BROOKLINE — The Town of Brookline and Department of Brookline Public Health wish to keep members of the community updated on the town’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are currently 341 positive cases of coronavirus that have been identified among Brookline residents, and 38 of those people have died as a result of COVID-19.
Further data about Brookline’s COVID-19 cases is updated periodically online at brooklinecovid19.com/cases.
Antibody Testing Update
Last week, the Town of Brookline conducted antibody testing on more than 200 town employees and first responders, plus more than 400 residents who were largely selected at random.
Of the 689 residents, first responders and town employees tested for antibodies late last week, 47 — or 6.82% — tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies that are an indicator of past infection. The town had initially invited hundreds of randomly-selected residents to take part in the anti-body testing program, and subsequently opened the testing event to all residents via social media.
“The results of these tests show that our community has a very low exposure to COVID-19 at this stage, which means the vast majority of residents are potentially at-risk of getting sick and should continue to take preventive steps to avoid the virus,” Public Health Director Dr. Swannie Jett said.
The results indicate that asymptomatic exposure to the novel coronavirus is low in Brookline, and that residents should remain vigilant in covering their faces, maintaining social distancing and adhering to the state’s safer-at-home policy by remaining home whenever possible.
All who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies have been notified already. Those who were tested but have not received a follow-up call have tested negative for antibodies and will not be called directly.
Sharps Disposal Kiosks Available to Residents
The Brookline Departments of Public Health and Public Works are pleased to announce that outside sharps disposal kiosks have been installed at the following three locations:
- Brookline Department of Public Health, 11 Pierce Street.
- Public Safety Building, 350 Washington Street.
- Brookline Council on Aging, 93 Winchester Street.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have not had access to the current sharps containers as they are located inside designated municipal buildings. These new outdoor locations will greatly assist our residents with proper sharps disposal,” noted Dr. Jett said.
Brookline residents are reminded to follow Food and Drug Administration recommendations when disposing of used needles and other sharps.
Step 1: Place all needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container immediately after they have been used. Doing so will reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts and punctures from loose sharps. Sharps disposal containers should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Remember that overfilling a sharps disposal container increases the risk of accidental needle-stick injury. When your sharps disposal container is about three-quarters full, follow your community guidelines for getting rid of the container (below).
DO NOT reuse sharps disposal containers.
Step 2: Dispose of used sharps disposal containers according to your community guidelines.
In Brookline, needles and other sharps MUST be in containers. Loose needles are not accepted or allowed in town kiosks. The outdoor kiosks are for household use only.
Medical offices are not permitted to use public sharps disposal kiosks.
For further information please call the Brookline Department of Public Health, 617-730-2300, during normal business hours.
Public Memorial Day Events Cancelled, But Remembrance Will Continue
The Brookline Office of Veterans’ Services announces that there will not be a public Memorial Day service this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that there will still be an observance of the service and sacrifice of those who have died in battle.
In conjunction with VFW Post 864 and American Legion Post 11, the town will honor those who have died in service to their country in a private ceremony that will be broadcast by Brookline Interactive Group.
In upholding tradition, flags have been placed at veterans’ graves by staff from the Department of Public Works, as well as a small group of volunteers. Additional flags were left at the Walnut Hills and Holyhood cemeteries for loved ones to place at any graves that might have been missed.
“As Director of Veterans’ Services, I know how much the Memorial Day observance means to so many of our families and I am so sorry we can’t conduct a public ceremony this year,” Director of Veterans’ Services William T. McGroarty said. “I have worked with two families tragically impacted by the COVID-19 virus and I think it would be unwise to risk the health of the living to honor those who have passed, though their sacrifice will be honored nonetheless. It is my hope that we all stay safe and healthy and are able to gather next year to honor those that have passed.”
Safety Net Fund Update
The Brookline Community Foundation’s Safety Net Fund has been mobilized to support members of the community who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who are eligible to draw support from the Safety Net Fund include anyone who lives, works or attends school in Brookline.
Since it began raising money in response to COVID-19 in mid-March, the Fund has raised $495,074, including $20,374 in the last week. In addition, the town has pledged $500,000 of support for the fund to help provide critical financial aid to those in need.
To donate to the Safety Net Fund, click here.
For information on accessing the services provided by the Safety Net Fund, call The Brookline Center at 617-277-8107.
Additional Updates, In Case You Missed Them
Recreation Survey Live Now
Brookline Recreation has invited residents to fill out a brief survey related to programming as it works to plan for future offerings with the impacts of COVID-19 in mind.
To complete the survey, click here.
Businesses Invited to Join #ShopBrookline Storefront Signage Program
In partnership with the Brookline business community, the Town of Brookline has created a coordinated storefront signage program to fill Brookline’s commercial areas with bright, positive messaging and clearly communicate how Brookline businesses are open for business during COVID-19. Read the full #ShopBrookline Sign Program Press Release here.
Storefront signs, which are 18×24 inches and free to Brookline businesses, are now available. Request a sign for your storefront here. A #ShopBrookline social media kit will also be available soon.
Participating businesses can be included in the Brookline Chamber of Commerce’s Open for Business Database by submitting the following information to Debbie Miller (email@example.com), the Chamber’s Executive Director:
- Business name
- Business type (i.e. restaurant, service, retail, or nonprofit org)
- Sign type requested (i.e. Delivery and/or takeout, Online offerings, We are open, Be back soon)
- Business website
- Business Email (optional)
- Business Phone (optional)
- Short description of how your business is currently operating amid COVID-19
Brookline Launches Diverse Community Virtual Display
Brookline’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations is hosting a Diverse Community Virtual Display, which celebrates the many diverse communities, heritages, identities and stories shared by residents.
In the past, the Office has marked Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May and celebrated diverse communities and identities in June by displaying items at the library. Due to ongoing social distancing requirements, that programming has been moved online. Residents are invited to submit photographs, videos, written content and any other creative media they have that highlights their heritage.
Residents can make submissions through the end of June by emailing Caitlin Starr at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 617-730-2345.
Outside Your Home? Cover Your Face
The Town of Brookline and the Brookline Department of Public Health continue to require all individuals over age two to wear a mask while in public, and the Commonwealth has likewise required those in public to wear a mask where social distancing is not possible.
Those with a chronic medical condition that inhibits their breathing are exempted from wearing a mask or face covering.
For more information about face coverings, visit BrooklineCOVID19.com/face-coverings.