GEORGETOWN — Emergency Management Director and Police Chief Donald C. Cudmore, Health Agent Deb Rogers and Town Administrator Michael Farrell seek to provide regular updates to the citizens of Georgetown on the evolving worldwide COVID-19 crisis and its effects locally.
As of Thursday, April 16, there are 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgetown.
All individuals are currently in isolation per Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) orders. Close contacts (defined as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of a positive case) have been identified, contacted by health officials, and are adhering to DPH orders for quarantine. Those who are quarantined will be monitored by Georgetown health officials on a daily basis to limit the risk of spread.
In order to protect the residents’ medical privacy rights, no additional information will be disclosed about the people with COVID-19.
Social Distancing and Hygiene
The Town of Georgetown encourages residents to practice social distancing, and the town is urging private organizations to consider cancelling or rescheduling events that would gather large numbers of people or result in groups of people being in close proximity.
Social distancing means remaining at least six feet away from others, and Governor Baker has temporarily banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
Stress and Anxiety
The COVID-19 outbreak and fear of becoming ill can cause stress and panic for people. The stress of losing work and having to constantly provide attention to likely confused children who do not understand the concept of social distancing can add serious stress for parents and children alike.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are many ways to manage anxiety and stress about 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.
Local Behavioral Health Resources
Children’s Friend and Family Services, a division of the Justice Resource Initiative (JRI) is fully operational and is accepting referrals and continuing to see patients via telehealth resources. They accept MassHealth. They can be reached at 978-283-7198.
Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services is also offering all services using telehealth Community Service Agency, In Home Therapy, and Outpatient.
As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should stay home and 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.
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.