Tewksbury Officials Answer Your FAQs About COVID-19 And It's Impact On Daily Life
Tewksbury Town Hall.
1. "Why are the schools closed and other businesses are not? How will closing the schools stop the spread of the virus?" The most effective way to stop the spread of a virus for which there is no publicly-available vaccine is to implement Social Distancing. Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease by closing crowded settings such as schools. Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID- 19. A large number of people becoming very sick over the course of a few days could overwhelm a hospital or care facility. Too many people becoming severely ill with COVID-19 at roughly the same time could result in a shortage of hospital beds, equipment or doctors.
2. "What do I do if someone I was with becomes symptomatic, or thinks they may have been exposed to the virus?" It is recommended to stay at home and see if symptoms appear. If they do appear, then contact your Physician and they will provide instructions on what you need to do. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
3. "Someone became ill at a business I own. Should I close?" The answer depends on what type of illness the employee was diagnosed with and what precautions the Physician has recommended.
4. "I may have been exposed to the virus. Should I go to the doctor or ER?" It is recommended to stay at home and see if symptoms appear. If they do appear, then contact your Physician and they will provide instructions on what you need to do. Symptoms include a fever (100.4F or greater), cough, or shortness of breath. If you are advised to go to the ER, please call ahead and let the facility know you are coming. If you need to be transported, please disclose exposure to dispatch.
5. "Many people have concerns about childcare during this time. I'm home with my kids, so please feel free to drop them off here if you need to go to work!" This is not a time for children to socialize. We need to minimize contact with others in order to lessen exposure to virus. Social distancing must be practiced if we want to stop the spread of the virus.
6. "I'm experiencing quite a bit of anxiety with all the news and social media outlets creating hype. What can I do to try and remain calm?" • First and foremost, make sure you are getting information from a reliable source, such as Mass.gov or the CDC.gov. Limit your exposure to media, including social media, which has a lot of misinformation, and skip watching the news right before bedtime. • Practice mindfulness and breathing exercises • Maintain a structure and balance to daily life
7. "Can my pets catch this virus?" To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.
8. Day care centers are not included with the State’s school and business orders to close. Why? “As a day care operator, what do I do?” Governor Baker has ordered the closure of all child care facilities effective Monday, March 23, with exemptions for family of emergency personnel, medical staff and "other critical to fighting the COVID-19 outbreak." He said certain, designated emergency childcare programs will be the only ones permitted to operate during the ongoing state of emergency.
9. "Is this virus airborne? I heard it wasn't, and it dies when it hits the air, or if there's heat" COVID-19 is a new disease, we are still learning about the virus and how it spreads. The virus is thought to spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible to acquire the virus through contact with contaminated surfaces, but that is not the main source of spread. Remember to disinfect frequently touched solid surface objects such as phones, door knobs, light switches, etc. See website link above for EPA approved cleaning products.
10. "Isn't this just like the flu?" Many of the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar. COVID-19 is far more contagious than the influenza virus. Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.
11. "Can I catch it from touching money, or even my mail?" U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts believe that COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person, between people who are within around six feet of each other and through droplets produced by a sick person’s cough or sneeze. People can possibly get the disease by touching an infected object or surface “and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” but experts don’t believe this is the main mode of transmission, the CDC says.
12. “Is there a way to have a blocked off time slot for the elderly at food stores?" Stop and Shop will be offering senior citizen shopping hours starting on Thursday March 18. They will require those that come to the store between the hours of 6am to 7:30am to show an ID for proof of age as these shopping hours are designated for age 60+. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays starting March 19th, customers 60 and over are invited to shop at Market Basket during pre-opening hours from 5:30am – 7:00am.
13. “Are there things that we can do to protect the elderly?” • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand. • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan. • Stock up on non-perishable food to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores. For those elders with pets, don’t forget the pet food! • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
14. “Will there be any drive thru testing sites in Tewksbury or neighboring towns? We are still waiting on up to date information on this. We will keep the residents of Tewksbury informed as soon as we have the information.
15. "What’s the best and most accurate way to stay up to date with COVID-19 news and updates?" Turn to reliable sources of information. These include CDC.gov or Mass.gov and click on the “COVID-19” banner to get the most up-to-date information.
16. “As a visiting nurse, if public places such as Dunkin Donuts need to be closed to public access, where can I safely go to the bathroom when working on the road?" Dine-in facilities are not closed to the public, they are only closed for dining in. Each establishment should have a schedule in place for cleaning restrooms.
17. “What precautions should I take while pumping gas?” If gloves are not available, you can put protect the hand that will push buttons on the pump and operate the gas pump nozzle by inserting that hand into a large plastic bag (such as a large gallon-size Ziplock bag). Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when done pumping.
18. “What are, if any, the unique symptoms associated with this virus?” Most people experience flu-like symptoms with COVID. These symptoms can become life- threatening for those with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes or if you are over the age of 60. COVID-19 is much more contagious than the flu and due to this, it hard to control spread.
19. “What should prompt a person to get tested as opposed to “ride it out” beyond having underlying health issues?” If you feel that you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please consult your primary care provider for guidance. Ref: CDC.gov Mass.gov
20. “I think that my business is exempt, but it is not listed here https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid19-essential-services. What can I do?” You can go to https://www.mass.gov/forms/essential-service-designation-request and complete the online form if the function of your business in NOT listed in the guidance listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions.