Coronavirus Update

The Public Health Nurse is continuing to monitor the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) within the community, if you have a question concerning this matter please reach out to Christine West at cwest@town.billerica.ma.us or telephone at 978-671-0932.  If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 please contact your primary care physician or visit an urgent care facility to get medical help.

4/1

Billerica

  • New Cases - 4
  • Active Cases - 22
  • Total Cases - 38

County

  • New Cases - 242
  • Total Cases 1582

State

  • New Cases 1118
  • Total Cases 7738

Percentage of Active and Total Cases by Population (4)

Percentage of The Population - Positive Billerica Cases Compared to State and County (4)

3/31

The Town read all the comments yesterday from the residents. We have returned back to the original format. Please see the FB Video below from the Town Manager explaining the graphs. 

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Percentage of Active and Total Cases by Population (3)

3/30

The Town will be reporting COVID-19 cases differently from this point forward. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is discouraging municipalities from reporting the number of cases. However, the Town believes there is value in providing as much information as possible to the residents of the Town. Therefore the cases will now be reported as a percentage of the population of the Town of Billerica. This will be compared to percentages of the populations of Middlesex County and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This will give residents an idea of how the COVID-19 virus progresses in the Town as compared to the county and the state. As you can see from the data presented the Town is on par with the county and doing a little better than the Commonwealth overall. It should be noted that the difference between the Commonwealth and the Town is not statistically significant. The takeaway from this data is that you can see the virus is still increasing but the breakout of the virus in the Town of Billerica is similar to both Middlesex County and the Commonwealth as a whole.

The Town will also present another graph of positive COVID-19 cases as a percentage of the population of the Town as compared to cases no longer under quarantine (recovered cases). It has been and continues to be the policy of the Town to provide residents with information to help them understand what is happening in their community. You can be assured that the Town is prepared to handle the progression of this pandemic and asks that all residents do their part by maintaining social distancing and abide by all Executive Orders of the Governor, the Billerica Board of Selectmen and Board of Health.

Percentage of Active and Total Cases by Population (1)

Percentage of The Population - Positive Billerica Cases Compared to State and County (1)

3/29

The Town was informed of four additional  COVID-19 cases this Sunday (25 cases in total, 15 active cases). Also, please don’t forget that the Town is still running at full operations. If you need help or have questions do not hesitate to reach out! Please take a look at the link below to find out how we have altered services during the pandemic. 

https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/874/Updated-Town-Hall-Operations

3/28

The Town was notified of three additional COVID-19 cases. Please continue to practice social distancing, washing of your hands, and #stayhome as much as possible! 

3/27

The Town was notified of 3 more positive cases and also 3 individuals who are no longer required to be on quarantine. For guidance documents on these issues please refer to - https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/870/CDC-Mass-DPH-Guidance-Documents

Also, all fields and playgrounds will continue to be closed at least until May 4th. This will delay the start of youth sports and many Recreation Department Programs. The Town will keep you updated as the situation evolves. 

Trash Update! 

Due to increased concerns for worker safety because of the COVID-19 virus, we ask that residents place all household trash in bags before setting them at the curb in the blue cart for collection. Please ensure that all bags are properly sealed to prevent contents from spilling.

*REMINDER: latex gloves and wipes go in the trash – NOT in your recycling container.

As always, please remember that Recyclables should never be placed into plastic bags.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Our drivers appreciate it!


3/26

Today, Billerica had one more positive report, bringing the total number of cases to 15. The Town will now start tracking recovered cases. Currently 7 of these cases have met the criteria to discontinue isolation which brings the active cases to 8.  

Spread of Covid-19 in Billerica since 1st Confirmed Case


3/25

Today the Town learned of five new Covid-19 cases. The total number of cases in Town is now 14. 

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The Town has seen an increase in opioid overdoses in the past 2 weeks. There have been six overdoses – two that were fatal. This represents a 100% increase over March 2019.  Social distancing and orders to stay at home can be particularly difficult for those that struggle with opioid addictions. The Town is asking that family and friends to be more aware that their loved ones that struggle with addiction are under additional strains during these extraordinary times. They may be more at risk for depression, anxiety and temptations of idle time. Please feel free to reach out to the Town’s Substance abuse director if you need assistance. He can be reached at (978) 671-0943 or Mhiggins@town.billerica.ma.us. There is also additional assistance posted at the Billerica Substance Abuse Program (BSAP) page at https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/426/Substance-Abuse-Prevention-Committee.

3/24

The Town cases of COVID-19 has increased from 5 cases to 9 cases since March 22nd. These new cases are all a result of “Community Spread” – in other words there is no known origin of these cases. This is important because this indicates that COVID-19 is present throughout the Town of Billerica and that it has increased by 80% in two days. It is concluded based on CDC and Massachusetts DPH protocols that COVID-19 is significantly present throughout the community of Billerica. It is further presumed that there are a significant number of undiagnosed cases in the Town of Billerica. Therefore, it is eminently important that all residents heed the call to stay in your homes unless you are essential personnel. You need to maintain social distancing practices (keep six feet between individuals) and clean hands and commonly touched surfaces frequently. If you develop symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell please consult a doctor or visit an urgent care.

There have been many inquiries about whether any First Responders have tested positive. As has been reported, one of the Billerica cases was a First Responder. Some residents are concerned about exposure from first responders that answer a call at their home. Residents can be assured that the Town is implementing extensive measures to ensure that all first responders on duty are healthy. They are screened on each shift and must take precautions to wear personal protective gear in accordance with protocols. Any first responder that exhibits symptoms or has close contact with an individual with the COVID-19 virus is quarantined for 14 days and tested if they exhibit symptoms. Police vehicles are cleaned at the end of each shift and Fire Stations are also wiped down at the end of each shift and treated with an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer. Fire Department Overtime is restricted by Fire Station to prevent possible cross contamination. Police roll call is done remotely. The Town is taking every precaution to protect the health and ensure the safety of all of our Public Safety Employees as well as the public. Please be assured that all Public Safety departments are running at full shifts and all are healthy.

3/23

As many of you may have heard the Governor has put in place an emergency order. All non-essential business will be required to close Tuesday by noon.

Please see the below information from Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

Earlier today the Governor issued an emergency order requiring all business and organizations that do not provide essential services to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public for two weeks starting tomorrow.

DPH also issued a stay-at-home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols.

Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities.

To see the full list of essential personnel check the link below:

https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-essential-services/download

3/22

The Town of Billerica now has five confirmed cases of Covid-19. The fifth case was a Billerica first responder who responded to an earlier confirmed case. 

3/20

Updated Town Hall Operations Guide

A fourth confirmed case of Covid - 19 has been discovered in the community. The Town will no longer be reporting the cases in live time. We will begin updating the Town of any new cases after 3PM unless an emergency notification must be made. 

The Town will be closing:

Hair Salons, Massage Therapy Establishments, Spas, Barbers, Tattoo Parlors, Piercing Shops, Nail Salons, Places of Worship, Social Clubs, and Fitness Centers.

Please do not flush anything down the drain besides toilet paper!

Billerica Community Pantry will be open on March 30th from 2pm to 5pm. For everyone’s protection it will be a ’drive-through’ model. Bags of food to be given to recipients that day. Everyone will get the same type and amount of food. No patrons will be allowed in the building and will not leave their vehicles.

So sufficient food is ordered, recipients must RSVP with their name and household size if they are planning to come on the 30th. Call (978) 663-8433 and leave a message. Please note that RSVPs must be received no later than Sunday evening March 22nd to receive food on March 30th.


3/19

Two COVID - 19 Updates:

1. A third confirmed case of Covid - 19 has been discovered in the community. It is now evident that community spread exist in the Town of Billerica.  Please wash your hands, stay home as much as possible, and be safe.

2. The Annual Town Election has been moved to June 6, 2020. Town Meeting has been moved to June 16, 2020.

3/18

3. The Town declared an emergency deceleration

Due to the Covid - 19 outbreak the Town is preparing for some changes to the Annual Town Election and Spring Town Meeting. If you would like to follow along please do so at the link below https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/866/Online-Public-Hearing 

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3/17

The Town was informed this afternoon of the first two positive cases of COVID-19 in Billerica.  These cases are a husband and wife living in the community.  Upon this notification, the Billerica Board of Health followed protocols established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  

These protocols included an investigation into those people identified as "close contacts" of the individuals who tested positive.  Anyone identified as a "close contact" has already been notified by the Billerica Board of Health, and has been requested to self-quarantine for a period of fourteen days.  Unless you have been contacted by the Billerica Board of Health, it is not likely that you have had exposure to these individuals.  


The Town continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within the community and will take appropriate actions as directed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to mitigate the spread of the virus.  The Town is also advising residents to do your part and follow the CDC guidelines by staying home if you are sick, continue practicing social distancing (staying 6 feet away from others when possible), and check in on others that may need assistance during this time. 


Engage with your friend online and do your part to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.


3/16

The Covid-19 situation continues to evolve throughout the country and in Massachusetts. All buildings operated by the Town of Billerica as of March 17, 2020 will be closed to the public. Staff will still be available by phone and email during normal business hours.

Most operations are already offered online and over the phone. Other functions that are not yet obtainable online are being explored and should be accessible in the next few days.

The Town is also exploring drop box and curbside pick-up options.  The Town will continue to work with the public to provide as many services as possible during the current pandemic.  Please be assured that your local government is making every effort to keep you safe.


3/15

As the COVID – 19 outbreak continues to worsen throughout the country, Billerica still has no presumptive cases. Town Hall will remain open, but we would like residents to practice social distancing. If possible please conduct business online (https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/)  or over the phone before deciding to come to Town Hall. Please refer to the list below of phone numbers and ways to conduct business online. If you have a random question as always please call the Town Managers Office at (978) 671 – 0942. Or email Clancy Main at cmain@town.billerica.ma.us  or please

DPW (Water, Sewer, Trash, Engineering, Highway) – (978) 671 – 1313

Potholes, trash, and other items regarding DPW please email – Bgrant@town.billerica.ma.us

Permitting Documents – Can be found online here - https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/839/Permit-Documents

Please fill them out and scan them back to their respective departments.

Building / Conservation / ZBA  – If you have questions regarding Building, Electrical, Plumbing, Conservation, or ZBA  please contact Olivia Canario at (978) 671 -0964 or by email at Ocanario@town.billerica.ma.us

If you have any questions for the Board of Health regarding Covid – 19 or any other related questions please contact Joanne White at Jwhite@town.billerica.ma.us or by phone at (978) 671 – 0931.

For any excise tax bills, real estate, personal property, or water tax bills that are due please drop them in the green box on the side of Town Hall or pay online at  https://www.invoicecloud.com/portal/(S(dtgrchmam1bxzibeps0p2m32))/2/Site.aspx?G=c769a5e6-e348-40b4-a1ac-946582d2e5a2

If you have any tax questions please call – (978) 671 -0920. Or Email Elaine Russo at ERusso@town.billerica.ma.us

3/13 

The Town Continues to monitor the current situation with COVID 19. Adjustments are made on a daily basis to protect the public and maintain, to the extent possible, Town Services and normalcy.

All public meetings have been cancelled until March 31, 2020 with the exception of meetings pertaining to Town Meeting. The Town will hold all public meetings from now until March 31st in the Buck Auditorium. This room will be set up with appropriate social distancing standards. In accordance with emergency changes to the “Open Meeting Law” ordered by Governor Baker, the Town will not allow public attendance to these meetings. These meetings will be televised live and access to Open Microphone and Public Hearings will be provided through a social media venue or telephone line to be provided later. This is information will be disseminated through the Town’s social media platforms on Monday.

While all schools in Billerica are being closed for two weeks, Town Hall will remain open for the time being. Both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Mass Department of Public Health are recommending that appropriate social distancing mitigation be implemented for your community. As of this time the Town of Billerica does not have any identified presumptive positive cases of COVID 19, nor are there a significant number of identified “close contacts” (people who have been within six feet of a presumptive positive case).

Therefore, at this time it is reasonable to conclude that there is not a significant presence of “Community Spread” in Billerica. “Community spread” means there is no localized source of origin of the virus. If there is not a localized source then it is likely that virus has spread through different parts of the community. Conversely, if it is localized to a source (like someone that traveled to a hot zone like China or Italy) the close contacts can be identified and contained through quarantine.

The Council on Aging will be closed starting Saturday, March 14th and will remain closed until the following week at which time this situation will be reevaluated. Seniors are a high risk population to the virus and this precaution is being implemented to protect this population. COA Employees will still report to work as there are many services that can be provided indirectly. The Library will remain open at this time with appropriate social distancing mitigation measures being implemented. The Library is a vital service that many residents depend upon.

Recreation activities are not conducive to social distancing mitigation measures. Therefore, all Recreation programs, inside and out, will be suspended until March 31st. Additionally, all field permits for Youth organizations will be suspended until March 31st as well.

The Town Halls around Billerica; Tewksbury, Dracut and Chelmsford have also decided to implement social distancing mitigation at their Town Halls rather than closing. Additionally, they have closed their COAs and their Library’s remain open for now. It is a challenging balance to maintain public safety and continued to provide a service to the residence. It is important to maintain normal operations as long as possible because this situation is evolving rapidly. The Town is monitoring the state of “Community Spread” daily and will make changes as necessary. Please be assured that the safety of the people of Billerica is paramount.


3/12/2020

Town and School Officials continue to work together to manage the COVID - 19 outbreak.

As of 3:15PM on Thursday, March 12, 2020, the Town of Billerica has no confirmed cases or presumptive cases of COVID - 19. Accordingly, the town is making every effort to continue to provide normal services including the operation of schools while protecting public health.

The town and school have put together the following policies into place:

All meetings that are not pertinent to Town Meeting between now and March 31st will be postponed. This includes Planning Board, ZBA, Conservation Commission, and the Board of Health. The CPC meeting will take place tonight as posted.

Events that are in excess of 50 people or cannot meet social distances requirements between now and March 31st will be canceled or postponed. Please refer to the Schools, Library, Recreation, or the COA for specific programs. We will assess the impact on events after March 31st in the coming weeks as the situation develops.

Currently, the Election will take place on the first Saturday in April as set by the Town Charter. Protocols are being put into place to make the election as safe as possible. More guidance will be given in the coming weeks.

If you believe you have been in close contact (within six feet) with somebody believed to have a presumptive COVID - 19 case, please reach out to ER, PCP, or Urgent Care.

For more info please refer to the Mass DPH website. https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19


3/10/2020

Town and School Officials have been closely monitoring the Governors press conference this afternoon. During the press conference it was announced that there is an increased risk for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts. It was also stressed that older residents and people with comprised immune systems stay home as much as possible to reduce their risk of being exposed. The Town is awaiting further guidance from DPH and the School Department is awaiting further guidance from DESE  in the next 48 hours.

Town and School Officials will be meeting over the course of the next few days to determine any next steps that are needed. In the interim, Town and School Officials continue to implement enhanced protocols for cleaning high contact areas and protective measures for first responders. Please continue to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and sanitize frequently touched objects / spaces. For further information please reference the Mass DPH and the CDC website below:

https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html


February 28, 2020

Health Advisory for Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Billerica – Town and School Officials met today to review communication and preparedness protocols due the evolving situation created by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  This group included the Town Manager, the Superintendent of Schools, The Chief of Police, the Board of Health Director and members of the Town’s Emergency Management Team.  While this is a new virus the Town’s protocol for public health preparedness is not.

The group reviewed reinforcing safety protocols for First Responders for respiratory viruses as well as cleaning protocols in Town and school building to prevent the spread of viruses. The Town will also take advantage of municipal service outlets, such as Schools, Recreation and Council on Aging to disseminate educational material to promote good public Health. Some of the educational material and more information is attached below.

 Because we are in the midst of a seasonal cold and flu season, it is important to emphasize the risk of exposure to seasonal influenza is a primary public health concern in Massachusetts at this time.  There has been an uptick in seasonal influenza case in recent weeks in Massachusetts and Billerica.  The following precautionary actions will help prevent exposure to any respiratory virus:

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds of scrubbing or use alcohol-based hand cleaners (if soap and water is unavailable)

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, not your hands

Avoid close contact with others who are sick.

Stay home from work or school if you are sick and avoid contact with others

As information and guidance is rapidly changing, please refer to the CDC Traveler advisory for the most up-to-date information.  

The Billerica Board of Health is continuing to monitor this situation very carefully and will make sure that the most up to date information will be available to residents.  Refer to the MDPH website for the most up to date Massachusetts cases or contact the Billerica Board of Health at 978-671-0931 or visit the Public Health Nurse webpage of our website.


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