Community Notice: COVID-19 Updates & Precautions March 17 update

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Town Officials and Emergency Management personnel continue to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health emergency. Hopkinton’s Health Department is actively monitoring 24 residents, 3 are confirmed COVID-19 cases and 21 are under direct supervision with the Department. We continue to implement mitigation strategies to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community. Currently, in Hopkinton we do not have any unlinked cases either related to travel or close contact with a known case of COVID-19. Our mitigation strategy is focused on protecting the most vulnerable population, preserving the public safety and health care workforce and to minimize the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Individuals, businesses and the community are all part of this mitigation strategy.

At this time, all town buildings are closed to the public. Essential public safety services provided by the Department of Public Works, Hopkinton Police Department and Hopkinton Fire Department will continue.
Click here for more information from Hopkinton Police Department (Hopkinton Police COVID 19 Press Release)
Click here for more information from Hopkinton Fire Department (Hopkinton Fire COVID 19 Press Release)

Hopkinton continues to implement Governor Charlie Baker’s orders for all Massachusetts communities to slow the spread of Coronavirus. These include:
● Restricting all gatherings to 25 people or fewer (this includes civic, public, leisure, faith based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, and venues like fitness centers, private clubs, and theatres) from now until April 7.

● Temporarily eliminating all on-premises dining at bars, restaurants, cafes and other eating establishments until April 6 and allowing take-out options ONLY (grocery stores are exempt from this order to allow people to purchase food and supplies).

● Closing all public and private schools until Tuesday, April 6. Complete information is available on the Mass.gov website and will be updated as the situation evolves.

Municipal Buildings Closed: Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, all town buildings joined the existing list of municipal buildings closed to the public. Individuals needing assistance or services may email or call Town departments. Staff will respond as soon as possible during normal business hours. Residents and other interested parties can pay bills, apply for permits and licenses and access other information and services at the Town website: www.hopkintonma.gov. Payments by check will still be accepted by mail or through the drop box located at either front or rear entrance to Town Hall. Cash is not accepted.

Hopkinton Town Hall: 508-497-9700 Click here for a full list of departments and phone numbers

Public Meetings: Boards and committees that do not have applications which are subject to regulatory or statutory time limitations should not meet. Boards and committees that have time sensitive regulatory or statutory requirements where applicants are unwilling or unable to grant the necessary extensions will be able to meet to conduct necessary business, subject to compliance with the Open Meeting Law requirements, as revised, in consultation with staff. With respect to boards and committees working on Annual Town Meeting business, updates will be available soon relative to the process and plans for Annual Town Meeting.

Parks, Playgrounds and Playing Fields ARE CLOSED: All Town open space areas are closed for activities until further notice. Residents are asked to exercise, walk dogs and enjoy other activities individually and not congregate. Fields and parks should not be used for pickup games of any kind. Hopkinton’s trail system and State Parks remain open, but when encountering others, please respect social distancing guidelines (6 feet).
Inspection Services (Building, Plumbing and Wiring):

● Ensuring the health and safety or our employees and the public is of utmost importance. We will continue to provide inspectional services, and have implemented additional measures that will allow employees to safely continue providing services to you. In keeping with public health guidelines, we are taking precautionary measures to limit exposures.

● When you call for an inspection and then again before entering a home, we will ask a series of questions about recent travel, exposure to anyone who has traveled, or exposure to the virus for anyone in a home, and whether occupants of the building are sick. If you are quarantined or sick, please refrain from calling to schedule an inspection unless it is an emergency. We will work with you to determine the best course of action regarding your inspection.

● Subject to the above, Building Inspections will be performed between 9am-12pm Monday thru Thursday morning, and afternoons from 1pm-3pm Monday thru Thursday and 8am-10am on Friday. Wiring Inspections are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4pm-6pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30am-9am. Gas and Plumbing inspections are Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am-12pm

Assessor, Non-Emergency Water & Sewer Inspections, Fire Dept. Inspections: Interior home inspection services (Assessor, Non-emergency water and sewer) will be suspended as we continue to evaluate this situation until further notice, the Hopkinton Fire Department will continue to provide smoke detector inspections related to home sales, pending approval from the Fire Inspector.

Feeding the Hopkinton Community: Click here for a message from Dr. Carol Cavanaugh, Superintendent of Hopkinton Public Schools

Youth and Family Services: Youth and Family Service staff are available for questions, concerns, information & referral, and assistance. Please call 508-497-9781 or email us [email protected] and [email protected]. INTERFACE Helpline remains open for any resident at 1-888-244-6843 (from 9am-5pm, M-F) for assistance in finding an outpatient mental health provider. If you are experiencing a behavioral health emergency, please contact Advocates Crisis at 1-800-640-5432 or dial 911. We are regularly posting articles about mental health and coping during the crisis to our facebook page: Hopkinton Youth & Family Services - Home

Hopkinton Senior Center: While the Senior Center is closed, the Senior Center staff are still available if you have questions, concerns or need assistance. Please contact us at 508-497-9730. Please check out our website (https://www.hopkintonma.gov/departments/senior_center.php) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Hopkinton-Senior-Center-533752023452626) for more information.

Hopkinton Public Library: Library staff are available by phone (508-497-9777, extension 4) and e-mail ([email protected]) from 10 am to 5 pm (10 am to 4 pm Saturday). If your library card has expired, please contact us - we can update it over the phone! We are also extending due dates on items and providing extra renewals. We are accepting returns in the outside book drop but you are welcome to keep library materials for as long as we remain closed. Please DO NOT return anything to the library if you, or someone in your household, is sick! You can access ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers, databases and more through the library from home; visit www.hopkintonlibrary.org/ebooks.asp and www.hopkintonlibrary.org/resources.asp. We are actively brainstorming additional services that we can provide while the building is closed. For more information, contact us or visit our website (www.hopkintonlibrary.org) or social media (www.facebook.com/hopkintonlibrary, www.twitter.com/HopkintonPLMA).

Hopkinton Department of Public Works: The DPW facility is closed to the public until further notice. Please call the following numbers with questions or concerns before coming to the DPW facility:
● Highway and Administration 508-497-9740
● Water and Sewer 508-497-9765 Please note that Water and Sewer Departments will only be responding to true emergency calls at homes and business. You may find more information, including permit applications, at our website: https://www.hopkintonma.gov/departments/department_of_public_work

Emergency Communications: We appreciate your patience as we continue to monitor the situation. During this time, we recommend taking a few moments to review your notification options for Hopkinton Code Red, the Town’s official emergency notification system. Please visit Hopkinton Code Red to set up or sign in to your account and set your preferences for notifications. Code Red is only used for urgent imminent emergencies. We do not use this platform for regularly scheduled updates and messaging. For that, your best resources are:
www.hopkintonma.gov/covid-19
https://twitter.com/HopkintonMA
https://www.facebook.com/hopkintonma.gov/
***Additional information about Covid-19***

Mass 211
State health officials announce launch of 2-1-1 to provide COVID-19 information and referrals 24/7. Residents can call 2-1-1 to learn more about:
● COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and treatment
● Information about testing
● Guidance for people planning or returning from travel
Community Mitigation Strategies for Hopkinton

As a community, you should continue to monitor the Hopkinton COVID-19 website for the most recent updates that are specific to the Town of Hopkinton. Minimally, you should know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if you become symptomatic. You should practice and encourage others to participate in social distancing, cover coughs and sneezes effectively and frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer when water and soap are not available. You should create a household action plan for your family and review emergency operation plans for schools or the workplace.

Everyone has the responsibility to implement these guidelines in their home, school or work in order for this strategy to work. We will continue to provide essential services in order to minimize disruptions to critical infrastructure and protect individuals that are at risk for severe complications related to COVID-19.

Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
If residents are experiencing these symptoms, they should call their Primary Care Physician or the Hospital Emergency Department prior to arrival. The Hopkinton Health Department is available during regular business hours for further information.
● Fever or subjective fever of 100.4 or above*
● Shortness of breath*
● Cough*
● Runny nose
● Sore or irritated throat
● Chills
● Muscle aches
● Nausea or vomiting
● Headache
● Abdominal pain
● Diarrhea (more than 3 loose or watery stools)

*If these symptoms are severe you should make sure that you communicate this with First Responders, Nurses, Physicians and anyone that you may come into contact with to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19.

How Covid-19 spreads
● The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
● The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
○ Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
○ Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
● These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself
● Clean your hands often

○ Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

○ If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

○ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
● Stay home if are sick
○ Know your employer’s emergency operation plan.
○ Communicate with your supervisor if you are feeling ill.
○ Continue to practice personal protective measures to reduce the transmission of illness to family, friends and coworkers.
○ Consult with your physician.
○ Travel outside of the home should be reserved to obtain medical care only.
● Cover coughs and sneezes
○ Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
○ Throw used tissues in the trash.
○ Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

● Clean and disinfect
○ Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

○ If surfaces are visibly soiled, clean them first: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
○ Disinfect the surfaces with an EPA approved disinfectant.