ACTON — Town Manager John Mangiaratti, Emergency Management Director Mark Hald, Director of Acton Nursing Heather York and Health Director Sheryl Ball report that the Town of Acton has been notified by the Department of Public Health of the town’s first positive case of COVID-19.
Acton Public Health Nurses are working closely with the resident and will notify others who may have been in contact with them. The person with COVID-19 is in isolation and is recovering at home, per DPH orders. Public health officials are conducting contact tracing to identify and provide guidelines to anyone who has been in close contact with this case.
In order to protect the resident’s medical privacy rights, no additional information will be disclosed about the patient.
Social Distancing and Hygiene
The Town of Acton encourages residents to practice social distancing — remaining at least six feet away from others, and Gov. Baker has temporarily banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms.
Local, state and federal health officials are encouraging residents to take the following precautions to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu and COVID-19, from spreading:
- Washing hands with soap and water, scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, including phones, tablets, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, toilet flushers, countertops.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as lip balm, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing and then wash hands.
- Community members should stay home and avoid contact with others when
experiencing flu-like symptoms including a fever of 100.4 and should remain home until symptom-free and/or fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
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.
The DPH recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- Practice good hand hygiene. 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.
- Avoid social gatherings with large groups, particularly if you are over the age of 60, have underlying health conditions, a weakened immune system or are pregnant.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has been declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization and has moved Governor Baker to declare a State of Emergency and President Donald Trump to declare a National Emergency. Governor Baker on Thursday also made a formal request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration.
Police, Fire and EMS Services
The Acton Police and Fire Departments are fully staffed and prepared to respond to any emergencies. Officers, firefighters and medics may appear different and may be wearing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to calls and their interactions with the public will be different, out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of first responders.
If emergency fire or medical services are needed, residents should inform the 911 dispatcher if they or anyone they have been in contact with is experiencing signs and symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The dispatcher should also be alerted if individuals or anyone they live with or have come in contact with have been required to self-quarantine.
When requesting police, fire or emergency medical services, when possible, safe and feasible, residents may also be asked to meet first responders outside their homes.
Residents are asked NOT to dial 911 for questions or concerns about coronavirus/COVID-19. The state has also set up the phone number 211 to answer questions that residents may have concerning COVID-19. If someone feels sick, they are asked to call their primary care provider as a first point of contact.
The Town of Acton has taken the COVID-19 crisis seriously and since March 13 has closed all Town buildings and has limited functions to only essential services to help decrease the spread of the virus. Additionally, the Acton Board of Selectmen and Board of Health declared a local State of Emergency on March 19.