BEDFORD, N.H. — Emergency Management Co-Directors Police Chief John Bryfonski and Fire Chief Scott Hunter wish to provide updated information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the community.
At this time, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) is reporting that there are six cases of the virus in the state.
The Town of Bedford is closely following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NH DHHS to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It is critical that residents are listening to the advisories from public health officials to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and stay home when sick,” Police Chief Bryfonski said. “Chief Hunter and I are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation, but those simple actions are preventative steps everyone can take that will make a significant difference for our community.”
Residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for questions (non-emergency) regarding the current health crisis in the state of New Hampshire, available 24 hours a day.
The novel coronavirus has sparked an outbreak of respiratory disease with symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure including fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and information indicates that most COVID-19 illness is mild.
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 Bedford Police and Fire Departments put measures in place last week to protect emergency services personnel from contracting or contributing the spread of the virus, which included the implementation of procedures to identify persons at risk to ensure first responders are properly protected upon contact as well as thorough and comprehensive disinfecting regimens for emergency services equipment and facilities. The Bedford Police Department Citizen’s Academy scheduled to begin March 24 has been postponed until August 4.
The Public Safety Complex has also been designated as critical infrastructure, and the Safety Complex meeting room has temporarily been closed to the public and tours of the facility have been cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We are confident the protective and preventative measures taken by the Fire, EMS and Police Departments will ensure our first responders will be able to continue to serve the public during this evolving situation,” Fire Chief Hunter said.
The Bedford Library remains open, however public use of the library meetings rooms has been temporarily suspended until further notice.
The public meeting on the Town’s Master Plan that was scheduled for March 26 has also been postponed and the new date of the meeting will be announced at a later time by the Town. Comments can still be made on the plan by emailing [email protected].
As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not come to work or school and they are advised to contact their primary care physician.
Police Chief Bryfonski and Fire Chief Hunter also wish to share the following prevention tips from the NH DHHS:
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water, for a minimum of 20 seconds, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) if soap and water are not readily available.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue and dispose of the tissue afterward. Lastly, be sure sure to wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you are feeling ill and/or have a fever, do not go to work or school.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Get a flu shot.