ACTON — Town Manager John Mangiaratti, Emergency Management Director Mark Hald, Acton Nursing Director Heather York and Health Director Sheryl Ball would like to provide an update on the town’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
At this time, there are 92 reported cases of COVID-19 in Acton. Acton Public Health Nurses are working closely with the residents, and are conducting contact tracing to identify and provide guidelines to anyone who has been in close contact with these patients.
Acton recorded a significant jump in the most recent reporting of COVID-19 cases due to extensive testing at the Life Care Center of Acton. Director York reports that 23 of the skilled nursing and rehabilitation center’s approximately 120 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. All residents were recently tested.
Director York has been in regular communication with management at Life Care Center of Acton. The Town of Acton is confident that the facility is doing everything it can to manage this dangerous and often unpredictable pandemic. The Town has also been informed that all employees of the Life Care Center of Acton will be tested starting tomorrow.
Since early March when visitors were banned from the building, Town and Life Care officials have been working together to keep the community updated with the status of COVID-19 within the facility, and the Town believes the facility is following best practices in the COVID-19 pandemic, including cancelling group activities, screening residents and staff for fever and breathing problems and using distancing and isolating techniques to reduce the spread of the illness. The facility is also currently not taking in any new residents and has notified the local hospitals of this change.
“We believe that the staff at the Life Care Center of Acton have taken all the necessary precautions, followed the guidance as it has been released from the State Department of Public Health and have followed best practice guidelines as they would have with any other communicable disease and have been proactive in protecting their residents,” Director York said.
In order to protect residents’ medical privacy rights, no additional information will be disclosed about people who test positive for COVID-19.
“The Board of Health is closely monitoring the situation, and stands ready to assist in whatever way needed to this rapidly evolving difficult event,” said Bill McInnis Chair of the Acton Board of Health. “We are grateful for the support and professionalism of the Acton Nursing Service and the Acton Health department.”
General information about the reporting of confirmed cases can be found here.
On Tuesday, April 28, Gov. Baker extended the closure of non-essential business and the stay-at-home advisory to May 18. Gov. Baker also announced the establishment of a Reopening Advisory Board to develop phased reopening plans for the Commonwealth. Click here for more information.
All town buildings, playgrounds, recreation fields, NARA Park, and the skate park remain closed to the public while Massachusetts’s State of Emergency is in effect.
Rail trails and conservation trails remain open, but residents are encouraged to practice social distancing and not congregate in groups if they are using the trails.
Town Hall services are still operational and staff is available during normal hours throughout the work week. Please call 978-929-6619 or use the town website to contact staff.
“Here in Acton, we have continued to take measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help our community during this pandemic,” Town Manager Mangiaratti said. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our residents for practicing social
distancing in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. I would also like to thank everyone who has donated supplies to our Public Safety Departments and to Acton Nursing.”
The Town of Acton has also started to broadcast local updates and additional information on its local FM radio station 94.9. WAEM. Many public meetings are broadcasted live as well as other PSAs and programs. A weekly live broadcast of the Senior Center’s “Java with John” program is aired on the radio and also on the ActonTV youtube channel.
Federal Guidance Regarding Face Masks
Both Gov. Charlie Baker and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all individuals going out in public wear cloth face masks as precaution in situations where social distancing is hard to maintain in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
For wearing a face mask, residents should:
- Use it to completely cover their nose and mouth
- Read the directions provided on use of the mask, if available
- Put the mask on properly and adjust it as necessary throughout the day
- Wash their hands and face after removing the mask and before touching their face
- Keep masks clean. Fabric face coverings should be cleaned after each use and should be machine washable and dryer safe
- Keep it away from running machinery or equipment that could entangle the mask
- Keep it on their person when not using it
- Request a new one if it becomes damaged or in any way unsanitary
Residents should not:
- Let the mask obstruct their vision
- Wear it if it causes any difficulty in their ability to breathe
- Wear it if it causes safety glasses or reading glasses to fog up and impair vision
- Let it hang down around their neck
- Lay it on a surface where it may contaminate the surface or lay it on a surface that may already be contaminated
- Wear it where it may come in contact with running machinery or create a hazard while performing their work
- Use it if it is damaged in any way
The guidance recommends protective face coverings to be worn by employees of any essential business — which, as defined by Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 Executive Orders, include but are not limited to food establishments, grocery stores and pharmacies — when interacting with members of the public and when within six feet of a co-worker.
COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic earlier this year by the World Health Organization. It has also led to a presidential declaration of a national emergency, a state of emergency in Massachusetts and the declaration of a local state of emergency in Acton. The federal government in late March approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts as well.