As of noontime on Thursday, April 2nd, the City of Fitchburg has 47 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are currently 18 people that have recovered, 2 people are in the hospital and 15 people are ordered quarantined.
Residents should be aware of how to minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19 and the Seasonal Influenza in the area.
COVID-19 is spread in the same way other Influenza viruses move through populations. Sneezing and coughing produce a spray of droplets that can be inhaled or absorbed by the eyes, nose or mouth. Droplets that fall on surfaces can be transferred to these body parts by touching. The virus can survive on surfaces for days, so frequent sanitizing of surfaces is recommended to prevent the spread of the virus.
If the virus becomes widespread, residents will be instructed to adhere to the following protocols to reduce their risk of contracting the illness:
*Remain calm, and keep yourself informed by observing Health Department, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and Center for Disease Control information (see links below)
*Avoid large gatherings if possible. The City of Fitchburg is taking steps to reduce large gatherings and promoting avenues for residents to remain in contact with city events and meetings via phone conferencing and other avenues where applicable.
*Frequent and thorough handwashing is the best way to reduce your risk. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds is recommended, or you can utilize hand sanitizer with a least 60-90% alcohol.
*Sneezing and coughing into your elbow or into a tissue that is properly disposed of is another method to contain the virus.
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
*Clean frequently touched surfaces (like your cell phone) and objects like doorknobs and countertops. Use an EPA approved cleaner that disinfects with 62 to 71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can help with disinfection.
*Residents may be asked to remain in their homes except for essential needs if necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
*Stay healthy by getting adequate sleep/rest, manage stress, eat healthy and continue to exercise.
*Plan for possible disruption of services, especially important if a family member has special medical needs. Prepare for prescription refills or other medical needs.
*Speak to your employer about working from home and discus sick leave policies. The City of Fitchburg is currently preparing to continue all normal operations in the event many employees are quarantined and staffing levels are drastically reduced.
*Schools may be closed during an outbreak. Plan for how you will handle childcare if schools and day cares are closed.
*Plan for how to care for those at risk of serious illness and hospitalization, such as those over 65 years of age and those individuals with preexisting health conditions.
*Plan for who will care for your dependents if you get sick.
*Make a list of important contact information including but not limited to your physician, employer, pharmacies and family members.
*Hoarding is not necessary but plan to store two weeks worth of food, water and medicine.
*In the event of mass treatment, the Fitchburg Health Department and Fitchburg Emergency Management have comprehensive plans to treat all City of Fitchburg residents. Residents are urged to stay informed if an Emergency Dispensing Site (EDS) is activated to provide vaccines and/or medicine.
For more information of COVID-19 please refer to the following links:
Region 2 Public Health Emergency Preparedness
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
American Red Cross
Wachusett Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
More emergency preparedness info:The State of Massachusetts has put together some emergency preparedness information that can be very useful to residents.
It is also available in Spanish.