April 10, 2020 Update

PUBLIC HEALTH WEEKLY UPDATE:

STAY HOME & SAVE LIVES

April 10, 2020

The following is a summary of updates related to the Town of Belmont’s response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The Town of Belmont is committed to providing regular updates on the COVID-19 situation. The Town will provide a weekly update as provided here. All daily updates will be on the Town’s COVID-19 webpage

Case Count*

There are currently 95 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Belmont.  There have also been 13 COVID-19 related deaths.

The number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise throughout the state and in Belmont.  On April 1, 2020, Belmont had 16 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.  By Friday April 10, 2020, Belmont had 95 confirmed cases.  Since COVID-19 testing began, 59% of residents who have tested positive live in some type of long-term care facility.  The remaining 41% of Belmont cases are due to community spread, which means there has been no clear source of transmission. The virus is impacting residents of all ages. 

Please note:

  • Due to the increased incidence of COVID-19 in the community and growing caseload, the Belmont Health Department can only provide a running count* of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and deaths.  
  • Keep in mind that for each confirmed case there are likely other individuals in a household that are considered to be close contacts of an infected individual and are required to stay at home in quarantine.  The bottom line is that COVID-19 continues to have a wide-ranging impact on many members of the community. 
  • Due to individual privacy concerns, the health department will not provide information that could identify any individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

The most up to date information on COVID-19 and local cases will be posted on the Town of Belmont’s COVID-19 webpage.  

*Note that the statistics maintained on the town’s website represent official numbers reported to the Belmont Health Department by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). 

Testing

If you have symptoms, and you believe that you should be tested for COVID-19, first contact your healthcare provider. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home. 

If your health care provider recommends that you should be tested, but their facility cannot offer the test, obtain a referral and contact one of the facilities on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health list of COVID-19 Testing Sites in Massachusetts.

Keep in mind that you may need to undergo an additional eligibility screening before you can be tested, and that these sites require an appointment, they do not take walk-ins.

Face Coverings 

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that individuals wear cloth face coverings when in public settings (i.e. grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) where it may be difficult to safely engage in social distancing practices.  This recommendation from the CDC is due increased evidence of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.  This refers to the transmission of the virus from a person who does not develop symptoms.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important for all Belmont residents to begin engaging in this practice when in public settings where they may encounter individuals with unknown health statuses.  It is equally important to continue engaging in social distancing practices and to remain at least 6-feet way from others when in public.  

Please visit the CDC’s website to learn more about its recommendation for face coverings.

The CDC has also posted information on how to make your own face covering, including examples of both sewn and no sew patterns.

Grocery stores

On April 7, the MDPH released further guidance to promote social distancing at grocery stores. The new guidance requires that each grocery store limit occupancy to 40% of its maximum permitted occupancy level. It also sets out procedures by which staff should monitor occupancy levels. MDPH has posted new grocery store guidance on its website.

Things to keep in mind when you go to the grocery store:

  • Follow guidance posted in store and instructions from grocery store staff on social distancing.
  • Only send one person per family, leave children and other families members at home if at all possible.
  • Buy enough to extend how long you can go until your next trip, but don’t buy up too many of one particular item.
  • Shop at an off-peak time if possible. In the morning before 10 or 11 am tends to be the busiest time in many area stores at the moment.
  • Wear a face covering.

Remember that it is possible that you may be contagious even if you don’t feel sick. Your fellow shoppers and hardworking grocery store employees are depending on you to make the best possible choices to keep them safe.

Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), is a national network of volunteers under the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Metro East MRC is the regional unit serving 18 communities, including Belmont. Currently, Metro East MRC volunteers are activated delivering food and medications, staffing call centers, and providing backflow to medical facilities in the region. Interested volunteers can sign up at www.MAResponds.org by selecting "Metro East MRC" as their organization. Medical volunteers are also encouraged to join the "COVID-19 Response" team via MA Responds. Please contact Mia Nardini, Metro East MRC Coordinator, at 781-316-3177 or [email protected] with any questions.

Belmont Public Schools

The Superintendent will post updates for parents and students in the Belmont Public Schools News section of its webpage.

Nursing Home Resource Line

On April 7, Governor Charlie Baker announced the launch of a new Nursing Home Family Resource Line. The dedicated telephone line is staffed 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. This resource was created so that family and community members have one central contact that they can reach out to if they have questions or concerns about the care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Family and community members can call the line at 617-660-5399.

Belmont COVID-19 Informational Call Center and Email

For general COVID-19 questions not specific to the Town of Belmont, all Massachusetts residents encouraged to call the state’s 2-1-1 hotline that is staffed by operators 24/7 and with translators available in multiple languages.  Residents with questions can dial 2-1-1 from any landline or cellphone or use the live chat option on the on the Mass 2-1-1 website.  

The Town of Belmont has also established a COVID-19 Informational Call Center to allow residents to ask non-medical questions specific to COVID-19 in Belmont. The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm the number for the call center is (617) 993-2222. Questions can also be emailed to: [email protected] .

Please call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. Calls should not be made to 9-1-1 to obtain information about COVID-19