BROOKLINE — The Brookline Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Swannie Jett wish to provide the community with several important updates about the town’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
There are currently 10 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Brookline, according to the Department of Brookline Public Health.
The Town of Brookline’s COVID-19 website, BrooklineCOVID19.com, is updated regularly with a variety of information about the emergency’s impact on services and the community.
Slow the Spread by Committing to Social Distancing
The Department of Brookline Public Health urgently reminds residents, especially teens and young adults, of the importance of adhering to social distancing protocols recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Social distancing means staying six feet away from any people you interact with in-person, reducing in-person interactions with others to only those that are absolutely neccessary, avoiding large gatherings and group activities.
“COVID-19 has proven to pose the biggest threat to seniors and those with compromised immune systems, but it’s absolutely essential that everyone — especially otherwise healthy individuals — to practice social distancing,” Dr. Jett said. “Children, teens and young adults should be acutely aware of the importance of social distancing and the positive impact they can have on slowing the spread of this outbreak by keeping away from gatherings of all kinds — including something as simple as a basketball game or other group activities.”
Submit Medical Questions by Email
Residents may submit their medical questions related to COVID-19 via email to [email protected].
Subscribe to BrooklineCOVID19.com for Regular Updates
Members of the community are encouraged to subscribe to the town’s dedicated COVID-19 website, BrooklineCOVID19.com, to recieve updates as they are made available. To subscribe, visit brooklineCOVID19.com/subscribe.
Information for Those Seeking to Volunteer
The town has received numerous inquiries from members of the public, including retired staff members, who have expressed an interest in volunteering to assist during the COVID-19 emergency.
To help streamline the effort to mobilize volunteers as appropriate, those interested in volunteering are asked to fill out this form online.
Advisory Council on Public Health Meeting Tonight
Brookline’s Advisory Council on Public Health (ACPH) will be meeting tonight, Thursday, March 19, at 8 p.m. Residents can watch live by visiting BrooklineInteractive.org/live.
Tips for Managing Stress
The Department of Brookline Public Health wishes to share tips with residents from the Centers for Disease Control about managing stress brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting changes to daily routines.
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Reduce stress in yourself and others
Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.
When you share accurate information about COVID-19, you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoiding school
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
There are many things you can do to support your child
- Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. While schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members through virtual means or over the phone.
For more information on how to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health, click here.
Police Modify Procedures
In an effort to reduce possible exposure to the public and public safety officials alike, the Brookline Police Department is taking some non-emergency reports over the phone by calling 617-730-2222. In addition, the department may ask people who request to speak to an officer in person to meet them outside their residence/place of business.
During all interactions, police ask that members of the public maintain good social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Brookline Police Department remains committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the community. Residents, business owners and visitors whould not hesitate to call 911 in an emergency.
Additional Updates and Information, In Case You Missed Them
Resources for Students
The Public Schools of Brookline have made resources available to help students and parents cope with the interruption to students’ learning and routines.
For more information and to download those resources, click here.
Beginning on Friday, March 20, from noon to 1:30 p.m., families who do not have a working digital device at home can pick up a free school-issued Chromebook to borrow while schools remain closed. Interested families should complete a request form online.
Families that do have a home computer or device that provides students adequate access to online resources are asked not to request a Chromebook.
Additionally, Comcast will be providing two months of free internet service to qualifying families through its Internet Essential program. Click here to learn more and apply.
Brookline COVID-19 Call Center and Email
For general COVID-19 questions not specific to the Town of Brookline, please call the state 211 line.
The Town of Brookline has established a call center in order for residents to ask non-medical questions specific to COVID-19 in Brookline. The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number for the call center is 617-879-5636.
Residents seeking answers to Brookline-specific medical or public health inquiries should continue to contact the Department of Brookline Public Health at 617-730-2300.
Messages left after hours will be returned the next day. Residents can also email their non-medical inquiries to: [email protected].
Remember, in the case of emergencies, please call 911.
Emergency Parking Rules in Place
For details about emergency parking rules currently in effect, visit brooklinecovid19.com/emergency-parking-rules/.
Prevention and What to Do if You Feel Sick
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Brookline Public Health have stated that seniors and those with chronic health conditions are the most at-risk for serious illness caused by the coronavirus; they urge that those in this vulnerable population take appropriate precautions to mitigate their risk of becoming sick. As has been widely suggested, any person who believes they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their primary care physician immediately.
Federal, state and local health leaders all encourage residents to actively take part in social distancing — avoiding close physical contact with others, especially gatherings of 10 people or more, and working from home — in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and respiratory illness, including pneumonia in severe cases.
If anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should stay home and they are advised to contact their primary care physician. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear within 2-14 days of exposure.
If you feel sick, the CDC recommends:
- Calling your primary care physician before visiting them in person
- Staying home and limiting your contact with others
- Wearing a facemask if you are sick. Masks are not recommended for widespread use by healthy people.
Brookline Public Health recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
Free and Reduced Lunch for Brookline Students
Free and reduced price lunches are available for qualifying families on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the period that schools are closed. For information on school lunches, including when and where to pick up lunch for your student, click here.
To order lunch online, click here.
Brookline Food Pantry Update
For more information about the Brookline Food Pantry’s response to COVID-19, and to sign up for its Brookline Thrives program, visit brooklinefoodpantry.org.
The Brookline Department of Economic Development and Long Term Planning is actively working to engage businesses and ensure their needs are met to the fullest extent possible, and minimize the impact of COVID-related regulations.
For the latest information on resources available to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.
Active Town Closures/Cancellations
Town offices, including Town Hall, are closed in order to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. Town departments are continuing to function, with staff working remotely whenever possible.
For updates on active closures and cancellations, visit brooklinecovid19.com/active-closures/.