Natick Board of Health Update on Coronavirus

Natick Board of Health Update on Coronavirus
Posted on 02/28/2020
With the CDC's updated recommendations, the Board of Health, NPS Director of Nursing, and Town partners are connecting daily to discuss any updates to our existing sickness protocols, to monitor documented cases of the flu (and other viruses should they arise), and monitor school attendance.
As you may recall, many years ago we all dealt with the H1N1 and Noro viruses in a similar situation (and all town partners still work in their respective departments so have experience in the work) and the protocols are ready at hand. We will review them vis-a-vis any new recommendations and I will be updating parents via my email blast on Friday. Please know we are in constant conversation with the state DPH and following recommendations from both MDPH and the CDC and will continue. 
All local health departments in the region, including Natick, continue to monitor the situation and take part in weekly conference calls. The state and local health departments have the legal authority to quarantine, if and when necessary. The schools were disinfected with our cleaning guns and old fashioned hand-cleaning disinfection over the break.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has shared guidance for school administrators and school health personnel regarding the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19. As of this writing, Massachusetts has one confirmed case of COVID-19 and the risk to our residents remains low. In the US, there are only 53 cases confirmed. Only one of these cases was confirmed to be passed through human contact (husband to wife). At the same time, the risk for the influenza virus is very high. It is important to note that residents are much more likely to become sick with a cold or the flu than to be exposed to COVID-19. The guidance letter sent to all schools is available at the DPH website at: www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.
We encourage you view this useful fact sheet in many languages to assist you in learning about the virus:  https://www.mass.gov/guides/information-on-the-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19#-printable-fact-sheets-.
Trends with the coronavirus currently indicate that the primary group hit hardest by the virus are males 50+ with existing chronic conditions. The flu has hit school-aged youth hardest in our local area (18 and under).
Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other
We share this resource on hand-washing with you — The Importance of Hand-washing Video from NPS Nurses (many thanks to Betsy Steinberg, Erin Sivak, Lisa Graves, and Beth Fritsche) — and remind everyone that you should wash your hands regularly for the length of time that it takes to sing the alphabet twice! Cover your mouth if you cough and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose with your hands.
Families, please keep your sick children out of school—students should be fever free for 24 hours prior to coming back to school. We will help all students make up missed work and instruction.
For up-to-date information regarding the 2019 novel Coronavirus, please visit the DPH COVID-19 web site at www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.
More detailed information and additional guidance is available from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
For questions about the coronavirus guidance, contact the DPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at (617) 983-6800.
Dr. Anna Nolin, Ed.D. Superintendent
Nicole Marcinkiewicz MS RN
PreK-12 Director of Nursing
James M. White, Jr RS/REHS
Director of Public Health
Leila Mercer, MSN RN
Public Health Nurse
Contact the Natick Board of Health by phone: 508-647-6460
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