BROOKLINE — Health Commissioner Dr. Swannie Jett, Emergency Management Director John Sullivan and Town Administrator Mel Kleckner are urging residents to more closely follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines following a recent sustained increase in the number of cases of the illness in town.
Brookline has reported a total of 624 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including 67 new cases since Oct. 30. Brookline is currently averaging 10 new cases per day. This increase is attributable to community spread from a variety of sources.
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker also announced a variety of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. This follows weeks of increasing cases around the Commonwealth, with COVID-19 cases up 278% and hospitalizations up by 145% since Labor Day. These measures include revisions to the Massachusetts Face Covering Order, reduced gathering limits, and more. Please review the Governor’s new measures by clicking here.
“While we had been doing a good job keeping our numbers down over the summer and early fall, it’s clear that community spread is becoming a more significant concern and that we need to be more aggressive in preventing the spread of this virus,” Dr. Jett said. “With the holidays approaching, we want residents to remain mindful of the need to adhere to all of the COVID-19 safety guidelines and recommendations, and give thorough consideration to limiting their holiday celebrations this year in order to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
With the holiday season upon us, the Town of Brookline would like to share the following holiday safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration.
- Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible. If hosting an outdoor event is not possible, and you choose to host an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, or fully enclosed indoor spaces. As a reminder, the state’s gathering size limits are 10 people for indoor gatherings at private residences and 25 for outdoor gatherings at private residences.
- Avoid traveling for the holidays as traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread.
- During holiday celebrations, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people you don’t live with, wear a mask and avoid busy eating areas, such as restaurants during high volume mealtimes.
- If you participated in higher risk activities or think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) for 14 days after the event to protect others:
To view more holiday safety tips, visit the CDC’s COVID-19: Holiday Celebration page here.
The Town of Brookline has partnered with mPathy LLC to conduct COVID-19 testing for members of the community at the Brookline Department of Public Health building, 11 Pierce St.
For all questions related to COVID-19 testing in Brookline through this initiative, call 339-201-5516.
PCR swab tests are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments can be made by booking online here. The testing program will run until Dec. 31.
Testing is available for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, however, only the costs for those displaying symptoms will be processed through the patients’ health insurance provider. Asymptomatic individuals will be required to pay $140. Asymptomatic individuals who seek testing may request reimbursement for the expense through their insurance company.
General COVID-19 Safety
Town officials would also like to remind residents, especially young adults, of the COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH):
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing — maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others — is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain 6 feet from people outside your household
- Do not shake hands or hug
- Wash your hands often
- Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands.
- Wear a mask in indoor and outdoor public spaces. This does not apply to those under the age of five and with underlying health conditions, though the Town of Brookline requires those exempt from wearing face coverings to wear face shields as an alternative.
- Face coverings should:
- Cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with either ties or ear loops
- Permit breathing without difficulty
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
The Town encourages everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following websites are recommended for the most updated information:
- Town of Brookline’s COVID-19 resource page: BrooklineCOVID19.com
- Town of Brookline Official Website: www.brooklinema.gov
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: www.mass.gov/covid-19
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information: Click here or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
Residents can find information regarding the upcoming election and voting, municipal services and request limited services appointments here.