City Delays Phase 3 Step 2 Transition
Schools Operating on Present Schedule/Models
WOBURN — Mayor Scott Galvin, Health Agent John R. Fralick and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Crowley wish to provide an update to the community on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects locally in the City of Woburn.
The Woburn Health Department has reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Heath that there have been 53 new COVID-19 cases in the city in the past two weeks. City officials have calculated that Woburn will very likely cross into the “Red” high-risk threshold as defined by the state.
As a result, the City of Woburn will delay indefinitely the transition to Step 2 of Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker’s reopening plan. Health Agent Fralick and the Board of Health will step up enforcement, including possible fines, for businesses and individuals that do not follow mandatory public health guidelines.
“I want to commend the city and its residents for their diligence and hard work thus far during this trying year. We have seen COVID-19 on the rise this fall nationwide and across many other cities in the Commonwealth much earlier, and we have taken precautions, understanding that the numbers would likely rise here as well,” Mayor Galvin said. “Unfortunately, it appears that Woburn is over the ‘Red’ high-risk threshold, and we need to act appropriately.”
Everything we do going forward is meant to slow and stop the spread of the disease
The Woburn Public Schools will continue on its present course of action at this time. At this time, the City is reporting five cases among Woburn Public Schools students and zero cases among faculty and staff. Of the five cases, only one student from the Daniel L. Joyce Middle School, had contact with others. The other four students were not in school prior to their positive tests and did not have contact with anyone else. All close contacts of the other student have been notified and are quarantining with remote instruction and support.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students comes first, and I believe the aggressive protocols and precautions we have in place in the Woburn Public Schools have made our schools safe places of learning with as little disruption on our students’ learning progress as possible,” Superintendent Crowley said. “Therefore, we are confident in our decision to continue our hybrid approach at this time, but we continue to monitor the situation closely and are following state guidelines that ask us to look at several weeks worth of data and indicators before making changes to the model.”
In the preparations to open schools, the City of Woburn and Woburn Public Schools prepared detailed plans for responding to positive cases among the school population. The speedy implementation of these plans is what kept schools opened in the wake of this recent uptick. Timely and consistent communication among leaders including Mayor Galvin, the school district and the Woburn Board of Health has been instrumental in the school district’s ability to operate and to take measures to isolate any potential positive cases.
In the case of the one positive student who attended school prior to their test results, the identification and notification of that student’s close contacts was completed in a very timely manner.
“These are not ideal times by any means, but our faculty, staff, students and families are to be credited for closely adhering to the established safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing,” Superintendent Crowley said. “We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional cases in the schools.
Stopping the Spread
According to the CDC:
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
For the latest news, case counts, and lab testing results, visit the state’s COVID-19 website at www.mass.gov/covid19. Residents can also call 2-1-1 with questions, or text the keyword COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive notifications via their smartphone.
Woburn residents can stay up-to-date on COVID-19 news as it relates to the City by visiting https://www.woburnma.gov/government/health/.