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Yes, first responders have appropriate protective gear. The entire region has prepared for situations like this for decades. Personal Protective Equipment is available and available for use by all first responders including police, fire, EMS, and DPW.
Again, our first responders have been in training for this type of event for decades. We exercise on a regular basis. Our first order of business is Force Protection. Protecting the first responders and other officials so they can carry out their duties. Each department takes special precautions to ensure their forces are protected, have contingency plans if there is a breakdown, backup plans through support forces, and mutual aid from surrounding communities and the State for additional support. The entire system in Massachusetts is highly sophisticated with deep preparation and a high level of communication among the key players.
First, this is a pandemic that is being managed hour-by-hour and day-by-day by experienced, knowledgeable people who have been working in this field for decades. The medical community has extensive disaster preparedness plans in place and they are activating them. Most patients infected with COVID-19 will be told to isolate themselves in their own homes. The disease will run its course – like a rough bout of the flu – and then, after the patient shows no fever for 72 straight hours with no fever reducer, the patient will be cleared by their personal care provider. The only patients that will be taken to the hospital are those who absolutely require it. Our team has a full inventory of the resources that are available for transport and the hospitals have a full inventory of their resources and are creating or obtaining more resources such as beds and equipment.
The Town’s Core Management Team is in regular contact with other key players in the public health and public safety communities, state-wide and in the region. Again, self-isolation will be the primary response to most diagnoses of COVID-19. Hospitals will be taxed and those organizations are taking steps now to prepare such as canceling elective surgery and freeing up as many beds as they can. There may, however, be external limitations that face the entire country.
The State Department of Health is the central point for gathering all information on confirmed cases of COVID-19. This information is available in real-time by our Health Department professionals. It is confidential and can not be shared. There is a protocol in place if there is an identified case that includes a full history and tracking of contacts. This includes identifying the individuals that need to be contacted based on certain protocols and those people are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The Town has a multi-layered communications system. We recommend the following options: