For those families who are not able to pick up food and provided their address - The District has your addresses and will try to continue to deliver to your driveway or hang on your mailbox. Door service will not be possible.

On Mondays and Wednesdays each child will receive two meals. On Fridays each child will receive one meal.

The District will do its best to keep up with demand and provide this service for as long as possible.

The Town recommends that residents and visitors not use the HOPS Playground, the playground by the tennis courts, or the playground at the intersection of Holmes Street and Annawon Drive as with the number of participants involved, these areas are places where the virus could be transmitted from person to person, including those in vulnerable populations. Similarly, the various sports programs, including basketball, baseball, soccer, and softball, are not in operation at this time.

While the public has limited access to the Fire Department and Fire Station, the Department continues to accept applications for burn permits.

If you need copies of records or reports from the Police Department, the Department has the necessary forms in the lobby at the Station and a receiving box in which to leave them. Until further notice residents cannot drop off prescription drugs at the Halifax Police Department Prescription Drugs drop off kiosk. This is being done out of an abundance of caution as the Police Department is trying to minimize foot traffic at the Station.

Septic systems - Even if the sanitary wipes you are using indicate that they are "flushable", the recommendation is not to flush them, even into septic systems, as they tend to clog them up, later or sooner. Now is not the time to have a septic system back up into your house, or to need an emergency visit from a plumber or septic tank pumping company.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/us/wipes-flush-toilet-pipes-wellness-trnd/index.html

Building/wiring/plumbing/gas inspections - Procedures have changed.

Cemetery and Highway Department offices closed - services being provided

Positive Cases in Halifax - 9 as of April 6, 2020

The Town of Halifax was informed on April 6 of nine positive cases of COVID-19. Due to privacy requirements, the demographics of these cases will remain anonymous. The close contacts of the positive case have been notified and are following CDC guidelines for self-quarantine. Other contacts are still being investigated. With increased testing capabilities and community spread of COVID-19, having positive cases in Town was inevitable. This is a crucial time in infection control. Maintaining social distancing, limiting exposure to others, avoiding crowded places, and vigilant handwashing are vital steps in slowing the spread of this disease.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other Federal agencies and our local Board of Health to share the most up to date information available. The DPH website is updated constantly with the latest guidance, including printable fact sheets in multiple languages at www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus. Information about coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19 can be found at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website, by calling 2-1-1 or visiting https://mass211.org/ where citizens are able to live chat with a person.

The CDC website is https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The Town will continue to share information to ensure you are updated as broadly and quickly as possible. Please continue social distancing and personal hygiene efforts.
 

Massachusetts’ Response

Report from COVID-19 Response Command Center - April 5, 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide updated information as it becomes available.

Massachusetts is prepared for this potential outbreak. Massachusetts public health departments and our world-class health care providers are well-versed in emergency preparedness and our healthcare workers, institutions and public health partners across the Commonwealth are constantly training for the possible emergence of diseases.

On Tuesday, March 10, Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency. This declaration allows the State government to take quick actions to alleviate and respond to this situation. Other orders have been proclaimed since then.

Buoy Health Care Tool - check your symptoms and connect with the next appropriate health care resource

Recommendations

Residents are advised to take many of the same steps they do to help prevent colds and the flu, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and face.
  • Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Stay home when feeling sick.
  • Stay informed.

At-risk populations including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease should follow the additional recommendations from the CDC concerning what actions they should take.

Clinicians who have patients they think may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must contact DPH via the 24/7 EPI line (617-983-6800).

The State Lab has an adequate supply of test kits from the CDC for testing. The anticipated turnaround of test results from the State Lab is 24 hours but may be more, depending on testing volume.

Individuals who are in voluntary self-quarantine continue to be monitored by their local boards of health. As of Thursday, March 12, 2020, there are none so far in Halifax

People who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and who have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should reach out to their healthcare provider and call ahead before going to a healthcare facility.

Federal Resources

For the most up to date information, please see the information below:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has created a website updated constantly with the latest guidance, including printable fact sheets in multiple languages. Visit: http://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an interim guidance for employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Contact the Town of Halifax

If you need to contact the Town about the Town's programs and services and COVID-19 here are phone numbers:

Board of Health    781-293-6768
Board of Selectmen    781-294-1316
Building Inspector    781-293-6557
Collector (pay bills)    781-294-8381
Fire Department    781-293-1751
Highway Department    791-293-1761
Holmes Public Library    781-293-2271
Police Department    781-294-8713
Town Clerk    781-293-1727
Water Department    781-293-1733

You can also check the listing of all departments and boards and committees.