May 25, 2020

Town of Seekonk COVID-19 Update

Posted

Seekonk – The Town of Seekonk is closely monitoring information about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). “The health and well-being of every Seekonk resident is our greatest concern.

We have made a number of decisions that we would like to share with our community today. These decisions are based on current conditions. As we all know, the situation is fluid and our actions will be adjusted as the circumstances require them,” said David Andrade, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

While the risk is currently low in Seekonk, this is a rapidly changing health issue. “We have convened our Emergency Management Task Force, which is headed by our Emergency Management Director, Chief Healy, and includes our Town Administrator, Police Chief, and Health Agent. The Task Force will meet regularly to keep current about the virus and the situation in the United States and will be reporting regularly to the Board of Selectmen and will continue to work with and update the Superintendent of Seekonk Public Schools,” said Chairman Andrade.
Seekonk is currently at low risk with zero positive cases of coronavirus reported in Seekonk and Bristol County but, we continue to closely monitor the situation. Recently, CDC increased its travel warning to Level 3 for China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. “We strongly encourage anyone that has traveled to these countries to stay home and self-monitor for 14 days upon entry into the United States. We also would ask our residents to avoid any unnecessary travel to these countries as well”, said Chairman Andrade.

Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever and respiratory illness, such as cough and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, infection can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Symptoms may be similar to the flu. Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe complications from this virus.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. The Seekonk Board of Health always recommends standard precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

 Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 30-40 seconds
 Using alcohol-based hand rubs and gels with 60% alcohol
 Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
 Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
 Staying home when you are sick
 Covering your cough or sneeze
 Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
 Practicing social distancing – preferably maintaining a 6 foot distance
 Preparing to work at home

The Town of Seekonk continues to review and modify its public safety policies. Response procedures have been modified to limit the number of safety personnel coming into contact with individuals who are reported to be sick. Our priority is to ensure that our first responders remain healthy so that we can maintain the highest level of service to our community. The Town will continue, for as long as possible, to provide all the local services while maintaining the public health.

Given that the senior population continues to be the most vulnerable and most at risk to the COVID-19, the Seekonk Senior Center will be cancelling all town sponsored programs (lunches, exercise, activities, bingo) beginning on Monday, March 16th until the Governor’s State of Emergency has been lifted. The Senior Center and Human Services’ office will remain open and will operate under normal business hours. Seniors are still allowed to visit the center during normal business hours and outreach services will remain available.

The Town has also decided to cancel Animal Control’s annual Rabies Clinic, which was to take place on March 14th from 9am until 12noon. Our Animal Control Officers will be working on rescheduling the event.

On March 12th, the Board of Selectmen voted to authorize the signing of an Emergency Declaration if and when presented by the Emergency Management Task Force. The declaration is an administrative tool that allows municipal governments to access state and federal resources to better serve the community as COVID-19 evolves. “It is important to emphasize that this is an administrative tool that will allow us to more quickly and efficiently utilize and coordinate municipal services, equipment, supplies, and facilities, if and when needed,” said Chairman Andrade.

In addition to the declaration, recommendations and guidance pertaining to town employees and town operations reflect this collaborative input. The Town encourages businesses and community organizations to implement similar measures, as appropriate.

The following are in effect immediately for all town employees:

1. No travel outside of Bristol County, and preferably the Town of Seekonk, for any work-related purposes.
2. Conduct meetings virtually or by conference call. For the time being this does not apply to any boards or commissions. However, limited agendas or postponements are encouraged.
3. In accordance with Governor Bakers executive order dated March 12th, all town board and committee meetings will be closed to the public and will be made available by a live broadcast from TV9. Meetings requiring Public Hearings shall be the only exceptions.
4. Stay home when sick with flu-like or respiratory symptoms.
5. Using sick time will be waived for employees if it is determined by public health officials that the employee has been identified as COVID-19 positive or requires quarantine based upon public health guidelines.
7. Maintain personal hygiene practices and begin social distancing.
8. Town employees are asked to implement more stringent cleaning practices in their workspaces. Supplies will be made available through DPW.
9. Reconsider personal attendance at large scale events.
10. For the next 30 days, the Town of Seekonk will not issue any special event permits.

Organizers of currently approved events should consider postponing or cancelling. The Town will not be allowing gatherings over an occupancy of 250, unless the event has already been approved by the Town prior to this press release.

For further information, please contact Shawn E. Cadime at (508) 336-2910. Urgent and/or updated information related to Seekonk will be posted on the Town of Seekonk website https://www.seekonk-ma.gov/home/news/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19. Emergency related communication will be done through the Town’s reverse 911 program (CodeRed).

Registration for Code Red notifications can be done on the Town’s Website by clicking on the CodeRed icon under https://www.seekonk-ma.gov/public-safety-communications or by going directly to https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/4FC988D792A

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