News Flash Home
The original item was published from 3/31/2020 7:28:09 PM to 4/1/2020 10:24:43 AM.
Posted on: March 31, 2020
[ARCHIVED] March 31 - COVID-19 Update
Extension to May 4
- Last week, Governor Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools and all non-emergency childcare programs in Massachusetts until May 4, 2020 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
- As you know, the Town suspended all non-essential municipal services and shifted staff to remote work to the extent possible on March 13, 2020.
- We are now planning to operate in this state until at least May 4, 2020, in line with Governor Baker’s most recent decision. Michelle will provide an update on Town services shortly.
- All of our actions and decisions are guided by the need to keep our citizens and our employees safe and healthy.
- The Town’s COVID-19 response is being led by our Emergency Management Team, which meets seven days a week via videoconference.
- We are in the process of implementing a more robust Incident Command System that will pull staff in from other departments to augment our local COVID-19 response.
- Our Health Department team has been on the forefront of this pandemic, and standing up the ICS structure will greatly support and enhance their efforts.
- The state has promoted a number of new resources to help connect residents with health care resources if they display COVID-19 symptoms. These resources include:
- The Buoy online tool, which helps MA residents get advice from an online health assistant safely at home, for free.
- The new messaging tool called “AlertsMA,” which allows residents to subscribe to real-time text notifications about coronavirus by texting the keyword COVIDMA to 888-777.
- And the 211 Information and Referral Hotline, where residents can make free and confidential calls to ask COVID-19 questions by dialing 211.
- We posted a message on the Town website yesterday with links to more information about each of those resources.
- According to the MA Department of Public Health (DPH), as of today, there were 6,620 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Massachusetts, including 459 in Plymouth County.
- DPH has recommended that local health departments report positive case numbers by county to protect the privacy and confidentiality of individuals who test positive for COVID-19.
- The numbers reported by the state only include laboratory-confirmed cases – they do not include clinical diagnoses of COVID-19 by medical professionals or people who self-diagnose and stay at home. Thus, the number of actual cases is much higher than what is reported through the state system.
- We do not collect our own data at the local level. We have included a link to the DPH current case count on the Town website and will continue to use their figures.
- It is important to remember that viruses do not respect town boundaries. In today’s hyper-connected world, social distancing is absolutely essential – every choice you make could save a life or put one at risk.
- It is crucial that we all stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.
- Everyone should continue to take everyday preventative actions and precautions.
- Maintain social distancing (stay 6ft away from other people)
- No gatherings of over 10 people
- Grocery stores, food pantries, banks, and pharmacies may have over 10 people but you also be maintaining social distancing
- Clean your hands often by using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
- Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones
- As always, call your primary care provider directly if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath
Town Services Update
- As stated last week, we are doing our best to keep municipal services running while protecting employees and residents.
- Our Health Department is working around the clock to monitor potential and confirmed COVID-19 cases, communicate with DPH and the CDC, answer questions from residents, reach out to businesses and food establishments, and advise municipal and school officials.
- School nurses have been supporting our Health Department team in responding to this crisis. In addition, School Food Services staff have partnered with the Veterans Services Department to make sure meals are still reaching disabled veterans and other vulnerable people in our community.
- Our Police, Fire, and Public Works teams and 911 dispatchers continue to provide vital services to the community.
- The Transfer Station remains open and Public Works crews continue to maintain public infrastructure.
- Although the Senior Center is closed, staff are still coordinating Meals on Wheels, facilitating needed rides for dialysis appointments, and reaching out to seniors around town to make sure they have everything they need.
- Our Director of Elder Services is initiating a series of phone call messages to seniors in town to make them aware of resources during this time.
- Senior Center and Recreation Department staff are working on ways to implement remote/online classes for some of their popular programs.
- Our Building Department is processing permits online and conducting inspections of unoccupied buildings. Similarly, our Assessing staff are conducting drive-by inspections of properties.
- Hingham Public Schools will be rolling out a remote learning plan with the next couple of days that will take effect on Monday, April 4th and will run through the extent of the closures.
- Public meetings are taking place, as this one is, via conference call to keep Town business moving.
- We’ve created a Community Notices pages on our website where local businesses can advertise the services and resources they have available at this time.
- Contact information for every department is on the Town’s COVID-19 webpage. We are all here working behind the scenes and available by phone and email if anyone needs help.