Board of Health

Concerns about covid19

Trust the Science. Get information from reputable sources:

Updated daily information :

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Mass Department of Public Health: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

BMC toll free hot line for questions on covid19 7 days a week 7A-7P 1-855-262-5465

Berkshire Health Systems: https://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/body.cfm?id=4261&fr=true

Beware of malicious website : Coronavirus COVID-19 Cases by Johns Hopkins University. Visiting this website infects the computer with an information stealing program which can ex-filtrate a variety of sensitive data.

Most importantly reduce the spread of the virus to reduce strain on the already taxed health care system, hospitals and health care personnel. Best prevention is vigorous hand washing 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water unavailable use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze using a tissue of inner elbow if tissue not available. Clean frequently touched surfaces, a 10% solution of bleach is effective. Stay home if your are sick and avoid close contact with others. Think ahead about how to take care if yourself and your loved ones.

If you develop fever or shortness of breath please follow up urgently with your health care provider or call 911.

Peru Board of Health

Social Distancing while Keeping Connected

Besides actual hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, wiping of surfaces at home and minimizing touching of commonly touched surfaces social distancing is important to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Stay home if you do not need to go out. When you do go out organize your outings. Stay 6 feet from people and avoid physical contact. Get creative with greetings: waving jazz hands, a bow, elbow bump, hand on the heart or good old country wave and nod. COVID-19 is in our county with unknown community transmission. We can only slow the spread, this is the term of flattening the curve. By slowing the rise in positive cases we can hopefully minimize overwhelming the already taxed healthcare facilities, save lives and reduce transmission. If you are young the chance you will have a milder case is greater but you can still spread to an older neighbor, family member or friend and the chance of someone over 80 dying from COVID-19 is greater. 14.8% of those over 80 years old who are infected with COVID-19 will die. Gov Baker has as of 3/15/20 banned all gatherings of 25 or more, no on premises consumption at restaurants and taverns (take our permitted) going in effect as of 3/17/20. This is a rapidly changing situation. Most of us are new to the restrictions and the course of a world wide pandemic.

Safer at Home Advisory: Cover, Wash, Distance, Vigilance
The Baker Administration released a Safer at Home Advisory on May 18th to accompany the Reopening Massachusetts strategy. This advisory includes special information for individuals over the age of 65, and those at high risk for COVID-19. This advisory replaces the stay at home advisory previously issued. For the full advisory, go to the Reopening Massachusetts website
 
 
 
 
Detailed Industry Reopening Plan:
The Industry Reopening Plan provides additional information on businesses and activities summarized in the Reopening Massachusetts report. This plan provides a non-exhaustive list of all possible businesses that can open in each phase and may be updated from time to time.
 
Reopening Plan Template
On May 18th, the Advisory Board released a COVID-19 Control Plan Template for businesses. All businesses in Massachusetts must develop a written control plan outlining how its workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period. Control plans do NOT need to be submitted for approval but must be kept on the premises and made available in the case of an inspection or outbreak. See and download the plan template HERE.
 
High School Graduations
Guidance on High School Graduations was released by the state on Friday May 22. Prior to July 19, only virtual or other extremely limited ceremonies are allowed (e.g., drive by parades). Starting July 19, outside ceremonies will be allowed if guidelines are followed. Guidelines are attached to this memo.
 
Updates to Testing Eligibility for COVID-19
The DPH released new guidance that expands testing recommendations for individuals eligible for COVID-19 testing, especially for individuals who are close contacts of confirmed COVID cases. The DPH recommends that all individuals in Massachusetts identified as a close contact by a Local BOH, the MA DPH, the Community Tracing Collaborative, or a healthcare provider should be tested. A close contact is defined as a person who has been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for at least 10-15 minutes. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting room area or room with a COVID-19 case while the case was symptomatic or within the 48 hours before symptom onset. Close contact can also occur if an individual has direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended PPE. The DPH has also updated the list of COVID-19 testing sites. Information on expanded testing guidelines, as well as the most up-to-date list of COVID-19 testing sites can be found here.
 
 
Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS)
As of May 14, nine cases of a multisystem inflammatory syndrome, similar to Kawasaki Disease and toxic-shock syndrome, have been seen in Massachusetts children previously infected with COVID-19. Some of these children were asymptomatic for COVID, and most had fully recovered prior to the development of PMIS. Association with prior COVID infection was made through antibody testing. Because PMIS is recently identified or suspected to be a public health concern, and in order to reduce morbidity and mortality in the Commonwealth due to PMIS, the Commissioner has declared confirmed and suspect cases of PMIS to be immediately reportable to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Department) pursuant to 105 CMR 300.150. The Commissioner’s Order can be found here. Although PMIS is rare, parents should be aware of the signs of PMIS and seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
 
Masks and Face Coverings Order
Effective May 6, 2020, any person over the age of 2 years, in any place open to the public in Massachusetts, whether indoors or outdoors, and who is not able or does not otherwise maintain a distance of six feet from all others, shall be required to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering. Those who are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition are exempted and are not required to show proof of their medical condition. The order pertains to all customers and workers in businesses and other organizations open to the public, including grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail stores, as well as in taxis, mass transit and other transportation, including in waiting areas or transit stops. Businesses may exclude customers or workers who refuse to follow this order. People are discouraged from wearing medical grade masks as those should be reserved for medical personnel and first responders.  Joint guidance issued by the MA Office of the Attorney General and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association on the order is attached and may be shared with your first responders and other municipal officials.
 
Berkshire County Volunteer Opportunities
The Berkshire United Way (BUW) has implemented an online volunteer reception center, as well as a virtual donation center for monetary donations. Individuals in your communities who are interested in volunteering for the COVID-19 response, but aren’t sure where to start, can be directed to the BUW’s volunteer sign up form, found here: https://www.berkshireunitedway.org/volunteer-advocate.
Berkshire Medical Reserve Corps
If your community or Board is in need of volunteer assistance related to COVID-19, please contact the Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteer Coordinator, Carmela Lanza-Weil at carmela.lanza.weil@gmail.com. You can also fill out and submit the Volunteer Request Form. Volunteers are background checked and trained.
 
 
Emergency Sheltering in Berkshire County
The former St. Joe’s school in Pittsfield has been retrofitted as a shelter for homeless individuals and is now operational. It is being operated by Service Net with medical assistance from Community Health Programs (CHP) and also contains locations suitable for quarantined individuals.
 
Traveler Quarantine
The Federal Government has recommended that all those leaving New York for other locations self-quarantine for 14 days as a precaution. Berkshire municipalities with large numbers of second-home owners should be aware and pay attention to short term rentals and hotels. This guidance is displayed as posters at service plazas along 1-90 eastbound, distributed as flyers at major transportation hubs and on posted on highway message boards. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms. Health care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers are exempt from this requirement.
 
 
COVID-19 Response Command Center
On March 14, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the creation of a new COVID-19 Response Command Center. Secretary Marylou Sudders is leading the cross-secretariat response to the outbreak. The Command Center is the Commonwealth’s single point of strategic decision making and coordination for the Administration’s comprehensive COVID-19 response.
 
COVID-19 Testing in Berkshire County:
The drive-through testing facility at Berkshire Medical Center is currently operational. All testing requires a physician order. Symptomatic individuals may call the BMC hotline at 855-BMC-LINK, OR 855-262-5465. After hotline screening, those qualified will be referred for a telemedicine appointment with a physician, and if appropriate, given an order and a time for testing.
 
Questions from the General Public and Worried-Well
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and United Way 211 call and information service is now operating 24/7 and is answering calls for community members who are not sick but would like to receive information related to COVID-19. Residents across the state can also sign up for the new text notification system including updates, news and prevention information by texting COVIDMA to 888-777. Also encourage your residents to sign up for your municipalities outgoing-911 alert system (such as Code Red, Reverse911, or similar).
 
For those needing emotional support during these stressful times:
o Call 2-1-1 and choose the “CALL2TALK” option.
o Call or text Samaritans 24/7 helpline at 877-870-4673.
o The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including disease outbreaks like COVID-19. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the US and territories.
 
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While we are following social distancing it is important to stay connected. Call friends and family. Listen. Find out if they need anything. Get outside, we are lucky to have such abundant outdoor and natural places to enjoy and keep our distance. Keep busy with creative projects and home projects, reading, singing, reorganizing the closet, board games, stacking the wood pile. We can reduce stress by getting enough sleep, eating well and reaching out to reduce feelings of loneliness. We can still keep ourselves healthy by getting a flu vaccine,still advised, protect from tick bites (they are out now) and generally staying well. Do not forget that others are in need, are still battling addiction, confronting depression daily, and even more now may be struggling financially. It is better that we look back and be proud of  how we behaved. That our actions were for the greater good and we know that we were kind and caring.

Peggy White, Peru Board of Health 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board Members

NameTitleTerm ExpiresEmail
Nanette Mone

Chair

2020

Peggy White

Member

2021

Darryl Darby

Member

2022