Local updates amid virus spike

Oct 16, 2020 by

Published in the October 16, 2020 edition.

There have been a few developments since Wakefield jumped up two COVID-19 virus designations Wednesday, settling in the higher risk “red” category.

Town officials issued a statement yesterday, which reads in part that the “significant increase of positive cases in Wakefield was due, in large part, to a cluster of cases at one location. Without this cluster, Wakefield would have changed from ‘green’ to ‘yellow’ due to community cases. Contract tracing has been performed and all individuals are taking measures to quarantine.

“At Wakefield’s Board of Health meeting on Wednesday night, the Board discussed the designation change. Because the cluster is considered contained, no adjustments are recommended to the Town’s policies or regulations. This includes Wakefield Public Schools and Town services.

“Community-spread cases, however, continue to occur in Wakefield each week. It is crucial that we take measures to slow the spread of the virus, especially since individuals can have the Coronavirus yet be asymptomatic. The CDC’s best practices are to:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;

• Avoid close contact; maintain six feet of distance between you and others;

• Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others;

• Cover coughs and sneezes;

• Clean and disinfect;

• Monitor your health daily.

Learn more about COVID-19:

• Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

• Stop the Spread testing centers: www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread

• Massachusetts COVID-19 updates: www.mass.gov/covid

• If you have any questions or concerns about Wakefield’s response to COVID-19, feel free to contact our Health Department at 781-246-6375.

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There has been a positive COVID-19 test at Wakefield Memorial High.

This is from Supt. of Schools Doug Lyons:

“Dear Parents and Guardians,

“I am writing to inform you that a student at Wakefield Memorial High School has tested positive for COVID-19. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe. We have planned for this scenario during our reopening planning process. We have a comprehensive plan in place to collaborate with the Wakefield Board of Health to inform families whose children were in close contact or at risk of exposure. The Board of Health, our Team of Nurses, and our Administrative Team will support the affected family as they navigate this stressful experience.

“Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask-wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These safety measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission and keep people safe.

“As I am sure you know, we cannot provide specific information about our school community member who tested positive. Parents of students who were in close contact with the community member have been notified privately. If your child was a close contact of the affected school member (close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes), a member of our nursing staff or a member of the Board of Health would have contacted you directly.

“All close contacts should be tested and must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive, regardless of test result. We are also following all Department of Public Health protocols, including collaborating with our local Board of Health to complete contact tracing. Additionally, we are asking those parents whose students are tested for COVID-19 to please report the results to the school nurse. We are working hard to understand the impact of the virus on our school community and this information is a critical piece of that puzzle.

“We are asking all parents to please continue to monitor your children, and if they are not feeling well or are symptomatic that you keep your child home. If you have questions, we encourage you to contact your primary care physician or our school nurses for guidance.

“To further prevent transmission of the virus to other staff and students, we will continue to sanitize the school. We will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue teaching and learning. Our students in quarantine will be provided with guidance and support from their current teachers and counselors regarding remote learning expectations. Teachers will continue to provide instruction, structure, and an emotional connection to the classroom during a time that we know will be challenging for those students and families involved.

“For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-.

“You can also find a map of testing sites at https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13. Please contact us immediately should you or someone in your home begin to show symptoms.

“We are committed to timely communication to support all of our families. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me, Doug Lyons at doug.lyons@wpsk12.org or Kara Mauro at kara.mauro@wpsk12.org.

“If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately.

“Thank you for your continued support.”

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And if you plan to attend Mass at St. Joseph Church, you must have your temperature taken.

The parish issued the following:

“On October 14, 2020, the town of Wakefield was designated as a higher risk red community. As a result of the red designation, we are required by the Health Department to do the following:

• Take the temperature of everyone coming to Mass

• Obtain contact information from each person for contact tracing

“Everyone must have their temperature taken. We cannot admit anyone with a temperature of greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit.”

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