Town Remains in Red “High Risk” Category
SWANSEA — Town Administrator Mallory Aronstein is urging residents to closely follow COVID-19 prevention guidance following a recent sustained increase in the number of cases in town and continued designation as a red “high risk” community.
The town will be postponing its Town Meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23, to a later date. Details regarding a new date for the meeting will be shared when they are available.
Additionally, the Swansea Free Public Library is reverting back to curbside pickup services only starting Monday, Nov. 23. Curbside pickup is available by phone at 508-674-9609.
According to the public health data released on Thursday, Nov. 19, the town’s designation remains in the red “high risk” category. This designation indicates more than or equal to 10 average cases per 100,000 residents and more than or equal to a 5% positivity rate.
According to Thursday’s data, there have been 147 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Swansea over the past two weeks. Swansea’s average daily incidence rate has risen to 65.8 per 100,000 residents, up from last week’s rate of 37.6. The town’s percent positivity rate is 8.87%.
“It’s important that we do not let our guard down. Despite waning cases over the summer, COVID-19 has not gone away and our case counts are rising once again,” Town Administrator Aronstein said. “Please limit the places you go and the contacts you have with others to not only decrease your risk of contracting the virus, but aid in preventing its spread as well. As Thanksgiving approaches next week, we cannot stress enough how important it is for residents to be vigilant and responsible as they celebrate while closely following public health guidance.”
Residents should continue to wear face coverings at all times while in public — indoors and outside — as well as practice social distancing and avoid gatherings. Residents are also encouraged to regularly wash their hands, and avoid touching their faces in order to reduce the risk of virus spread.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traveling increases one’s potential to be exposed to COVID-19 and of potentially spreading it to others, and the CDC strongly recommends that people do not travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Staying home and observing the holidays with those in your household or hosting a virtual celebration are the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Those who do travel must abide by the Commonwealth’s travel order, which can be found here.
For more guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving amid COVID-19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), click here.
Residents are reminded that the closest Stop the Spread testing sites are located in Fall River or New Bedford. For information about testing availability nearby through the Stop the Spread initiative, click here.
COVID-19 prevention tips from the DPH include:
- 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.
- 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.
Swansea residents with questions may additionally contact the Swansea Board of Health at 508-324-6704.