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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

The coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a contagious disease that is infecting people across the United States. This webpage will provide Brewster residents with information about Town activities related to the coronavirus, as well as trustworthy sources of additional information.

What is Coronavirus and How Does It Spread?
Coronavirus is a respiratory infection that can be spread from one person to another. It appears to spread between people who are in close contact with each other (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Coronavirus Symptoms
This coronavirus (COVID-19) causes respiratory (lung) infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • In more serious case, pneumonia (a lung infection) may develop

Coronavirus Prevention
There are actions you and your family can take to protect yourselves from the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol concentration of at least 60%
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and others if we experience coronavirus in our community – especially if you are at higher risk of getting sick. Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Routinely clean hard surfaces and areas where germs may collect.

Coronavirus Treatment
There are no treatments or vaccine for COVID-19. Patients can receive treatment to relieve symptoms - for example, medications for cough and fever.

Coronavirus Checklist for Getting Your Home Ready
Review this CDC guidance so your home is prepared. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/checklist-household-ready.html

Travel from High Risk Areas

  • If you recently returned from travel to China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran, the CDC recommends that you self-quarantine for a period of fourteen (14) days from the date you left the country in question.

Coronavirus Information Resources

A Caution About Untrustworthy Coronavirus Information
Make sure you get your information from trusted sources, and that you follow guidance from the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Brewster Health Department.

Self-Quarantine
In some cases, people may be directed to “self-quarantine” if they are suspected of having the coronavirus or recently traveled to a country with many cases.

  • Self-quarantine (or home isolation) means you:
    • Stay at home except for getting medical care.
    • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, and taxis.
    • Stay away from other people and pets in your home and use a separate bathroom if possible.
    • No visitors should come to your home.
    • If you need medical care, call ahead for guidance unless it is an emergency.
    • Avoid sharing household items.
    • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Wear a facemask if around other people.
    • Cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue.
    • Monitor for any symptoms, or worsening symptoms.
    • Discontinue self-quarantine only in consultation with a health care provided.

The Brewster Health Department

  • If you have questions about the coronavirus, contact the Brewster Health Department at (508) 896-3701 ext. 1120 or by email.

Amy von Hone, Health Director
avonhone@brewster-ma.gov

Sherrie McCullough, Assistant Health Director
smccullough@brewster-ma.gov

Tammi Mason, Senior Department Assistant
tmason@brewster-ma.gov
 

 

Brewster Fire/Rescue Implements Recommended Public Health Protocols

To the Brewster community, your Fire and EMS personnel are looking a little different when they show up to emergency medical calls these days. Pictured, here is Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Hogg shown wearing some of the personal protective equipment commonly being worn by our staff members amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Brewster Fire Rescue would like all or our residents to know that we continue to respond to the fire and emergency medical needs of our local and regional communities during the current pandemic event. We continue to work with town departments such as Police, Health, DPW, Emergency Management, Water and County and State assets on a daily basis to ensure we provide the highest level of care to our community while dealing with the COVID-19 virus.

Read more: Brewster Fire/Rescue Implements Recommended Public Health Protocols

Brewster Council on Aging Partners with Nauset Schools to Deliver Meals to our Senior Residents

The Council on Aging, with the assistance of our partners at Nauset Schools Food Service and the Brewster Recreation Department, delivered hot meals to 27 of our senior residents this week. If you are in need of a hot meal and are not part of the Meals on Wheels Program, please call the Brewster Council on Aging at 508-896-2737. Meals will be delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 11:30am and 1pm. These meals are free and food safety protocols are in place for home delivery.

In addition, the Council on Aging is offering grocery delivery and prescription pick up for seniors in need. A Council on Aging staff member will be available to answer your calls on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 to 11am. At all other times, please leave us a message and one of our staff will return your call promptly.

The Brewster COA is an excellent resource for residents who are 60 and older. Senior residents seeking assistance or referrals are encouraged to call. Stay Strong, Stay Safe, Stay Home. We are here for you.

We have also compiled List of Food Resources and Other Supports For Brewster Residents which is available in PDF format.

Federal Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 Response

On Saturday, in response to Governor Charlie Baker’s request for federal disaster assistance, the White House and FEMA announced that the President has issued a Major Disaster Declaration that will make federal disaster assistance available beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020. 

Federal aid will be available to cities and towns, state agencies and certain non-profits in all Massachusetts counties to help pay for emergency protective measures (response costs) related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disaster declaration has activated the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Public Assistance (PA) Program for all counties, making federal funding available to local governments, state agencies, and eligible private non-profit organizations for eligible emergency protective measures (FEMA Public Assistance Category B). The incident period is from January 20, 2020 and continuing.

It is important that applicants track their costs for the duration of the response to be ready to submit for reimbursement once the crisis has passed.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will provide webinars and other information about the process for applying for the Public Assistance Program to municipal and state officials and eligible non-profits. See here for more information.

Brewster To Provide Regular Updates on Number of Coronavirus Cases

Following updated guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Brewster town officials will be providing regular updates on the current number of Brewster residents who have officially tested positive for coronavirus. Brewster’s first 2 cases were confirmed on March 21. As of April 3, there are 10 positive cases reported in Brewster. 

IRS: Economic impact payments: What you need to know

Check IRS.gov for the latest information: No action needed by most people at this time

IR-2020-61, March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

Read more: IRS: Economic impact payments: What you need to know

Statewide Essential Services Order and Stay at Home Advisory Extended to May 4

On March 31, 2020 Governor Baker announced an extension of his earlier statewide order closing all non-essential businesses and advising residents to stay at home and to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people through May 4. The state also provided additional guidance on how the essential services order applies to lodging facilities. Please click on the links below for more details.

Brewster town officials ask that all residents abide by these directives.

Information on Public Meetings & Remote Participation

In light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Governor Baker issued an emergency Order on March 12, 2020 allowing public bodies greater flexibility in utilizing technology in the conduct of meetings under the Open Meeting Law. The Town of Brewster greatly values the participation of its citizens in the public meeting process but, given the current circumstances and recommendations at both the state and federal levels to limit or avoid public gatherings, including Governor Baker’s ban on gatherings of more than 25 people, together with the present closure of Brewster Town Hall and all other town offices to the public, the Town of Brewster has decided to implement the “remote participation” procedures allowed under Governor Baker’s emergency Order for all boards, committees, and commissions. This means that:

  • All or any of the members of the public body may choose to participate in a public meeting via remote access. Meetings may be virtual, in their entirety.
  • The public will not be allowed into a Board/Committee meeting, even where there are any members of the public body and/or Town of Brewster staff or official(s) physically present at the meeting location during the meeting. “Public comment” portions of meetings will be temporarily suspended. However, residents are encouraged to send written comments to the following relevant email addresses in advance of and/or duringeach meeting:
  • All relevant comments will be verbally shared to Board and Committee members by Town staff at the appropriate time as part of the meeting proceedings and will be entered into the meeting minute records.
  • All supporting materials for each of these meetings will be available in advance on the Town’s website. Both the web address for meeting materials and the email address for public comment will be listed on the board, committee, or commission meeting agenda.
  • In addition, the public will be provided with alternative access through which they can watch or listen to meetings “in real time” via the livestreaming feature on our Town website and/or via Channel 18. Meeting notices will specify the manner in which members of the public may access audio or video of the meeting as it is occurring.
  • If, despite our best efforts, our technological capabilities do not adequately support public access to virtual or remote meetings, the Town of Brewster will ensure that an audio or video recording, transcript, or other comprehensive record of the proceedings at the meeting is posted on the Town’s website as soon as possible after the meeting.

Notices for public hearings will contain additional information about how the public may participate via electronic/technological means.

For executive session meetings, public access to the meeting will be limited to the open session portion(s) of the meeting only. Public access to any audio, video, internet or web-based broadcast of the meeting will be discontinued when the public body enters executive session.

Where individuals have a right, or are required, to attend a public meeting or hearing, including executive session meetings, they will be provided with information about how to participate in the meeting/hearing remotely.

Meeting notices will still be posted at least 48 hours in advance (not counting Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays), unless it is an emergency meeting as defined under the Open Meeting Law (in which event, the meeting notice will be posted with as much advanced notice as is possible in the circumstances). Minutes will still be taken.

Please check individual meeting agendas on the calendar on the Town’s website, located at www.brewster-ma.gov for the latest information regarding meetings. Each meeting may experience unique circumstances that may require last minute changes in protocol, including cancellation or rescheduling. We appreciate your patience as we undergo this shift in a significant aspect of how the Town of Brewster conducts business.


  

All Out-Of-State Visitors Urged To Self-Isolate

The Town of Brewster urges those who have recently returned or are planning to return to Brewster from any other out-of-state areas to self-isolate in their homes for a period of fourteen (14) days. This action is consistent with recent public health guidance provided by federal, state, and county officials.

This voluntary self-isolation, out of an abundance of caution, is necessary because incidence rates across the country are accelerating at alarming rates. Self-isolation for 14 days will help curb the spread of the disease in Brewster and across the Cape, and it will reduce the burden on our critical infrastructure, including first responders, hospitals, and health care workers.

We strongly urge all new arrivals to Brewster to take special steps to distance themselves when buying groceries or undertaking other essential activities in our community. New arrivals should practice social distancing, avoid group gatherings, monitor their health, and contact a health care provider if symptoms such as fever with cough or shortness of breath occur.

For more information about testing and how to protect yourself and others from this highly contagious disease, please visit:

You may call the Massachusetts non-emergency information phone line by dialing 211.

New Online Tool Lets People Assess Their Own Possible Coronavirus Symptoms

Town of Brewster – The State of Massachusetts has launched an online tool to help people determine if they might have coronavirus and to find the right care. The tool is called “Buoy” and has a “Symptom Checker” where a resident identifies symptoms they have and then receives advice on how to manage them. 

The tool is easy to use and free for Massachusetts residents. Buoy also provides information on self-quarantine, self-isolation, and other relevant topics. The State reminds users that Buoy should not be used in an emergency, but should call 911 or visit the closest emergency department. 

To use Buoy, visit: https://www.buoyhealth.com