DEDHAM — Town Manager Leon Goodwin and Dedham Board of Health Chairwoman Leanne Jassetwish to provide the following statement regarding the town’s designation as “high risk” for COVID-19 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
“We have been working closely with the Department of Public Health to address the recent significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the Dedham community.
“The Dedham Board of Health believes that this increase is the result of two recent gatherings of young people in town, including a party attended by high school students, which have resulted in two clusters of positive cases,” Jasset said.
“While it is believed that these clusters are the cause of the recent rise in positive cases, the increase means that it is imperative for residents to get tested now so health officials will have the best possible understanding of the current COVID-19 situation in our community,” Jasset said.
“In response to yesterday’s “high risk” designation by the Commonwealth, the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) will provide Dedham with a mobile testing unit that will remain in town for a minimum of three days. We expect to have more information regarding the dates and hours of the testing site soon and will share those details with the community as soon as they are available. It is expected that the testing site will be operational later this week. We are encouraging as many people to get tested as possible.
“Additionally, Dedham Public Schools announced that while remote learning will still begin on Sept. 16, in-person classes previously scheduled for Sept. 21 have been delayed until further notice.
“As we move forward, we urge residents to continue to take the critical steps that will help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. This includes wearing a mask when in public, avoiding gathering in groups, monitoring yourself and your family for symptoms and practicing proper hygiene.
“Residents may also be contacted by contact tracers. It is of the utmost importance that residents answer these calls and provide whatever information they can in order to help us identify and control COVID-19 transmission.
“The town’s “high risk” designation should serve as a strong reminder that COVID-19 has not gone away and heeding public health guidance is as important as ever. The community’s participation continues to be crucial in stopping the spread.”
As of today, there has been a total of 486 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dedham since the start of the pandemic.
COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health include:
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing, maintaining a minimum of six feet from others, is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain six feet from people outside your household
- Do not shake hands or hug
- Wash your hands often
- Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands
- Wear a mask in indoor and outdoor spaces where social distancing from people outside your household is not possible. This does not apply to those under the age of two and with underlying health conditions.
- Face coverings should:
- Cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with either ties or ear loops
- Permit breathing without difficulty
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
Residents are urged to regularly check the town’s COVID-19 information website for regular updates about the status of the virus in the community. Visitors can subscribe via email to receive notifications for new posts.
Dedham residents with questions may additionally contact the Dedham Health Department at 781-751-9220.