There are so many news reports. How can I tell fact from fiction?
Residents are urged to get the facts from reliable sources. Both the MDPH and CDC have websites with reliable information that is updated frequently.
Locally, visit arlingtonma.gov/covid19 for updates from the Town.
What is contact tracing for COVID-19?
Contact tracing is when public officials are informed of an infected individual and then conduct the process of contact identification, contact listing and contact follow-up.
During the contact identification stage, public health officials identify an infected individual's contacts by asking about the person’s activities and the activities and roles of the people around them since onset of illness.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), close contacts can be anyone who has been within 6 feet for about 15 minutes with an infected person: family members, work colleagues, friends or health care providers.
Once they are identified, public health officials begin contact listing. Anyone considered to have been in contact with the infected person should be listed as contacts and placed under quarantine. Efforts should be made to identify every listed contact and to inform them of their contact status, what it means, the actions that will follow and the importance of receiving early care if they develop symptoms.
Once close contacts have been identified and notified, public health officials will participate in contact follow-ups. Regular follow-up should be conducted with all contacts to monitor for symptoms and test for signs of infection.
Who will reach out to me if I'm identified as a close contact?
Close contacts will be contacted by town's public health officials and/or the state's Community Tracing Collaborative.
How long will I be monitored after being identified as a close contact?
Close contacts will be under observation for a 14-day period. As long as they remain asymptomatic during that time period, close contacts will no longer be considered at risk of contracting COVID-19 after 14 days since their exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual.
What steps should I take after being identified as a close contact?
Individuals will be instructed to take their own temperature and report changes to local health officials. Even if there are no symptoms and fever is not detected, it is recommended to stay at least 6 feet away from other people, even if entering the home environment.
What happens if I show symptoms after being identified as a close contact?
Anyone suffering from symptoms shall remain isolated while they await possible testing. Once an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will remain isolated and will be provided with care. Contact tracing will then be conducted on behalf of this individual.
Why is contact tracing important?
People in close contact with someone who is infected with a virus, such as COVID-19, are at higher risk of becoming infected themselves and of potentially infecting others. Contact tracing finds possible new cases quickly so they can be quarantined to stop further spread.
The Arlington Health Department has partnered with AFC Urgent Care Arlington located at 1398 Massachusetts Avenue to offer COVID-19 testing to Arlington residents. This announcement comes on the heels of new guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which encourages close contacts of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to get tested regardless of symptoms.
Residents looking to get tested must call AFC Urgent Care Arlington at 781-648-4572 to be pre-screened. Upon screening and approval for testing, residents will be assigned an appointment time. The results are typically reported within 48 hours. In conjunction with AFC Urgent Care Arlington, the Arlington Health Department will contact residents to inform them of their results.
The state also has an online system to check for symptoms for COVID-19.
Yes! Mass. Wear A Mask In Public Order Now Effective
The State order requires face masks or cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition. Violation on the order may result in a fine of up to $300 per violation. Baker made the order in anticipation that wearing a mask will become part of the “new normal” when the state begins to reopen. Read the order, Mass DPH Advisories, and how to make a face covering at mass.gov/coveryourface
Arlington public safety and public health officials continue to provide guidance and education to businesses and residents about this order, as well as others that will change as we all look toward reopening the state, safely. Please note that many disabilities are invisible and you may not know why someone is not wearing a mask. The Town asks that you do not confront people about wearing masks.
This is a challenging situation for everyone and we appreciate your continued compliance as we work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and look toward reopening businesses safely.
- ❌ Face mask - Put this item in your trash bin.
- ✅ Hand sanitizer bottles - Put empty and rinsed bottle in the recycling. If there is a cap, replace the cap before putting in the recycling. If there is a pump, put pump in the trash.
- ❌ Sanitary wipes - Put this item in your trash bin. Remember: Never flush wipes. Even if they are labeled "flushable." Wipes clog up sewer and septic systems.
- ✅ Disinfectant Wipes Plastic Canister Put this item in your recycling bin. Flexible or box-shaped plastic wipe containers should go in the trash.
- ❌ Rubber gloves - Put this item in your trash bin.
- ❌ Plastic gloves - Put this item in your trash bin.
Massachusetts has launched an online resource that residents can use to assess symptoms and find the right care. Not to be used in place of emergency medical care, residents can visit a website to get advice from an online health assistant safely at home, for free. Read full details
Some personal measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of viruses include:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, if soap and water are not available use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• If you are sick, stay home from school, work or activities.
Continue to Heed Safer-At-Home Advisory
Public health officials remind all residents, regardless of age, to stay at home and away from anyone who does not live in your house, including relatives. If you have to go out to conduct a necessary errand, like grocery shopping, picking up medication, or checking in on a neighbor who may need assistance, it is crucial you practice social distancing (keep 6 feet away from others), and wear a cloth face covering (fabric mask).
Call your doctor if you develop symptoms.
Additionally, Massachusetts residents can visit www.Buoy.com/mass to get advice from an online health assistant safely at home, for free.
Buoy will connect you with the appropriate health care resource based on your symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19.Buoy's online tool is not to be used in place of emergency medical care. If this is an emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
Massachusetts residents are urged to quarantine at home for 14 days after traveling out of state. To date, the CDC has issued a travel health notice recommending United States residents avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and most European countries. Contact your health care provider if you have traveled and feel unwell. Before visiting your health care provider, disclose your symptoms and travel history.
If you have traveled internationally, or are planning on doing so, check the CDC website for travel alerts here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
To date, all town offices will remain open to the public via phone and online. This information will be posted on the Coronavirus Information page at arlingtonma.gov/covid19
MWRA warns not to flush personal care wipes, paper towels, other items in toilet.
Even if they're small, and the package says "flushable," some everyday items can cause messy and expensive problems for your plumbing and MWRA sewer treatment facilities. Products that might seem safe to flush down the toilet, such as personal care wipes, dental floss, and paper towels, don't dissolve quickly – or at all – in water. If a scrap of undissolved material gets caught on a nick, bend or bump within a pipe, it can trigger a growth of buildup that could cause a sewer backup in your home or neighborhood creating an additional public health risk amid the coronavirus pandemic. Please dispose of these items in the trash. Read more at mwra.com