Cases: 11 (+3 from March 26); 4 released from isolation
Deaths: 1 (+1 from March 26)
Today we learned of the first COVID-19 related death in the city of North Adams. We also learned of a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Berkshire County, with many of these clustered at the Williamstown Commons nursing home.
I want to begin by offering my sympathy to the family and friends of our fellow North Adams resident at this time of loss, sadness, and concern. I offer these words that will be familiar to those who share my Catholic faith, but which I hope will resonate with everyone today: May perpetual light shine on them, and may it shine on all of us, especially now as this loss has reached our community and the path ahead of us may feel unclear.
The situation at Williamstown Commons also is a reminder and a wake up call that we are not immune to the risk and the threat of COVID-19. I offer my support, gratitude and admiration to the dedicated staff at the Commons.
I also offer my sympathy and concern for those who are suffering with the novel Coronavirus, and to the loved ones of people in our nursing homes and extended care facilities who cannot be there when friends and relatives may need them the most.
This situation makes us realize that the virus moves faster than our testing capacity, our data reporting, the capacity of our healthcare system, and our response plans. That means there’s a lot we don’t know.
I want to tell you a few things we do know right now.
This will get worse before it gets better.
As our testing capacity and data reporting ability improves the number of cases will increase. The governor has been saying this for the past week, and now we know for sure that it is true for our northern Berkshire community.
We will continue to learn just how close to home COVID-19 can and will hit. We will experience more loss, and with it more concern, fear, and uncertainty.
We will remain isolated from family, friends, and loved ones at a time when they need us most.
Vulnerable members of our community will struggle with increased feelings of isolation or anxiety, and concerns about their well-being.
Our students will remain cut off from their classrooms, and our professional educators from their calling to guide students as they learn and explore their vast potential.
We will struggle, like every other community, for the equipment and materials we need to treat those in need, and we will advocate tirelessly to protect those on the front lines of our healthcare system.
That’s hard news, but it’s the reality we all must face. And there is hopeful news as well.
I also know we have an experienced, dedicated, adaptable team working with us in North Adams and in the Northern Berkshire Operations Center.
We acted quickly to set up a regional response team, and we truly have a model operation in place among our eight northern Berkshire communities.
This command structure and collaborative approach is one of the things that’s going to help us respond as the novel Coronavirus hits harder, strikes deeper, and challenges all of us more.
And the community outreach team built into our operations center is helping to keep people connected, to understand needs, and to provide support.
It’s easy to feel helpless with so much changing so rapidly and so much uncertainty and so many concerns throughout our community. And when we feel helpless we have a natural tendency to want to act. I understand that, and I’m grateful for it.
Our ability and tradition of working together and supporting one another truly is one of the strengths of North Adams and the Northern Berkshires, and it will sustain us during this current crisis.
So what can each of us do?
First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough, continue to practice social distancing. In fact step up the practice of social distancing to a new level.
It’s a sacrifice, but it is for a greater good: the health and safety of your loved ones, and mine.
If you don’t need to be out don’t go out.
And, specifically, stay away from city parks and playgrounds. Public gatherings of more than 10 people in unenclosed outdoor spaces are not recommended and are only allowed if individuals practice social distancing.
Athletic activities involving close physical contact are prohibited. Playground equipment, basketball courts, and the skate park are closed and should not be used until further notice.
Now is not the time to look for a loophole or exception to this policy, or to challenge authorities working to enforce it.
Experience in other parts of the world has already demonstrated that effective social distancing helps to combat the spread of COVID-19.
I implore everyone to play their part in preventing the spread of this virus. Doing so will protect our healthcare system, our frontline responders, and our neighbors, friends, and family members.
It’s hard, I know, but this is for everyone’s safety, and for our community.
At the same time, please look out for your friends, neighbors and family members. Maintaining healthy connections and well-being is even more important now as we practice physical distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Restrict your travel to essential activities. If you are traveling or visiting Massachusetts and the northern Berkshires, follow the governor’s advice and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
I encourage people to take time each day to reach out to friends, family, and neighbors to let people know that they are seen and that people care. If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of isolation or anxiety, or if you have concerns for their well-being, please reach out for help.
The Northern Berkshire Operations Center has liaisons available to connect people with resources and service providers throughout the community. Call 413-662-3614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Thank you to everyone for doing your part to ensure friends and family neighbors feel connected and safe.
Do what you can to support local businesses, especially those that are engaged in essential operations under the governor’s order. In particular, if you are able, please support local bars and restaurants that are providing takeout and delivery service. The economic impact of COVID-19 will be as severe and will cut as deeply as the medical and health care concerns, and we want to do everything we can to help our local businesses remain strong, and recover when the crisis has passed.
Again, today is a day of shared loss for our community. We have to prepare for greater losses, and deeper sorrow that will challenge our resolve, strain our empathy, and tax our resources.
Our job as individuals and community members is to stay strong and resilient, and to lend our strength to others where and when we can.
Each of us must accept our responsibility of shared sacrifice to protect our healthcare system, our healthcare workforce, our first responders, and our community by continuing to do everything we can to flatten the curve of the COVID-19.
Mayor Tom Bernard
NEW STATE TRAVEL GUIDANCE
Beginning March 27, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. This guidance will be 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.
NEW TELEHEALTH TOOL AVAILABLE TO MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS
The Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of Buoy Health’s new online resource for residents to check their symptoms and connect with the next appropriate health care resource. This tool does not replace emergency medical care, but it may be used as a support for residents during the COVID-19 outbreak to connect them with appropriate health care resources if they display coronavirus symptoms.
Buoy Health’s online 24/7 tool is free for Massachusetts residents and uses current COVID-19 guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo today announced an agreement to extend the 2019 state individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15 due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This income tax relief is automatic and taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms to qualify.
Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink
City parks and playgrounds are open for "passive recreation" only; basketball courts and playground equipment are CLOSED.
LOCAL BUSINESSES AND SERVICES
Businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to COVID-19 that shall continue to operate brick and mortar facilities during this two-week time period. This list is based on federal guidance and amended to reflect the needs of Massachusetts’ unique economy. While these businesses are designated as essential, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health.
Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order.
Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that sell food and beverage products to the public are encouraged to continue to offer food for take-out and by delivery if they follow the social distancing protocols set forth in Department of Public Health guidance continue operations. On-premises consumption of food or drink is prohibited.
Most branch lobbies closed; drive up, ATM, and online banking available. Check with your financial institution for details.
Bars and Restaurants
Closed except for take out and delivery where offered.
Open; offering reserved service hours for customers 60+ daily at Big Y (7:00 - 8:00 a.m.) and Stop & Shop (6:00 - 7:30 a.m.); Walmart (6:00 - 7:00 a.m. Tuesdays).
Personal Care Services
Closed; includes hairdressers and barbers, nail salons, massage services, bodywork services, and body art (tattoo and piercing) businesses which cannot be conducted while ensuring 6 feet of social distancing. Does not apply to licensed health care providers such as, but not limited to, the practice of medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and mental health care providers.
Other retail and services
Essential Services only; contact business for information
SERVICES AND SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS, BUSINESSES, AND ORGANIZATIONS
About COVID-19 Current information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Source: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH)
COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Symptoms of this infection may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include:
Cough and shortness of breath, and
In severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).
Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. See DPH's travel information related to COVID-19.
You can also 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
Guidance for preventing the spread of germs and infectious diseases
Guidance for social distancing
NEW! COVID-19 Resource Guides
CITY OF NORTH ADAMS CONTACTS
CODE RED NOTIFICATIONS
City Hall: (413) 662-3000
North Adams Police Department: (413) 664-4944
North Adams Fire Department: (413) 664-4922
Public Services: (413) 662-3047
North Adams Public Schools: (413) 776-1458