Although nobody in the community has been reported ill with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the town is looking to allay any concerns -- and take preventative action -- by wiping its municipal spaces clean.
FRANKLIN -- Although nobody in the community has been reported ill with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the town is looking to allay any concerns -- and take preventative action -- by wiping its municipal spaces clean.
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen said Franklin has engaged the services of an independent vendor to sanitize the town's public buildings over this weekend as a precaution.
From the municipal building to the senior center and library, to public spaces of the police and fire departments, officials want to ensure that residents feel confident when they need to stop in at town buildings amidst concerns about COVID-19.
"It feels like a step to take when you can say we have a new baseline," Hellen said.
The town is also taking steps to educate residents about the virus. Like other towns, Franklin has set up a special portal on its website through the health board with information for residents.
"As you can see, much of it is information driven by the state, with tips, but nonetheless is important to set up to make sure residents have the most up to date information," he said.
School officials are also keeping close tabs on developments, and ensuring the school spaces are sanitized as well.
"We are maintaining communication with our local health director and school nurse leader," said Franklin Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern. "We are following updated guidance from agencies such as the MA DPH, DESE, and CDC. Our facilities department is actively cleaning our schools, as recommended. We are also educating families about preventative measures that we can all take to stay healthy."
Franklin Director of Public Health Cathleen Liberty also reassures residents that the health department is receiving information from the state Department of Public Health regarding COVID-19, and will inform residents if any additional steps must be taken.
"The CDC has an excellent website providing us with information as well," Liberty said via email.
Residents are urged to follow the recommended precautions issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization.
"We really want to make sure people do not panic, wash their hands and do the simple things they can do" to prevent getting sick or spreading illness, Hellen said.
Liberty also cautioned against panicking over COVID-19, noting "the DPH is stating that there is a low risk of Massachusetts residents contracting the virus."
"The DPH also states that people should take normal precautions against any infection, including the flu, by washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home when you are sick," she said. "They are encouraging people to live their lives normally and go about their normal activities."
According to the CDC, at least 80 percent of those infected with COVID-19 are experiencing "mild" symptoms and are recovering on their own. As of Friday, there were seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, three of them in Norfolk County.
Precautions recommended by public health officials, include:
● Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Use Alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
● When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. You can also cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
● Avoid sharing drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, dishes, towels or other items. Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after use.
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick whenever possible.
● Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
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