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 now 11 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.
Brookline COVID-19 Call Center and Email Remains Staffed
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. The call center will continue to be fully staffed through at least the end of next week.
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 as soon as possible. Residents can also email their non-medical inquiries to: [email protected].
Remember, in the case of emergencies, please call 911.
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 necessary, avoiding large gatherings and group activities.
Smoke Alarm Inspections Suspended
Governor Charlie Baker’s office issued an order today making a change to the inspection statutes that require a smoke and carbon dioxide alarm inspection prior to a residential real estate transaction. The Order would permit the inspection to be deferred if the buyer contractually assumes responsibility for installing the detectors and the subsequent inspection happens within 90 days of the conclusion of the COVID-19 emergency.
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.
Tax Relief for Businesses
Governor Baker’s office today announced tax penalty relief to support businesses affected by COVID-19. The Department of Revenue today announced that it will waive any late-file or late-pay penalties for returns and payment due for meals and room occupancy taxes between March 20 and May 31, 2020.
Limiting Need For In-Person RMV Visits
The Baker administration today announced further action to limit the need for customers to visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles in person. Today, Governor Baker issued an order allowing the Registrar to extend vehicle registrations and modify the conditions of registrations, plates and titles. It also enables the waiver of certain inspection requirements.
Library Making 3D Printer Resources Available
Public Library of Brookline staff will be taking home the library’s nearly 20 3D printers in order to begin manufacturing masks and other medical supplies requested by local hospitals.
The Public Library of Brookline is making approximately 20 3D printers available to the healthcare systems for the purposes of creating vital equipment, including masks.
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.
Additional Updates and Information, In Case You Missed Them
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.
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.
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/.