STONEHAM — Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Matthew Grafton and Health Agent John Fralick wish to provide residents with guidance for social distancing and to remind the public that social distancing guidelines have been extended through the month of April, per federal orders.
On Sunday, March 29, President Trump called for an extension to the nationwide social distancing guidelines. All residents must continue to avoid nonessential travel, going to work, eating at bars and restaurants and gathering in groups of more than 10 through the end of April.
“It is critical that residents adhere to guidance from federal, state and local health officials to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible,” Fire Chief Grafton said. “We recognize that social distancing can be challenging, but it’s of the utmost importance that everyone does their part to reduce the spread of this virus.”
“We continue to receive reports of residents congregating on public fields and engaging in close contact activities,” Health Agent Fralick said. “Continued actions such as this may lead to the closure of public recreation spaces. It is very important for residents to exercise social distancing at this time, as the State DPH expects to see a surge in confirmed cases in the coming weeks.”
Health Officials Urge Residents to Stay at Home
Public health officials urgently encourage all residents to practice social distancing and remain at least six feet away from others while avoiding congregating in groups larger than 10. Regardless of your age, and no matter if you feel sick or not, it is important to follow social distancing guidelines and stay at home away from non-family contacts at this time.
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. Parents should be sure to talk to their children about proper hygiene and prevention methods as well as the importance of social distancing.
Due to the evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Gov. Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols earlier this month. Massachusetts residents are advised to stay home during this time in order to curb the spread of this virus, with the exception of essential activities such as going grocery shopping or picking up medication.
Town officials would also like to inform residents of the critical importance of not congregating in groups outside. While residents are encouraged to get outside for fresh air, it is unsafe to have groups of people at the playgrounds or playing team and contact sports.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can appear between two and 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anyone who experiences symptoms and believes they may have the virus is advised to contact their health care provider. For more information from the CDC for those who may have the virus, click here.
Officials also wish to encourage residents to follow recommended preventative steps from the DPH:
- 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.
Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety Amid COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are many ways to manage anxiety and stress as a result of the situation:
- Share the facts about COVID-19 to understand the actual risk to yourself and other individuals. When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
- Avoid posting or re-posting unverified information, claims, bogus medical information or conspiracy theories, as it only works to heighten emotions
- Take breaks from listening, watching and reading the news.
- Tend to your body. Stretch, mediate and take deep breaths. Try to eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Try to do other activities that are enjoyable.
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Reassure children and teens that they are safe and that it is okay if they feel upset or stressed.
- Be a role model to children and teens. Connect with friends and families while abiding to social distancing standards, including the use of video calling services like FaceTime.
“If you are experiencing a great deal of stress and anxiety due to the current situation please reach out to the senior center for someone to talk to and connect you to resources available,” said Maureen Canova, Stoneham Senior Center director.
To contact the Stonham Senior Center, call 781-438-1157 or email [email protected].
COVID-19 Information Resources
Stoneham officials encourage everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following websites are recommended for the most updated information:
- Town website: https://www.stoneham-ma.gov/
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: www.mass.gov/covid-19
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information: Click here or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- Sign up for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Text Message Notification System to receive important updates: text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.