|Updates on COVID-19: Adams, North Adams, SWVMC|
|09:53PM / Sunday, March 08, 2020|
The Adams Visitors Center and all programs of the Council on Aging, include van transporting services, will be closed on Monday, March 9, through Wednesday, March 11.
The three-day closure will allow the town to have the building properly cleaned and sanitized out of an abundance of caution to protect the users of the building. Council on Aging staff will be on site and available via phone at 413-743-8333.
During this time, our staff will also be undergoing training to be sure they staff are prepared and able to identify symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to note that these steps are preventative in nature and not based on any known cases or contact within the town.
While public health officials believe the risk of the coronavirus to Massachusetts residents remains low, the risk for contracting influenza remains high and residents are urged to get a flu shot if they have not already done so.
Town officials have been participating in state Department of Public Health conference calls and have been meeting with representatives of the Northern Berkshire Regional Emergency Management Committee to make sure that we have current information and continue to keep our residents and our staff safe.
With the attention COVID-19 is receiving, it is important to stay informed and know the facts. Keeping the public safe, and healthy remains our top priority, and we are continuing to review and update our response, operations, and communication plans as this situation continues to evolve. We will use the town’s website, social media, local media, and our Reverse 911 system to provide information, updates, and special instructions as needed.
Communication from Mayor Thomas Bernard
As you may have seen in The Berkshire Eagle, iBerkshires, and other news outlets Berkshire County has identified a presumptive positive case for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. The team at Berkshire Medical Center along with public health officials, regional emergency management teams, and city and school district staff throughout the county are working together to provide medical care and take steps to contain the spread of this infectious disease.
As this situation unfolds we will do everything we can to provide residents with accurate, up-to-date information. The North Adams Health Department and the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association remain the primary points of contact for any communicable disease outbreaks, informed by state and federal agencies. We will continue to take our lead from their direction and guidance.
In addition, our first responders are following MDPH guidance and protocols when responding to situations that may involve individuals with actual or presumptive exposure to the Coronavirus. We also ask you to cooperate if you are contacted by a public health official. Containing the spread of infections diseases and providing medical care to those who need it the most depends upon health officials being able to conduct "contact tracing" to identify anyone who has been in contact with a confirmed or presumptive patient.
With regard to our schools, all schools in the city, including McCann were thoroughly disinfected over the weekend, and we are planning for an on-time opening of all schools on Monday, March 9. We are continuing to monitor this situation as it unfolds, and will make decisions and announce any changes based on the most current information available. We will continue to track and trend illnesses in all of the schools. Anyone who is ill should remain at home and we ask that you please consult with your primary care physician if you have any questions or concerns about sending your child to school.
We also are aware of the steps the town of Clarksburg has announced regarding the closure of town facilities through Friday, March 13, and we will make and communicate our decisions with this local impact in mind.
We know anytime there is an outbreak of a virus or illness, it can be very unsettling for residents, employees, and visitors. Keeping everyone informed, safe, and healthy remains our top priority, and we are continuing to review and update our response, operations, and communication plans as this situation continues to evolve. We will use the city website, social media, local media, and our Code Red system to provide information, updates, and special instructions as needed.
We have been notified that there is a presumptive positive case of the coronavirus COVID-19 in Clarksburg, Mass. We have been in contact with the Vermont Department of Health. They advised us that under these circumstances closing the school is not necessary. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Stamford School will close tomorrow, Monday, March 9, for a thorough and deep cleaning.
Until further notice, anyone who enters the school building will be asked to either wash their hands or sanitize their hands before entering. If your child is not feeling well, such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath, please do not send him/her to school.
Notice from Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.
On Thursday, March 5, 2020, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center had an adult individual present to its Emergency Department with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The person was admitted, immediately placed in isolation in a negative-pressure room, and tested for COVID-19. Early testing results from the Vermont Department of Health came back as presumptive positive. Conclusive results are expected from the CDC on Monday. The individual is stable and currently hospitalized in an airborne infection isolation room.
Health officials are investigating the person's travel history and are conducting contact tracing for anyone who has been in close contact with the person. Those individuals will be assessed for their exposure risk and provided with guidance for testing, their health, and recommendations for self-isolation or other restrictions.
For patients who have a referral for COVID-19 testing from their primary-care provider, SVMC offers drive-up testing. The service allows patients to remain in their cars. The process was initiated over the weekend to minimize potential viral exposure to other patients and staff for patients who do not need emergency care or monitoring. ED staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE), swab patients in their cars, and remind patients to practice self-isolation until results are known. Samples are sent to the VT lab for results, which typically arrive to the primary care provider within 72 hours. The State of Vermont is not charging for the test, and the patient will not incur ED charges.
Following Department of Health protocol, outpatients have been instructed to contact their healthcare providers if they have traveled internationally and have symptoms. Their provider will contact SVMC's nurse designee in the Emergency Department, who will coordinate a time for the patient to drive to SVMC to be tested.