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March 31 Coronavirus

Annual Town Election to be Held on June 6, 8am-8pm
Read full details

Governor Extends Orders and Advisories to May 4
Governor Baker announced today the extension of previous orders to May 4th, including the closure of all non-essential businesses, with updated essential services guidelines, the limit of 10 person gatherings, and self-isolation and social distancing guidelines. Read the full release.

COVID-19 Related Deaths in Arlington Reported
Cases across state, county continue to rise.
As of March 31st, there are currently twenty positive cases of COVID-19 in Arlington. Massachusetts reports 6,620 confirmed, 1,340 in Middlesex County, and 89 reported deaths associated with the virus. The Town recently received notifications the deaths of two Arlington residents due to complications from COVID-19. The Town does not receive reporting of deaths due to COVID-19 from Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH) or area hospitals. A death notification may come from the family, a friend, or a funeral home (if local). The best place to find these numbers is the state's COVID-19 page.

Arlington Parks and Bikeway Congregating Complaints
The Town continues to receive complaints of people congregating in parks and on the Minuteman Bikeway. There should be no play dates, no groups of youth playing sports, or organized sports games. If anyone meets in groups, even small ones, it can put everyone at risk. Every choice we make today has an impact on what happens in the future. Together we have the power to make choices that can save lives. Please continue to do your part.

PPE Donations Help Frontline Workers  
Arlington residents have stepped forward and so far have donated almost 1,500 surgical masks, 455 n-95 masks, almost 4,000 nitrile gloves, and much more to help those working on the front line of COVID-19.  From the 43 donations received we were able to deliver supplies to first responders in Arlington and to Beth Israel Lahey Healthcare System. See all that’s been donated and make a donation.

Share What You've Been Doing, Tell Us What You Need
We’ve been staying at home for a while now and we want to hear from you. Let us know about the work you've been doing to maintain community connection while social distancing. Let us know your ideas for other activities and tell us what you need. Your responses will help us guide upcoming community building activities, help us identify broad community needs, and where possible, connect residents to available resources. Share your thoughts with us. 

6 Feet at 6PM
Connect as a community, visually and virtually, each evening at 6PM.

March 30 Coronavirus Update

Today Governor Baker announced several initiatives to expand the health care workforce and create capacity to relieve pressures on hospitals as the state plans for an upcoming surge in COVID-19 cases. Baker reports expanded testing will be key to managing the crisis. Read the full release.

Cases Continue to Rise
There are currently nineteen positive cases of COVID-19 in Arlington. We continue to believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents as numbers in the region and across the state increase at a rapid rate. As of March 30th there have been 5,752 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, 1,141 in Middlesex County, and 56 reported deaths associated with COVID-19.

Arlington Parks and Bikeway Congregating Complaints
The Town has received many complaints of people congregating in parks and on the Minuteman Bikeway. Public health officials urge parents and guardians to talk to their children about congregating with their friends. If children meet in groups, even small ones, it can put everyone at risk. There should be no play dates and no groups of youth playing sports.

Pedestrian Signals to Become Automatic
In the coming days pedestrian crossings on Mass Ave and Broadway in Arlington will become automatic. Signage will be placed by crossings when the change has been made. When the change is made, you will no longer need to press the button. Just wait for the light to change. After Mass. Ave. and Broadway crossings are changed, other signals around town will be made automatic and signage placed when done.

Practice Social Distancing / Only Conduct Essential Errands

It is imperative that everyone regardless of age, stay at home and away from non-family contacts. 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).

Do Your Part
What we do today, and in the coming weeks, will impact the future. Your choices matter. Social distancing works. As difficult as it is to social distance, we all have to do our part and work together to keep our neighbors healthy and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system and their workers.

6 Feet at 6PM
Connect as a community, visually and virtually, each evening at 6pm.
6 Feet at 6PM is a community initiative where every evening at 6:00 p.m. Arlington residents connect safety (more than 6 feet apart). Go out on your porch or look out your apartment window and wave to neighbors. Check in via email, phone, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or otherwise engage online. The point is to check in with each other at a safe distance – 6 Feet at 6PM - to make sure we are all OK as a community. We'd love to see examples in your neighborhood; spread the word, share photos and video on social media with the hashtag #Arlington6At6.

Register to Receive Arlington Alerts, Town Notices, and follow us on Social Media
We encourage residents to visit the Communications Center and sign up to all these methods to ensure you receive them. Having multiple ways of receiving updates from the Town during this time ensures you receive them in the event of any technical difficulty.

March 30 Coronavirus Update

Today Governor Baker announced several initiatives to expand the health care workforce and create capacity to relieve pressures on hospitals as the state plans for an upcoming surge in COVID-19 cases. Baker reports expanded testing will be key to managing the crisis. Read the full release.

Cases Continue to Rise
There are currently nineteen positive cases of COVID-19 in Arlington. We continue to believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents as numbers in the region and across the state increase at a rapid rate. As of March 30th there have been 5,752 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, 1,141 in Middlesex County, and 56 reported deaths associated with COVID-19.

Arlington Parks and Bikeway Congregating Complaints
The Town has received many complaints of people congregating in parks and on the Minuteman Bikeway. Public health officials urge parents and guardians to talk to their children about congregating with their friends. If children meet in groups, even small ones, it can put everyone at risk. There should be no play dates and no groups of youth playing sports.

Pedestrian Signals to Become Automatic
In the coming days pedestrian crossings on Mass Ave and Broadway in Arlington will become automatic. Signage will be placed by crossings when the change has been made. When the change is made, you will no longer need to press the button. Just wait for the light to change. After Mass. Ave. and Broadway crossings are changed, other signals around town will be made automatic and signage placed when done.

Practice Social Distancing / Only Conduct Essential Errands

It is imperative that everyone regardless of age, stay at home and away from non-family contacts. 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).

Do Your Part
What we do today, and in the coming weeks, will impact the future. Your choices matter. Social distancing works. As difficult as it is to social distance, we all have to do our part and work together to keep our neighbors healthy and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system and their workers.

6 Feet at 6PM
Connect as a community, visually and virtually, each evening at 6pm.
6 Feet at 6PM is a community initiative where every evening at 6:00 p.m. Arlington residents connect safety (more than 6 feet apart). Go out on your porch or look out your apartment window and wave to neighbors. Check in via email, phone, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or otherwise engage online. The point is to check in with each other at a safe distance – 6 Feet at 6PM - to make sure we are all OK as a community. We'd love to see examples in your neighborhood; spread the word, share photos and video on social media with the hashtag #Arlington6At6.

March 27 Coronavirus Update

Read the Town Manager Arlington Alert

Today Governor Baker announced all travelers arriving in Massachusetts will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days in the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Arlington public health officials continue to urge everyone that regardless of your age, you stay at home and away from non-family contacts at this time.

Due to a nationwide shortage of testing swabs and exceptionally long times to receive results, the Health Department has been unable to accurately report the true impact of the virus on the community. There are currently twelve positive cases of COVID-19 in Arlington. We continue to believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents as numbers in the region and across the state increase at a rapid rate. As of March 27th, there have been 3,240 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, 685 in Middlesex County, and 35 reported deaths associated with COVID-19. 

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). We understand how challenging this can be, especially as the weather gets nicer, but it is vitally important we all work together to keep our neighbors healthy and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system and their workers. While this crisis will continue for some time, we are working on ways we can support each other and come together as a community.

6 Feet at 6PM
Connect as a community, visually and virtually, each evening at 6pm.

6 Feet at 6PM is a community initiative where every evening at 6:00 p.m. Arlington residents connect safety (more than 6 feet apart). Come out of your homes or look out your window and wave to neighbors. Check in via email, phone, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or otherwise engage online. The point is to check in with each other at a safe distance – 6 Feet at 6PM - to make sure we are all OK as a community. We'd love to see examples in your neighborhood; spread the word, share photos and video on social media with the hashtag #Arlington6At6

Register to Receive Arlington Alerts, Town Notices, and follow us on Social Media
We encourage residents to visit the Communications Center and sign up to all these methods to ensure you receive them. Having multiple ways of receiving updates from the Town during this time ensures you receive them in the event of any technical difficulty.

March 26 Coronavirus Update

Today Governor Baker reported expanded testing in conjunction with MIT/Harvard’s Broad Institute. The Governor reported testing started yesterday and he anticipates, when testing ramps up next week, 2,000 tests can be processed per day.

Due to a nationwide shortage of testing swabs, the three hospitals that cover Arlington residents temporarily shut down all testing last week. The testing at these hospitals has since resumed, but this lack of testing has hampered the Health Department's ability to report the true impact of the virus on the community. There are currently twelve positive cases of COVID-19 in Arlington. 

We believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents. You must stay home and away from non-family contacts at this time, practice social distancing (keep 6 feet away from others), and only perform necessary tasks like grocery shopping, picking up medication, and safely checking in with family and neighbors who may need assistance. 

Reminder AYCC Hosts Mindfulness and Compassion Virtual Session
Join us March 27 at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Join us Friday at 11am for a virtual session on mindfulness and compassion. We could all use some ease and kindness, especially during these days of COVID-19 and being at home. This video session, led by AYCC counselor Bridge Kiley, will include an overview of mindfulness and compassion and some simple tools and practices for incorporating mindfulness and compassion in to your days. If you're hoping to connect to yourself, your body and others, this is for you. All are welcome to join. All are welcome to join us, Friday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom. https://zoom.us/j/931370096

Robbins Library Launches Virtual Storytime March 27
Looking for something fun to do with children during this “stay at home” period? Come to a virtual storytime!  Robbins and Fox librarians will offer online storytime on Facebook Live on Fridays at 10:00 a.m. while the library is closed. Read more at on the Robbins Library blog.

6 Feet at 6PM
Connect as a community, visually and virtually, each evening at 6pm.
6 Feet at 6PM is a community initiative where every evening at 6:00 p.m. Arlington residents connect safety (more than 6 feet apart). Come out of your homes or look out your window and wave to neighbors. Check in via email, phone, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or engage online. The point is to check in with each other at a safe distance – 6 Feet at 6PM - to make sure we are all OK as a community. We'd love to see examples in your neighborhood; spread the word, share photos and video on social media with the hashtag #Arlington6At6

March 25 Coronavirus Update

Governor Extends School Closures to May 4
This afternoon Governor Baker extended school and childcare closures until May 4th. He also encourages grocery stores practice DPH guidelines on social distancing, cleaning of surfaces, offering hand sanitizers, and offering one hour a day for adults over 60 years of age to shop. Reusable bags are prohibited and the plastic bag ban will be lifted temporarily. View the press conference.
Read the press release.

Town officials stress the next few weeks are critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to heed the advisories from the Governor and public health officials to stay at home, practice social distancing (keeping 6 feet away from others), and only perform necessary tasks like grocery shopping, picking up medication, and safely checking in with family and neighbors who may need assistance. 

What To Do if You Are Sick
If you, or someone in your home is sick, please follow these guidelines from the CDC.

AYCC Hosts Mindfulness and Compassion Virtual Session March 27
We could all use some ease and kindness, especially during these days of COVID-19 and being at home. This video session, led by AYCC counselor Bridge Kiley, will include an overview of mindfulness and compassion and some simple tools and practices for incorporating mindfulness and compassion in to your days. If you're hoping to connect to yourself, your body and others, this is for you! All are welcome to join us, Friday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom. https://zoom.us/j/931370096

For additional resources, check out the Mental Health and Well Being resource page.

We continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus and coordinate regionally to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents.

March 24 Coronavirus Update

Last night Arlington’s Select Board declared a State of Emergency and today at noon, Governor Baker’s “Stay At Home” order took effect. Although Arlington and the state’s restrictions extend to April 7th, our current analysis of the situation is that these orders may be in place longer. We’ll continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus and coordinate regionally to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents.

In the meantime, we continue to stress the importance of staying at home, social distancing (keeping 6 feet away from others), and only performing necessary tasks like grocery shopping, picking up medication, and safely checking in with family and neighbors who may need assistance.

We understand these actions, and future actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. To help, we have been compiling, and will continue to compile, helpful resources, including mental health and well being, business and nonprofit, and how you can help. We will continue to highlight these efforts and more in the coming weeks.

Arlington to Collect PPE Donations
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders and front line hospital staff.

Items will be collected by Arlington Health Department with assistance from Arlington Police and Fire and allocated to hospitals, clinics and first responders that are on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients. Items sought should be in unopened packaging and include N95 respirators, surgical/procedural masks, face shield masks, disposable gowns, goggles/eye protection, wipes, nitrile gloves, and hand sanitizer.  More information on the How You Can Help page.

Small Business Tax Relief – Late-file and Late-pay Penalties Waived
The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April, and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. The Department of Revenue announced March 20 that it will waive any late-file or late-pay penalties for returns and payment due for meals and room occupancy taxes between March 20 and May 31, 2020.

Unemployment Assistance
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Updated Unemployment Resources has guides on how to file, to register for a virtual information session on how to file, and information on how to contact the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance. Recent legislation allows new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one waiting period for unemployment benefits. 

List of businesses currently open in Arlington
The listings will be updated at least once daily. Please contact businesses directly before placing and order or going to their establishment to confirm that they are open, as the information on this list is subject to change. 

Additional resources for businesses and non-profits may be found on the Business & Nonprofit Resource page.

March 23 Coronavirus Update

Gov. Baker Orders All Non-Essential Businesses To Cease In Person Operation
Issues Stay at Home Advisory For Two Weeks
Today, March 23rd, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely.

Read a list of essential services.

Due to the evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Governor Baker has directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisory. This means all residents are advised to stay home during this time in order to curb the spread of this virus. Residents may conduct essential grocery shopping and pick up medication.

As of March 22nd, there have been 646 confirmed cases and 5 reported deaths associated with COVID-19.

Arlington Suspends Take-Out Service Inside Food Establishments
Starting March 24th at noon, Arlington restaurants will no longer be permitted to allow customers inside their establishment. Restaurants will be required to provide curbside pick up or delivery only. The Health Department also encourages food establishments and patrons to utilize payment with credit card either online or via phone to limit person-to-person interactions.

Thorndike Dog Park, Tennis Courts, and Basketball Courts Closed
Playgrounds are still closed.
Arlington’s Thorndike Dog Park and tennis courts will be locked and basketball hoops will be blocked in an effort to stop groups from congregating.

Town Hall Administrative Offices, Library Still Available Online
Requests for service and information from the Town may be slow due to minimal staffing and technical limitations. We thank residents in advance for their patience in asking for service from the Town and for their continued compliance as we all work together to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

March 20 Coronavirus Update 

Read text of Town Manager's Arlington Alert phone call of March 20.

Public Health Officials Urge to Stay At Home
Public health officials urge that regardless of your age, you follow their request to stay at home and away from non-family contacts at this time. Due to the lack of testing they do not believe they are able to adequately contain coronavirus through quarantining of cases at this time. It is critical that we work together as the caring community that we are and follow this crucial step to prevent widespread illness in Arlington.

Positive cases, as verified by Mass DPH, are fewer than 10. However, as stated above, due to the lack of testing available to symptomatic residents at this time, we believe the actual number to be higher and growing each day.

It is vitally important for residents to stop congregating outside and to take these critical public safety messages seriously. What you do today will have a dramatic impact on cases we see next week. Taking action now is doing our part to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of people infected, and to avoid overwhelming our health care system.

Coronavirus Information and Resources Online
We understand actions to date are already having a tremendous impact on our community. Town Hall remains open online and via phone during regular business hours. We all strive to continue to bring residents and businesses essential services during this time. We will continue to add resources to Coronavirus Information page. The page now has resources for Mental Health & Well Being, Businesses & Nonprofits, and How You Can Help. During the week, we will continue to provide daily updates at 5:00 p.m. via on this page, Town Notices (email), and social media. On occasion, we will call you via Arlington Alerts.

Register to Receive Arlington Alerts, Town Notices, and follow us on Social Media
We encourage residents to visit the Communications Center and sign up to all these methods to ensure you receive them. Having multiple ways of receiving updates from the Town during this time ensures you receive them in the event of any technical difficulty.

March 19 Coronavirus Update, 5PM

Town officials continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus and coordinate regionally to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents. We understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. Taking action now is doing our part to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of people infected, and to avoid overwhelming our health care system.

Be a Good Neighbor: Stay at Home, Do Not Congregate
Join your neighbors and do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Public health officials continue to ask residents to stay at home and only venture out to conduct necessary tasks like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy. Town officials have observed many people congregating at parks, playgrounds, and the bike path. Public safety officials have been visiting parks and educating those congregating about social distancing. Many that continue to congregate are young adults.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that among the roughly 12% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. known to need hospitalizations, about 1 in 5 were among people ages 20 to 44. We know it’s difficult to practice social distancing, but this virus poses risks for all ages. Many residents are doing their part by staying at home, being mindful when they run essential errands, and practicing social distancing in public places. Some of these residents are doing this at great personal financial loss.

Please be a good neighbor and do the same. No congregating, group activities, or game playing. Please maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people while enjoying these spaces. 

All Personal Care Establishments Closed
Starting immediately all personal care establishments (hair salons, nail salons, massage establishments, etc.) will be closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, closures are until April 6th.

Presumptive positive cases, as verified by Mass DPH, remains at 5. However, due to limited availability of tests, back ups of test results, and reported confirmed cases in Massachusetts, we do not believe this is an accurate count of the spread of the virus in the Arlington community.  We urge residents to follow the restrictions and guidance issued by the Town and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. As we take these steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we ask you to do your part and follow CDC guidelines

March 18 Coronavirus Update, 5PM

Town officials continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents. We understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. Taking action now is doing our part to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of people infected, and to avoid overwhelming our health care system.

Arlington Officials Continue to Coordinate Regionally
Resources for businesses and nonprofits online.

Town officials are in constant communication with state and local officials from neighboring municipalities to get the most up-to-date information and coordinate plans, and responses, to COVID-19 as well as support and resources for businesses and nonprofits.

Wondering How You Can Help Arlington’s Most Vulnerable?
The Select Board asks that residents consider supporting these groups that are working to help those that are hardest hit during this time.

Greater Somerville Homeless Coalition (Arlington partner)
Arlington Eats
Arlington Food Link

Click here for COVID-19 resources for Business and Nonprofits

Public Health Officials Continue to Urge to Stay at HomePublic health officials continue ask residents to stay at home and only venture out to conduct necessary tasks like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy.

Parks and Playgrounds. Arlington playgrounds (areas with play structures of

any kind) are closed until further notice. Parks, fields, and courts will remain open for passive use. No congregating, group activities, or game playing is allowed. Please maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people while enjoying these spaces.

COVID-19 Cases in Arlington, MA

Confirmed cases (verified by CDC)

Presumptive positive cases (as verified by Mass DPH)

5

 

Due to limited availability of tests to date and slow turn around times of tests taken so far, we do not believe this is an accurate count of the actual spread of the virus in the Arlington community. Testing results have been backed up as demand rises. We urge residents to follow the restrictions and guidance issued by the Town and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. As we take these steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we ask you to do your part and follow CDC guidelines

Arlington Public Schools Closed Until April 6

Arlington school closures will be extended to April 6th in conjunction with the state order.

Health and Human Services / Food Services

Lunches “to go” at the Thompson, Arlington EATS, Food Link, and Meals on Wheels continue to provide services. Read more at arlingtonma.gov/hhs

Town Hall Admin Office, Libraries Available Only by Phone, Online

Town Hall administrative offices will be closed to the public. Public safety, trash collection, and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. Read more on what to expect. 

Additional Resources

Have a question? Please refer to the Massachusetts 211 help line to answer your coronavirus questions. Open 24/7 and in 150 languages. Please listen to the prompts carefully to get directed to coronavirus information.

Mass Department of Public Health Coronavirus Page

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Coronavirus Page 

CDC Provides Tips on Managing Anxiety & Stress

Read Past Coronavirus Updates

March 17 Coronavirus Update

Town officials continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents. We understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. Taking action now is doing our part to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of people infected, and to avoid overwhelming our health care system.

Stay at Home, Only Conduct Essential Errands

Public health officials remind residents to stay at home and only venture out to conduct necessary tasks like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy.

Parks and Playgrounds

Arlington playgrounds (areas with play structures of any kind) are closed until further notice. Parks, fields, and courts will remain open for passive use. No congregating, group activities, or game playing is allowed. Please maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people while enjoying these spaces.

Clean and Disinfect Your Home

Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners to help reduce infection risk. Follow the CDC guidelines.
 

COVID-19 Cases in Arlington, MA

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 (verified by CDC)

 

Presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 (as verified by Mass DPH)

5

Due to limited availability of tests to date, we do not believe this is an accurate count of the actual spread of the virus in the Arlington community. More testing will occur as a result of approval from the Governor to increase the number of available tests, while also lifting test restrictions. Based on this, residents should expect the number of positive tests to continue to increase. It is for this reason that we urge residents to follow the restrictions and guidance issued by the Town and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. As we take these steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we ask you to do your part and follow the CDC guidelines.

March 16 Coronavirus Update

Town officials continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents. We understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. Taking action now is doing our part to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of people infected, and to avoid overwhelming our health care system.

Arlington Gyms Closed

Arlington Gyms will be closed March 17th – April 6th, at a minimum, in our continuing efforts to reduce the spread of this virus.

Stop Congregating and Practice Social Distancing

Arlington playgrounds continue to be closed to groups.
We know this is hard, especially when the weather is improving, schools are closed, and many are working from home, but the data we are receiving from other communities on the spread of this virus is alarming and we want everyone to be safe. Public health officials strongly discourage activities that promote gathering of people, including play dates, sleepovers, parties, social visits, basketball, baseball, and other activities where closer contact is the norm.

It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

COVID-19 Cases in Arlington, MA

Confirmed cases of COVID-10 (verified by CDC)

 

Presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 (as verified by Mass DPH)

5

Due to limited availability of tests to date, we do not believe this is an accurate count of the actual spread of the virus in the Arlington community. More testing will occur as a result of approval from the Governor to increase the number of available tests, while also lifting test restrictions.  Based on this, residents should expect the number of positive tests to continue to increase. It is for this reason that we urge residents to follow the restrictions and guidance issued by the Town and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. As we take these steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we ask you to do your part and follow the CDC guidelines. 

Stay at home if you are sick, practice social distancing (stay 6 feet away from others when possible), and check in on others that may need assistance during this time. If you are on spring break, please resist the urge to congregate. Engage with your friends online and do your part to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Arlington Public Schools Closed Until April 6

Arlington school closures will be extended to April 6th in conjunction with the state order.

Health and Human Services / Food Services

APS lunches “to go” at the Thompson, Arlington EATS, Food Link, and Meals on Wheels continue to provide services. Read more at arlingtonma.gov/hhs

Town Hall Admin Office, Libraries Available Only by Phone, Online

Town Hall administrative offices will be closed to the public. Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. Read more on what to expect. 

Additional Resources

Have a question? Please refer to the Massachusetts 211 help line to answer your coronavirus questions. Open 24/7 and in 150 languages. Please listen to the prompts carefully to get directed to coronavirus information.

Mass Department of Public Health Coronavirus Page

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Coronavirus Page 

CDC Provides Tips on Managing Anxiety & Stress

Read Past Coronavirus Updates

 March 15, 7:30PM Coronavirus Update

Governor Baker orders restrictions on restaurants, schools, and gatherings across state.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced Sunday, March 15th, additional prevention measures to stem the outbreak of coronavirus in the state.

They include the following;

- A three-week suspension at all public and private schools effective Tuesday, March 17th through April 7th (day and residential special education schools are exempt from the closure mandate)
- All bars and restaurants in Massachusetts would be shut down to on-premise consumption starting Tuesday, March 17th through April 17th. Take out and delivery, will still be available, as applicable.
- Gatherings larger than 25 people are also banned (churches, clubs, private events).

Grocery stores and pharmacies will still be open. Baker also asked that people should not be considering time off from work or school as an extended break and to take social distancing seriously. “We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Baker on the coronavirus pandemic. “This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.”

Arlington schools will not be open on Monday, March 16th and their closure will be extended to April 6th in conjunction with the state order. (updated 3/16/2020 with correct date)

The Governor’s remarks and additional details are expected to posted to mass.gov.

March 15, 5:00PM Coronavirus Update

Public playgrounds closed.
Town Hall admin offices available via phone, online only.

Town officials continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents. The situation continues to remain fluid and we understand these actions will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. These efforts are meant to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of people infected, and to avoid overwhelming our health care system.

At this time, there are 4 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 that are Arlington-related. All persons that have been identified as close contacts of these 4 presumptive cases have been notified and are self-quarantining. Health officials are still awaiting test results of a child whose parent attended the Biogen event. The parent had tested negative.  

Due to limited availability of tests to date, we do not believe this is an accurate count of the actual spread of the virus in the Arlington community.  For that reason, we are putting in a place a series of further measures and recommendations as described below. More testing will occur as a result of approval from the Governor to increase the number of available tests, while also lifting test restrictions.  Based on this, residents should expect the number of positive tests to continue to increase. It is for this reason that we urge residents to follow the restrictions and guidance issued by the Town.

Public Playgrounds Closed
Public Health Officials discourage play dates and encourage child care facilities to suspend operation.
To discourage social gatherings the Town is closing all public playgrounds until further notice.  Public health officials strongly discourage activities that promote gathering of people, including play dates, sleepovers, parties, social visits, and other activities where closer contact is the norm. Additionally, health officials are strongly recommending that all childcare / day care facilities consider closing in alignment with the Town of Arlington Public Schools. Read the CDCs FAQ on COVID-19 and Children.

Town Hall Admin Office Now Available Only by Phone, Online
Visit the Department directory for phone numbers.

This includes the following Town Offices: 
- Town Hall, 730 Mass. Ave. 
- Senior Center, 27 Maple St. 
- Recreation Office, 422 Summer Street 
- DPW Administrative, 51 Grove St. 
- Inspectional Services, 51 Grove St. 
- APD Records Room, 112 Mystic St. 
- Fire Administrative, 411 Mass. Ave. 

Public safety and other essential services will continue with special precautions to keep these employees safe. As we take these steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we ask you to do your part and follow the CDC guidelines. Stay at home if you are sick, practice social distancing (stay 6 feet away from others when possible), and check in on others that may need assistance during this time. If you are on spring break, please resist the urge to congregate. Engage with your friends online and do your part to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Additional Resources

Have a question? Please refer to the Massachusetts 211 help line to answer your coronavirus questions. Open 24/7 and in 150 languages. Please listen to the prompts carefully to get directed to coronavirus information.

Mass Department of Public Health Coronavirus Page

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Coronavirus Page

CDC Provides Tips on Managing Anxiety & Stress

Update March 13 

The Town of Arlington seeks to continuously update its residents on local preparedness efforts and impacts from the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus situation.

Beginning today, March 13th, Arlington's Town administrative offices are operating on a minimal staffing plan until further notice. Essential services, such as food and transportation for seniors continue to be available. Trash pickup throughout the town is not affected.

All Town offices will remain open to the public, but residents are asked to either complete transactions online or reach out by phone during regular business hours, if possible, for any services they may need to complete.

Private businesses and private schools in Arlington will make their own decision regarding their operations, and residents are encouraged to contact a business if they would like to inquire about their operations.

"We're lucky in Arlington to have community services and organizations that are willing to do whatever they can to help make this unique situation easier for our residents," Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorno said. "We'd like to stress that although many town services have been temporarily adjusted, our residents will still have access to the services they need, such as food delivery, transportation to vital appointments and counseling."

Health and Human Services

- Arlington Public Schools will be distributing lunches to students beginning Monday, March 16. Meals will be distributed "to-go" in the lobby of the Thompson School, 187 Everett St., from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

- Arlington EATS Market at St. John's Church, located at 75 Pleasant St., expects to be open for their normal pantry distribution times on Wednesday, March 18. Their regular hours are 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. to 7 p.m. They are receiving extra deliveries from the Greater Boston Food Bank in anticipation of need. Attendees must be Arlington residents and need to provide photo ID and proof of residency. If residents do not have transportation, they can call the Council on Aging at 781-316-3400 to arrange a ride. If residents are not feeling well or are in quarantine and need food, they should call Arlington Eats to explore their options. Measures such as social distancing will be instituted at the market as a precaution.

- Meals on Wheels, through Minuteman Senior Services, will continue to operate and additional volunteers are on hand to help the program meet needs during the current COVID-19 situation. Residents should call 781-272-7177 to inquire about Meals on Wheels service.

- Food Link is still making normal deliveries to housing locations within Arlington.

Arlington Youth Counseling Center (AYCC)

While normal face-to-face visits with clients are suspended, in accordance with the town mandate, AYCC clinicians will continue to offer their regular counseling and mental health sessions to current clients and client families via phone calls and telemedicine services.

Board and Committee Meetings

Town Administration is reviewing the Governor's Executive Order aimed at providing temporary relief for meetings conducted under the Open Meeting Law that were scheduled to be conducted during the closure, but have since been canceled. The executive order now allows for remote participation for all members of a public body. The town is determining whether this relief can be effective to conduct upcoming meetings, including the Select Board’s meeting which was originally scheduled on Monday, March 23. The Town aims to make a decision regarding the use of remote public body meetings next week.

Town Election

Town Administration is also evaluating the potential impacts of the coronavirus situation on the Town Election scheduled for Saturday, April 4. As of now, the election cannot be canceled or postponed without a court order, but Town Counsel has been working with the Secretary of State’s Office to determine potential avenues for relief. The Secretary of State has filed a request for emergency legislation, which would permit canceling or postponing a local election upon consultation with local officials and expand electronic voting options and other measures in cases of emergency. As the coronavirus situation remains fluid, the Town will continue to analyze effects on the election and will provide an update by Wednesday, March 18.

Arlington Police Department

- Residents are encouraged to use the online report writing system for non-emergency incidents to file police reports. A police officer or detective will follow up regarding the submission by phone or email.

- Residents who would like to request a record or copy of an incident report should call 781-316-3943 or email records@town.arlington.ma.us. The record will be left for pickup at the APD front desk or sent via email.  

- Voluntary fingerprinting services are suspended until further notice. Call 781-316-3938 for assistance.

- The processing of Firearms Applications/Renewals, Hackney Licenses and Solicitor Permits are suspended until further notice. Call 781-316-3943 for immediate assistance.

Town leaders continue to monitor information provided by the state as well as monitor local individuals who may be dealing with symptoms of the virus. The Town continues to advise residents to practice social distancing and avoid group activities and events. "We want to encourage residents to stay safe by avoiding large events and practicing good hygiene, but that doesn't mean you can't continue many of your daily activities. You can go to the grocery store, order takeout or get a cup of coffee," Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said.

The Town has staffed a call center from 8:00 a.m to midnight for the past two days. That service ended on Friday, March 13th at 4 p.m., but the Town will re-evaluate the need for after-hours call center services on a periodic basis.

Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Update March 12, 7PM

Read the Arlington Alert from Town Manager, Adam Chapdelaine about the Town's efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
A special hot line has been set up for Arlington residents March 12 until midnight and March 13th, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
Call us if you have questions at 781-316-3952

Update March 12 

The Town of Arlington, after meeting with its leadership team and consulting with a consortium of mayors and municipal managers from around the metropolitan Boston area, has made the decision to close the Arlington Public Schools through at least March 27. The town has also decided to suspend most nonessential town services and cancel board and committee meetings until further notice.

Additionally, the Arlington Public Library, Arlington Recreation Department, Arlington Youth Counseling Center (AYCC) and Arlington Senior Center will be closed and all town meetings will be canceled at least through March 27.

The Town is also now advising its residents to practice social distancing and avoid group activities and events.

The decision was made after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the rapidly unfolding novel coronavirus crisis, which has been designated a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

"We have met as a team every day since this crisis started, and we believe that, at this time, this is the right decision for the overall safety and well-being of all our students, faculty and staff, and nothing is more important than that," said Superintendent Kathleen Bodie.

The Arlington leadership team met again Thursday after Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno met with a group of mayors and municipal managers in Greater Boston to review the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Arlington's Town administrative offices will operate with minimal staff in order to maintain core municipal services and reachable by phone. Senior rides and meals will operate.

"We are working with our partners and neighbors, and the Town of Arlington will always make the decisions its leadership team feels are best for its community members," Town Manager Chapdelaine said. "This is a worldwide crisis, and we have concluded that requires us to make decisions to protect our community members based on specific, local information that we have in and in Arlington."

The Town of Arlington is coordinating efforts to provide support to the vulnerable populations in town, including school-age children on free and reduced lunches, seniors needing food and medical support as well as transportation to medical appointments.

"Our children and seniors will continue to have meals provided to them, and our seniors will continue to have rides to their vital appointments," Director Bongiorno said. "This is a difficult decision, and life is going to be different in our community for a little while. But this is temporary, and we will get through this if we all come together."

Arlington has also activated its Emergency Operations Center, ensuring interoperability and seamless logistics and delivery of vital town services with representatives from multiple town agencies and departments in constant communication. As part of this activation, the town will staff a hotline
March 12th until midnight and Friday March 13th 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional hours may be added. That number, for Arlington residents only, is 781-316-3952.

Additional updates will be provided here as information becomes available. 

Update March 11

The Town of Arlington seeks to continuously update its residents on any local preparedness efforts and impacts from the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus situation.

The Arlington leadership team met Wednesday morning to review the latest guidance from the Department of Public Health and from the office of Governor Charlie Baker.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts due to COVID-19. On Tuesday, DPH announced the number of total cases of COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus, rose to 92 in Massachusetts. The next numbers and guidelines are expected from DPH at 4 p.m. daily.

The Town of Arlington continues to make the decisions its leadership team feels are best for its community, taking into account the latest information and guidance from state and federal authorities.

Effective immediately, the Town has put the following measures in place:

- As Governor Baker's office is urging older adults and those with health issues to avoid large crowds and large events, the Arlington Senior Center programming is suspended until further notice.
Senior transportation services will continue to run, to ensure Arlington's senior population can make it to vital appointments.

- Programs and events at Arlington's libraries will be postponed, and public meeting spaces will be closed until further notice.

- Arlington Recreation Department meetings, events and programming are cancelled until further notice.

- The Town urges reasonable caution and strongly urges all residents practice good hygiene, especially as it relates to hand-washing and covering coughs/sneezes.

- All foreign and domestic travel, including conferences/seminars, for municipal employees has been suspended until further notice.

- Regular internal business shall continue, including but not limited to the meetings of boards and commissions that are preparing for Town Meeting or otherwise have statutory/regulatory responsibilities to fulfill. Exceptions to this will require the written approval of the Town Manager.

- Any meeting cancellations would be posted on the town website and at town hall.

- Town officials are actively discussing potential impacts on Town Meeting and also speaking with state officials regarding potential legislative relief. As more information becomes available it will be shared with Town Meeting Members and the general public.

The Town has stated and continues to advise that those -- including municipal employees, residents, or students -- who are feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms should stay home and not report to work or school.

For more information and updated, visit the Town of Arlington Health and Human Services COVID-19 page (this page) or call the health department at 781-316-3170. The Baker Administration has also also issued updated guidance to members of the public. This guidance is posted on the Department of Public Health’s website, www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus. You may also visit the CDC's website by clicking here.

Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available. 

Update March 10, 7:30 p.m. 

The Town of Arlington seeks to continuously update its residents on any local preparedness efforts and impacts from the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus situation.

Public Health Director Natasha Waden, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno, and Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie met again Tuesday and have reviewed the latest guidance from the Department of Public Health and Governor Charlie Baker's Office.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts due to COVID-19. On Tuesday, DPH announced the number of total cases of COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus, rose to 92 in Massachusetts.

Town and school leaders are reviewing the latest information from Governor Baker's office regarding the State of Emergency declaration. The Arlington Leadership Team will meet Wednesday morning and expects to release more information about the town's response to the governor's declaration by mid-day.

Public Health Director Waden is pleased to announce that the second Arlington resident who was tested for COVID-19 after attending a Biogen event last week in Boston has tested negative for the illness. Officials are optimistic about the child, whose test remains pending, and the family shall remain in self-quarantine until that test result is also received.

Another Arlington resident and their child, a Stratton Elementary School student, continue to recover from home after testing positive by the state lab.

Arlington Public Schools and public buildings remain open and will operate normally tomorrow.

All local actions are being undertaken in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes CDC guidance for school administrators.

The COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and new information and guidelines are being posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a regular basis. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads. The virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

While the CDC believes people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic (sickest), it is now believed that it is possible to spread the virus before showing symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

"It is important to note that this is a fluid and uncertain situation, and we are adapting our response protocols and methods as soon as we receive new information from the CDC or DPH," Director Waden said.

The Governor's State of Emergency declaration includes remote working accommodations for executive branch employees of the state government. The Town of Arlington is continuing reviewing the governor's recommendations. The Town government remains open and operational and able to serve the citizens and business community in Arlington.

For any students who need to miss school because of self-quarantine, the Arlington Public Schools will utilize online learning technologies to ensure that students will be able to continue their lessons with as little disruption as possible. No student or employee who needs to miss school will have their absences counted against them--employees will not be using their paid time off/sick time.

The Town of Arlington also asks everyone to be ever-mindful of how we treat one another. Arlington is a community that values its diversity. The town's mix of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds is part of what makes the community great. Town leaders urge that each and every individual should be treated with respect. Prejudice, xenophobia and victim-shaming are not the right ways for a community to respond to the current public health situation. Viruses do not discriminate, so neither should we.

Local, State and Federal Health officials are encouraging residents to take the following precautions to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu and COVID-19, from spreading:

- Wash hands frequently, with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- When sick yourself, stay home to protect others.
- Always cover your cough or sneeze.

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low, according to DPH.

The State of Emergency declaration formally activates the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Locally, Arlington's Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Kevin Kelley, has been involved in planning and response efforts from the beginning. In a planning meeting on Friday, Chief Kelley implemented the federal Incident Command System and named Director Waden the Incident Commander for COVID-19 preparedness and response in Arlington.

For more information, visit the this page or call the health department at 781-316-3170. You may also visit the DPH's website or the CDC's website.

Additional updates will be provided here as information becomes available.

Update March 9, 9:04 p.m.

This update reflects the latest CDC virus transmission methods.

All Arlington Public Schools Open March 10 

The Town of Arlington seeks to continuously update its residents on any local preparedness efforts and impacts from the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus situation.

Public Health Director Natasha Waden, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno, and Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie met today after an Arlington resident was diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus. The Town was notified today that one of their children, who is a student in the Stratton Elementary School, has also tested positive for COVID-19.

Arlington’s Health Department today informed all faculty and staff and the families of any students who are considered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) as being “close contacts” with the infected student. Those individuals have been advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and not report to school on Tuesday, in accordance with the advice of DPH.

The Town and the Arlington Public Schools stress: If you have not been notified by the Arlington Health Department that you need to self-quarantine, then you do not need to self-quarantine.

Arlington Public Schools will open and operate normally tomorrow, March 10th. The Stratton Elementary School will be open tomorrow, March 10th. The Stratton School was closed today, March 9th, to allow the Health Department time to trace all close contacts of this case.

All actions are being undertaken in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Town and its public health, human services and public safety officials are well-prepared to respond to the coronavirus situation, and officials prepare and train for public health emergencies regularly.

A “close contact” is a person that has been within six feet of a confirmed case for longer than 15 minutes at one time, or in direct contact with infectious secretions, while the case was likely to be infectious. A person is likely to be infectious from when they begin exhibiting symptoms up until at least 24 hours after they are symptom free.

If an individual was in the same location as a person with COVID-19 before they had symptoms, even if they were in close contact, health officials stress that transmission is very unlikely. In addition, health officials advise that walking through a building or room where there is or was a positive case of COVID-19 does not mean you are a close contact.

The situation is fluid and new information is being posted regularly by the CDC and DPH. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads:

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
-Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

The Arlington Public Schools will utilize online learning technologies to ensure that students will be able to continue their lessons with as little disruption as possible. No student or employee in self-quarantine will have their absences counted against them--employees will not be using their paid time off/sick time.

As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, they should not come to work or school and they are advised to contact their primary care physician.

The Town of Arlington was notified Sunday that a resident, a woman in her 40s who attended a Biogen employee conference last week, and one of her children developed symptoms. Both were tested for COVID-19 and both tested positive. The second parent in the household and their other child, who attends the Gibbs School, remained symptom free on Monday but shall remain in self-quarantine until a 14-day period has elapsed, in accordance with guidance from DPH.

Arlington's health officials are still awaiting test results which involve another Arlington family, a member of which also attended the Biogen conference, whose children attend school at Dallin Elementary, Gibbs and Arlington High School.

Health Director Waden reports that the two patients are recovering at home and that these two families will continue to be monitored and supported by public health officials.

The newest Arlington presumptive positive case is included in the 13 cases announced by state public health officials Monday. A total of 41 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Massachusetts as of Sunday afternoon. The Massachusetts State Public Health Lab’s results are considered “presumptive positive” and the specimens will now be sent to the CDC for final confirmation.

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time, according to DPH.

A second sanitization of the Stratton School occurred Monday, with crews using cleaning sprays and electrostatic machines, which are particularly effective at mitigating infections and viruses, with special attention to commonly touched surfaces and objects.

As always, children and adults should be reminded to take everyday precautionary steps to stay healthy, including handwashing, which is always the first line of defense against the spread of germs.

“We have an excellent team of professionals in the Town of Arlington who ensure our community is well-prepared to respond to a public health crisis,” Town Manager Chapdelaine said. “We have been in constant communication with the Department of Public Health, and all of our actions are being taken in consultation with state and local public health officials. I want to reassure everyone in our community that the risk remains low and Arlington is open for business.”

In a planning meeting on Friday, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Kevin Kelley implemented the federal Incident Command System. Director Waden was named the Incident Commander for COVID-19 preparedness and response in Arlington.

The Arlington Health Department will continue to monitor the global spread of COVID-19 and continue to keep residents informed.

For more information, the Town of Arlington Health and Human Services COVID-19 page or call the health department at 781-316-3170. You may also visit the DPH's website or the CDC's website.

Update March 8, 2020 

Town Announces First Presumptive Positive Case with Additional Tests Pending
Stratton Elementary School CLOSED Monday March 9, 2020
Public Health Director Natasha Waden, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno, and Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie report that the Town of Arlington has received notification of a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus, in a parent of an Arlington Public School student. That student is also showing symptoms and has been tested for COVID-19. As a result, officials have decided to close the Stratton Elementary School for Monday,. March 9, 2020.

Officials are awaiting test results on the student.

Town officials took into account, in deciding to close the Stratton School on Monday, that Arlington’s Board of Health believes that this is the first or one of the first COVID-19 tests on a symptomatic sitting student in a Massachusetts Public School whose parent tested positive for the illness.

“It is never an easy decision to close a school building. We are ever-mindful of childcare needs and family schedules, however we are faced with a challenging and uncertain situation,” Superintendent Bodie said. “Without test results in hand, and with a parent who has tested positive for COVID-19, the leadership team in Arlington unanimously feels that it is best to close the Stratton on Monday and re-evaluate during the day. I would like to thank our public health and public safety leaders as well as Town Manager Chapdelaine for their guidance and teamwork as we respond to our portion of this worldwide issue.”

Health officials are not recommending any further action on the part of school families. All other schools in Arlington will open Monday and operate normally. However, if families or children display symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not come to work or school.

The Town of Arlington was notified that a resident, a woman in her 40s who attended a Biogen employee conference last week developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. One of her children, who attends the Stratton School, is showing symptoms and is being tested, but those test results remain pending as of Sunday evening.

The second parent in the household and their other child, who attends the Gibbs School are symptom free but shall remain in self-quarantine until a 14-day period has elapsed, in accordance with guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Health (MDPH).

Arlington's health officials are also awaiting test results which involve another Arlington family, a member of which also attended the Biogen conference, whose children attend school at Dallin Elementary, Gibbs, and Arlington High School. None of those results are in yet, and in accordance with guidance received by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the other schools in Arlington shall remain open. That family is also in self-quarantine at this time.

Health Director Waden reports that the patient is at home and that these two families will continue to be monitored and supported by public health officials.

The Arlington presumptive positive case is included in the 15 cases announced by state public health officials Sunday. A total of 28 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Massachusetts as of Sunday afternoon. The Massachusetts State Public Health Lab’s results are considered “presumptive positive” and the specimens will now be sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for final confirmation.

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time.
The school district has already taken advantage of the empty buildings on the weekend to sanitize and disinfect the school buildings, including Dallin Elementary, Stratton Elementary, Gibbs Middle School, and Arlington High School. Cleaning crews have been on site since Sunday morning and will have those four buildings fully cleaned and disinfected before the start of school on Monday.

Crews will be back at the Stratton performing a second clean-up on Monday.
These efforts include the use of electrostatic machines and disinfecting spray, which are particularly effective at mitigating infections and viruses, with special attention to commonly touched surfaces and objects including but not limited to door handles, desks, chairs, gym equipment, floors, lavatories, teachers equipment, offices, and computers. These steps are not necessarily unusual, given that similar methods are used periodically during flu season anyway, and health officials remind residents that the seasonal flu remains a far more widespread danger to the general public than the coronavirus. Superintendent Kathleen Bodie wishes to thank and commend that APS facilities staff for their hard work Sunday.

"We have an excellent facilities staff at the Arlington Public Schools, and they have the latest and most effective cleaning tools and products at their disposal," Superintendent Bodie said. "As always we encourage everyone to practice good hand-washing routines and monitor themselves and their children for any signs of illness."

Any students who have to self-quarantine will be allowed to continue her lessons from home using the latest in virtual classroom technologies.

As always, children and adults should be reminded to take everyday precautionary steps to stay healthy, including:
- Wash hands frequently, with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds.
- When you are sick, stay home to protect others and practice social distancing.
- Always cover your cough or sneeze.

"The Town of Arlington is well-prepared to respond to the coronavirus situation. Our leadership teams are meeting weekly, and we have detailed plans and procedures in place to ensure safety and continuity of municipal services," Town Manager Chapdelaine said. "We have been meeting in anticipation that our community and any of our 43,000 residents could become ill, and we are delivering services and support to those affected by the coronavirus."

In a planning meeting on Friday, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Kevin Kelley implemented the federal Incident Command System. Director Waden was named the Incident Commander for COVID-19 preparedness and response in Arlington.

The Arlington Health Department will continue to monitor the global spread of COVID-19 and continue to keep residents informed.

For more information, the Town of Arlington Health and Human Services COVID-19 page or call the health department at 781-316-3170. You may also visit the DPH's website or the CDC's website.

Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available. 

Update March 6, 2020

The Town of Arlington is actively monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19. This is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation. The risk to Massachusetts residents remains low at this time. The Arlington Health Department is following guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Town officials are working on communication and preparedness efforts including members of public health, public safety, Arlington Public Schools, facilities, and Town Management officials. 

Emerging infectious disease is one of the many areas of Emergency Preparedness that the Health Department has worked on for many years. Although COVID-19 is new, Arlington is prepared to respond to any emergency situation. Due to the evolving nature of this situation, it is understandable for residents to feel concerned or anxious. Residents can expect recommendations may change and that the Health Department will provide updates as needed on this page.

Below you will find frequently asked questions to help you better understand the situation and what residents can do to be prepared.

1. 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.

www.cdc.gov/covid19
www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus

2. What can I do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

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

3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms reported by patients diagnosed with COVID-19 range from mild to severe and include, fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

4. What should I do if I develop a fever and/or respiratory illness?

It is cold and flu season in Massachusetts, which can present as the same symptoms as COVID-19. If you have not had contact with a person who has COVID-19, or if you have not traveled from an area with COVID-19 community spread, it is more likely that you have a cold or flu. If you develop symptoms, stay home. Contact your health care provider for guidance.

5. Will the Town be alerted of Arlington residents who have COVID-19?

MDPH will announce confirmed COVID-19 cases. Cases will be announced by county with gender and general age also provided. In order to ensure patient confidentiality, personal information will not be publicly announced. Guidance from the MDPH and CDC will be followed to reduce the spread of illness for individuals who may have made close contact with a person with COVID-19.

6. What if I traveled?

On March 4th the CDC issued a travel health alert for United States residents, instructing travelers returning from countries with a Level 3 alert (currently China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy) to self-quarantine (“stay home”) and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the US. Contact your health care provider if you have traveled and feel unwell. Before visiting your health care provider, disclose your symptoms and travel history.
The Health Department is following CDC monitoring guidance on travelers returning from China and Iran. 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

7. Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?

Massachusetts residents remain at low risk for COVID-19. At this time, health officials are not recommending residents who are well wear masks in public to protect themselves from respiratory illness, including COVID-19. A mask should only be worn if recommended by a healthcare professional.

8. Is there treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19?

No, there currently are no specific treatments or vaccines for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 may receive medical care to help relieve symptoms.

 

***

February 28 Update

 

Arlington Department of Health and Human Services Reminds Residents Risk of Coronavirus Remains Low
Health Officials Offer General Illness and Flu Prevention Tips

ARLINGTON -- The Arlington Health Department has been actively monitoring the global spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and wishes to notify residents that the risk of catching the virus remains low.

Members of the Arlington Health Department have been in communication with the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since January and continue to receive information on the status of the virus as it becomes available.
The Arlington Health Department works regularly to prepare for and prevent disease outbreaks, and this planning is done regionally and has been ongoing for approximately 15 years utilizing state and federal funds to ensure communities are ready in the event of a disease outbreak.

According to the DPH, contracting the flu is far more likely than COVID-19. The DPH announced the state's first, and currently only, case of the the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Feb. 1. The man who contracted the virus was returning from Wuhan, China and sought medical care shortly after his arrival in the state.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday that a new patient in California has contracted COVID-19, and may be the first case of community spread of the virus in the United States.

"We've been very closely monitoring updates regarding COVID-19, but it's very important that residents note that the risk of catching this virus is low," said Natasha Waden, Public Health Director. "We are in the thick of flu season, however, and we encourage residents to practice habits to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. These include frequent hand washing, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and covering your coughs and sneezes. These are steps that help keep you, and everyone around you, healthy."

As of Feb. 3, only 11 airports have been accepting travelers from mainland China in the U.S., none of which are in Massachusetts, according to the DPH. Those arriving at those airports are also being screened for the virus.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear within 2-14 days of exposure. The DPH reports that symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and pneumonia in severe cases.

At this time, the DPH is not recommending people wear masks in public as the risk to the public remains low and there is no substantial evidence suggesting wearing a mask protects an individual outside of preventing someone from spreading a respiratory illness to others in a clinic waiting room.

In an effort to prevent the spread of flu, colds and other respiratory illnesses, the Arlington Health Department wishes to provide residents with recommended actions from the DPH:
• Wash hands frequently, with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
• When sick yourself, stay home to protect others.
• Always cover your cough or sneeze
The CDC recommends everyone six-years-old and older gets an annual flu vaccine, with few, rare exceptions. The Arlington Health Department also wishes to remind residents that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine, and vaccines are still available at the Arlington Health Department. To schedule an appointment, contact Public Health Nurse Jessica Kerr at 781-316-3140.

For more information, visit the DPH's website and the CDC's website.