Town Leaders Discuss Holliston’s COVID-19 Preparations

Select Board Chair Mark Ahronian called the COVID-19 Preparation meeting to order
at 7:32 pm
Chief Cassidy shared a tremendous amount of information and also pointed residents to RELIABLE sources of information regarding the COVD-19 pandemic.

Chief Cassidy told the Board that Holliston is prepared for the COVID-19 incident and has adequate safety equipment and supplies. As Emergency Management Director, he is in daily contact with other key Holliston departments and the State Department of Public Health to gather information about this rapidly changing situation. He will update the Board at each of their upcoming meetings – sooner if necessary.

The Chief’s presentation can be viewed on HCAT as it was recorded on Facebook live and broadcast via television.

He pointed out the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), DHS (Department of Homeland Security), NIH (National Institutes of Health), and the MA Department of Public Health – MA Department of Public Health Online COVID-19 Resources as the best places to get up-to-date factual information.

Tuesday’s declaration of a state-wide State of Emergency by Governor Baker frees up resources including $15,000,000 passed by the MA Legislature (which is in addition to the $8.3 million federal aid signed into law recently).

People at Higher Risk for serious illness from COVID-19

  • Older adults (age 60 and older)
  • Women who are pregnant

People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease

Of those who contract the disease; 80% recover with no special care, 15% require medication, and 5% require intensive hospital care.

Chief Cassidy reminded all citizens that being enrolled (and with current contact information) in the BlackBoard Connect emergency messaging system is especially important now. If you are not currently signed, check it out here -> https://townofhollistonportal.bbcportal.com/

Those in attendance (L-R) Scott Moles, Holliston Health Director, State Representative Carolyn Dykema, James Keast, Holliston’s incoming Facilities Manager, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bradford Jackson, School Committee Chair Stacey Raffi, Police Chief Matt Stone, and Bob Malone – representing both the Council on Aging and the Library. And of course the necessary media representatives.

Representative Dykema shared several pieces of information: MA now does COVID-19 in state and has a 24 – 48 hour turnaround on results; she is ready to support Holliston in every way she can, she too recommends the MA Department of Public Health website as the most up-to-the-minute source of quality information, and the State is reviewing statutes that govern remote participation in public meetings to see if Board / Committee members can join via phone / computer.

Dr. Jackson likened the advance of the COVID-19 outbreak to an impending monster snowstorm – many rapidly changing variables that weigh in his decision-making. Schools are cleaned daily and specified areas are sanitized as needed. He has sent three district-wide messages related to cancellations of various school activities and travel. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days.

Bob Malone spoke about precautions being taken at the Senior Center. The staff sanitizes surfaces throughout the day. The St. Patrick’s Day luncheon planned for next Monday has been cancelled (leaving 115 people disappointed). Until further notice, there will not be dancing on Friday afternoons at the Center (only about 40 disappointed people). He also spoke to the actions being taken at the Library. Again, staff are sanitizing throughout the day.

The question of the evening was replenishing cleaning / sanitizing supplies when current inventories are exhausted. Chief Cassidy has a considerable supply of masks and cleaner for use by HPD and HFD personnel when responding to a possible respiratory illness. He has contacted our vendors to ensure that our first-responders will have the supplies they need.

Mrs. Raffi added that everyone in Holliston has neighbors and we should check on them often.

The last act of business was the Board approved a motion that, “empowers Chief Cassidy, as Emergency Management Director, to direct all town cleaning contractors to sanitize buildings as they complete their regularly scheduled cleaning.”

Town Clerk, Elizabeth Greendale, recommends that Boards and Committees only meet when it is Statutorily required – and only cover critical agenda items. Don’t forget to maintain your ‘social distance’ of six feet from others.

Visit the Town’s Health Department website for additional information -> https://www.townofholliston.us/home/news/information-on-the-flu-and-covid-19-viruses

The meeting adjourned at 9:02 pm.

Chris Cain

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