WORTHINGTON COVID-19 WORKGROUP MESSAGE #1 (March 12, 2020)

A working group has been created in Worthington to provide a coordinated response to the corona virus pandemic, COVID-19, and to provide a mechanism for communication with residents of the town. The working group is made up of representatives of the Selectboard, Fire and Police Departments, the Worthington School District and School Board, the Board of Health, Worthington Emergency Management, the Council on Aging, the Hilltown Community Health Center and the Maples. We have held our first meeting and will continue to meet weekly.

We are mailing this notice to everyone in town. We are asking everyone with internet access to sign up on the town website for Emergency Notifications via email, phone and text and to receive Town Email News. To subscribe go to: www.worthington-ma.us/ebs. Should you have any difficulty or have questions please email alerts@worthington-ma.us or call Charley Rose at 238-5811. If you want paper copies, they will be available at the Town Offices, the Library, the Post Office, the Maples, the Church, and the School. The School District will also communicate directly with its staff and parents.

For any general questions about the virus or quarantine please call the Board of Health phone line: (413) 238-5577 x 106 or email boardofhealth@worthington-ma.us. For specific questions about your own health, call your PCP.

The following is general information about COVID-19 prevention and treatment. It is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with your primary health provider or for checking out more detailed resources such as those provided by the CDC www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/index.html

COVID-19 PREVENTION AND TREATMENT INFORMATION

  • WASH YOUR HANDS. COVID-19 virus can be killed by soap and water, by alcohol solutions (over 60% alcohol), and by a wide range of disinfectants (read the label for the amount of contact time needed before washing or wiping off).

(2)   COVER YOUR COUGH

  • The COVID-19 virus is spread through droplets, i.e. a cough or sneeze, and it can linger on surfaces.
    • Avoid touching your face (lips, noses, eyes) in general, but especially with dirty hands. Most everything you touch throughout the day is covered in germs.
    • Practice social distancing, try to keep 6 feet away from the person next to you, avoid congregate settings and mass gatherings
    • A surgical face mask will not protect YOU from typical exposures; however, if you have symptoms you should wear one when you go outside or have contact with others to help protect THEM. They DO protect health workers who work with a lot of different people. They are in short supply. PLEASE do not take them from doctor’s offices or hospitals unless offered.
  • SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS of COVID-19 infection:
    • sudden fever (it comes on quickly)
    • dry high cough
    • shortness of breath
    • a runny nose or eyes or feeling sick without fever are NOT symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Diarrhea and headache are also non-typical, but, if combined with high sudden fever and a cough signal possible COVID-19 infection.
  • CALL YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER (PCP). According to CDC guidance, mildly ill patients should stay home and contact their PCP by phone for clinical guidance.

Patients who have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. In Massachusetts, you will NOT be responsible for co-pays/deductibles/co-insurance for PCP visits associated with diagnosing or treating this virus. DO NOT LET CONCERNS ABOUT COSTS or CO-PAYS keep you from seeking treatment.

  • PROTECT OTHERS IF YOU ARE SICK: If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are mildly ill, you should typically remain at home. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild (88% worldwide are mild and 94% have recovered) and last from 10-14 days. People who are mildly ill ://covid-19.worthington-ma.us typically isolate at home. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Wear a face mask when interacting with others. Wash hands and utensils frequently; disinfect surfaces, if possible use a separate bathroom from other household members and keep your home well-ventilated. It is recommended that you also avoid contact with pets, if possible. Follow your PCP’s directions. It will likely take several tests to determine if you are free from the virus. Please let the Board of Health know (413) 238-5577 x106 or email boardofhealth@worthington-ma.us. Your specific information will remain confidential and you can be helped with food or support needs.
  • IF YOU KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED OR THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED, the incubation period for COVID-19 is between 2-14 days. Take your temperature regularly and practice frequent handwashing and other preventive measures. Self-isolation or quarantine is highly recommended as asymptomatic people can spread the virus. The Mass DPH has just issued guidelines for people in quarantine or isolation that are available if you need them.
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND OTHERS. The goal is to provide care for those exposed or sick and prevent the virus from spreading to an unmanageable degree. While avoiding large groups and face-to-face contact, you should stay in touch with friends and neighbors by phone or through the Internet; identify vulnerable neighbors who might need special support. Plan ahead for your needs for food, pet food, and medications (and anything else you need short-term). Be as kind and thoughtful of others as possible.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Given the rapid progression of the epidemic, information and best practices are changing rapidly. The best place for information is the Centers for Disease Control, and a fuller list of online resources has been posted to the Town Website:  http://covid-19.worthington-ma.us and will be updated regularly. If you do not have internet access, please call Peg O’Neal at 413- 238-5577 ext. 100 if you need a paper copy of any materials, and the Workgroup will ensure that you receive what you need.

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