Town of North Reading Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Information

April 3, 2020 Letter from the Town Administrator and Director of Public Health

Please click here to read a letter from the Town Administrator and Public Health Director regarding the first COVID-19 related death of a North Reading resident:

https://www.northreadingma.gov/sites/northreadingma/files/news/letter_announcing_deceased_case_4-3-2020.pdf

Previous updates are below.

March 31, 2020 at 8:00 PM

To date, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has notified the Town of North Reading of 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Reading.  Three cases have recovered, and the North Reading Health Department continues to monitor the remaining 15 cases.  The Town has assigned additional Town and other resources to assist the Health Department in investigating the new and potential future cases, and will be notifying close contacts as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.  Future announcements providing an update of case numbers in North Reading will be issued twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Case investigations will continue to commence immediately, and direct notification of close contacts will continue to occur as soon as possible.

The following are additional updates:

  • On March 31, Governor Baker issued an order extending the closure of non-essential businesses and organizations for in-person operations until May 4.  For the original order, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-23-2020-essential-services-and-revised-gatherings-order/download
  • North Reading Town Hall remains operational but closed to the public and for public meetings through May 3, 2020.  Many functions have been transitioned to remote locations.  Residents are reminded that many financial transactions may be conducted online here:  https://www.northreadingma.gov/tax-collector-treasurer/pages/bills-and-payments and the fee for these services has been suspended.  There is also a drop-box for the Tax Collector’s Office located at the main entrance to the Town Hall.  Other services may be accessed via the Town website at www.northreadingma.gov, by email, or by calling the following numbers and leaving a message so that the call may be returned:
    • Accounting: (978) 357-5222
    • Assessors: (978) 357-5221
    • Building Department: (978) 357-5240
    • Conservation: (978) 357-5248
    • DPW, including Director, Engineering, Operations, GIS, and Facilities: (978) 357-5260
    • DPW - Water Department: (978) 664-6046
    • Health Department: (978) 357-5242
    • Human Resources: (978) 357-5265
    • Human Services COVID-19 Hotline: (978) 357-5300
    • Information Technology: (978) 357-5255
    • Parks and Recreation: (978) 357-5216
    • Planning: (978) 357-5250
    • Tax Collector / Treasurer: (978) 357-5220
    • Town Administrator: (978) 357-5210
    • Town Clerk: (978) 357-5230
    • Veterans Services: (978) 357-5212
    • Youth Services: (978) 357-5281
  • Other important numbers:
    • EMERGENCY: Dial 911
    • Elder Services Department (Edith O’Leary Senior Center): (978) 664-5600
    • Fire Department (non-emergency): (978) 664-3112
    • Flint Memorial Library: (978) 664-4942
    • Mental Health / Substance Abuse Treatment and Resources: (978) 357-5038
    • Police Department (non-emergency): (978) 664-3131
    • Substance/Tobacco Resources and Questions: (978) 357-5054
  • Individual residents in need of assistance at home are encouraged to reach out to “In This Together: 01864” at https://sites.google.com/view/inthistogether01864/home .  The Town has established a human service hotline at (978)-357-5300 for residents who prefer to call Town Hall.  Please leave a message if your call is not answered and your call will be returned.

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Older adults and those with health issues are urged to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.

For more information about COVID – 19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Previous updates may be found below.

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March 28, 2020 at 11:00 AM

The Town has been notified of four additional positive cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Reading as of March 28th to ten.  The Town is investigating these cases and will be notifying close contacts as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

North Reading parks including Ipswich River Park and the track at Arthur Kenney Field are open for passive recreation today. The public is respectfully asked to maintain social distancing when visiting park grounds.  Fields and recreational amenities that promote large gatherings such as basketball courts and the street hockey rink, as well as structures with surfaces that could allow for the transmission of viruses such as playgrounds, are closed to public use. Hillview Golf Course is closed.

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Older adults and those with health issues are urged to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.

For more information about COVID – 19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

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March 25, 2020 at 8:00 PM

The Town has been notified of four additional positive cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Reading to six.  The Town is investigating these cases and will be notifying close contacts as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

Today, Governor Baker extended the closure of schools until May 4, 2020.  North Reading Public Schools will be closed until that date.  More information may be found here: https://www.north-reading.k12.ma.us/district/urgent-alerts/no-school-friday-march-13-through-tuesday-april-7-2020-and-covid-19-updates

The following are additional updates regarding municipal services:

  • North Reading parks including Ipswich River Park and the track at Arthur Kenney Field remain open for passive recreation. Fields and recreational amenities that promote large gatherings, as well as structures with surfaces that could allow for the transmission of viruses, are closed to public use.  Permits for organized use have been suspended through May 3rd.  The public is respectfully asked to obey the posted closure notices.
  • North Reading Parks and Recreation has cancelled all programming through May 3rd.
  • Edith O’Leary Senior Center has suspended all programming through May 3rd.  The Center remains accessible via telephone during working hours by calling 978-664-5600 and leaving a message, or via email at mprenney@northreadingma.gov .  The Meals on Wheels program remains operational.
  • Flint Memorial Library is closed through May 3rd, however residents are encouraged to please visit the “Virtual Library” at http://flintmemoriallibrary.org/at-home/ .  Programming and use of the Activity Room has been suspended through May 3rd.
  • Individual residents in need of assistance at home are encouraged to reach out to “In This Together: 01864” at https://sites.google.com/view/inthistogether01864/home .  The Town has established a human service hotline at (978)-357-5300 for residents who prefer to call Town Hall.  Please leave a message if your call is not answered and your call will be returned.
  • The North Reading Food Pantry continues to operate, however clients may see continued changes being made to the way the room is accessed to comply with social distancing best practices.  Your patience and cooperation is appreciated.  For more information about the Food Pantry, click here https://nrfoodpantry.org/ .

Individuals in need of unemployment assistance can access resources here: https://www.mass.gov/topics/unemployment

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Older adults and those with health issues are urged to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.

For more information about COVID – 19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Previous updates may be found below.

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March 23, 2020 at 7:00 PM

Town officials continue to implement the Town’s response to the situation concerning COVID-19, and are responding using guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as Executive Orders issued by Governor Charlie Baker.

The Town has been notified of a second presumptive positive case and is in the process of investigating the case and notifying close contacts as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

The Town offers the following updates for its residents:

  • The Board of Health and Select Board have approved a Local Declaration of Emergency.
  • Non-essential businesses have been ordered to close by Governor Baker.  Please see additional information here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-23-2020-essential-services-and-revised-gatherings-order/download
  • North Reading Town Hall remains operational however many functions have been transitioned to remote locations through April 7th.  Residents are reminded that many financial transactions may be conducted online here:  https://www.northreadingma.gov/tax-collector-treasurer/pages/bills-and-payments .   All water/trash and motor vehicle excise payment due dates have been extended to April 6, 2020 with no additional charges.  Other services may be accessed via the Town website at www.northreadingma.gov , by email, or by calling the following numbers and leaving a message so that the call may be returned:
    • Accounting: (978) 357-5222
    • Assessors: (978) 357-5221
    • Building Department: (978) 357-5240
    • Conservation: (978) 357-5248
    • DPW, including Director, Engineering, Operations, GIS, and Facilities: (978) 357-5260
    • DPW - Water Department: (978) 664-6046
    • Health Department: (978) 357-5242
    • Human Resources: (978) 357-5265
    • Human Services COVID-19 Hotline: (978) 357-5300
    • Information Technology: (978) 357-5255
    • Parks and Recreation: (978) 357-5216
    • Planning: (978) 357-5250
    • Tax Collector / Treasurer: (978) 357-5220
    • Town Administrator: (978) 357-5210
    • Town Clerk: (978) 357-5230
    • Veterans Services: (978) 357-5212
    • Youth Services: (978) 357-5281
  • Individual residents in need of assistance at home are encouraged to reach out to “In This Together: 01864” at https://sites.google.com/view/inthistogether01864/home .  The Town has established a human service hotline at (978)-357-5300 for residents who prefer to call Town Hall.  Please leave a message if your call is not answered and your call will be returned.
  • Edith O’Leary Senior Center has suspended all programming through April 13th.  The Center remains staffed and accessible via telephone during working hours at 978-664-5600 or via email at mprenney@northreadingma.gov , however the building is closed for walk-in service.  Appointments may be scheduled in advance when necessary.  The Meals on Wheels program remains operational. 
  • Hillview Golf Course closed on Monday, March 23rd and will remain closed through April 7th.
  • North Reading parks including Ipswich River Park and the track at Arthur Kenney Field remain open for passive recreation. Fields and recreational amenities that promote large gatherings, as well as structures with surfaces that could allow for the transmission of viruses, are closed to public use.  Permits for organized use have been suspended through Tuesday, April 7th.  The public is respectfully asked to obey the posted closure notices.
  • Flint Memorial Library is closed through Tuesday, April 7th, however residents are encouraged to please visit the “Virtual Library” at http://flintmemoriallibrary.org/at-home/ . Programming and use of the Activity Room has been suspended through April 7th.
  • North Reading Police and Fire Departments are operational.  If you are looking to contact the North Reading Fire Department for routine business, please call the business line at 978-664-3112. If you are looking for Fire Prevention or Sprinkler/Fire Alarm Permits or Permit Inspections please call 978-664-6054.  If you arrive, in person, to the Fire station with any sort of emergency, there is a yellow call box at the front door which will connect you directly to dispatch.
  • The North Reading Food Pantry continues to operate, however clients may see continued changes being made to the way the room is accessed to comply with social distancing best practices.  Your patience and cooperation is appreciated.  For more information about the Food Pantry, click here https://nrfoodpantry.org/
  • In accordance with the Governor’s order, North Reading Public Schools will be closed through April 7, 2020.  For more information, please visit https://www.north-reading.k12.ma.us/district/urgent-alerts/no-school-friday-march-13-through-tuesday-april-7-2020-and-covid-19-updates
  • North Reading Parks and Recreation has cancelled all programming through Tuesday, April 7th.

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Older adults and those with health issues are urged to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.

For more information about COVID – 19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Previous updates are below.

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March 20, 2020 at 9:00 PM

The Board of Health approved a Local Declaration of Emergency effective March 19, 2020, and the Select Board will consider a similar Declaration at its Monday, March 23, 2020 virtual meeting.  More information regarding the virtual meeting will be posted online at www.northreadingma.gov.

There have been no additional presumptive positive cases of COVID -19 reported to the Town.


Effective Monday, March 23. 2020, per order of the Board of Health, all services offered to the public which cannot be provided by keeping a distance of at least six (6) feet between individuals are hereby ordered to close until further order.  The prohibition in this order includes but is not limited to: hairdressers, barbers and salons, nail salons, massage services, tanning, laser hair removal, body art, body work, piercing, personal training, fitness centers, and all other business and commercial activities involving the touching of another person.  This order shall apply to all such activities whether comprising all or only a portion of a particular business.  This order does NOT apply to services provided by a licensed health-care provider such as, but not limited to, doctors, dentists, urgent care facilities, physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy.

Additionally, the Board of Health is encouraging all retail establishments that do not sell essential commodities such as food, medicine or cleaning supplies to consider voluntarily closing until this order is lifted.  The Board of Health is also recommending that all retail establishments that do stay open should only do so if they can assure that customers and employees will be able to maintain social distancing practices consistent with CDC guidelines of six feet of personal separation.   

North Reading parks including Ipswich River Park and the track at Arthur Kenney Field remain open for passive recreation. Fields and recreational amenities that promote large gatherings, as well as structures with surfaces that could allow for the transmission of viruses, are closed to public use.  Permits for organized use have been suspended through Tuesday, April 7th. 
 

Hillview Golf Course is open with social distancing requirements in effect.

North Reading Police and Fire Departmemts are operational.  If you are looking to contact the North Reading Fire Department for routine business, please call the business line at 978-664-3112. If you are looking for Fire Prevention or Sprinkler/Fire Alarm Permits or Permit Inspections please call 978-664-6054.  If you arrive, in person, to the Fire station with any sort of emergency, there is a yellow call box at the front door which will connect you directly to dispatch. 

The North Reading Food Pantry continues to operate, however clients will see some changes have been made to the way the room is accessed to comply with social distancing best practices.  Your patience and cooperation is appreciated.  For more information about the Food Pantry, click here https://nrfoodpantry.org/

Previously outlined service changes remain in effect and may be found below.


March 15, 2020 at 8:30 PM

Town officials continue to implement the Town’s response to the situation concerning COVID-19, and are responding using guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as Executive Orders issued by Governor Charlie Baker.

There have been no additional presumptive cases of COVID -19 reported to the Town.

The Town offers the following updates for its residents:

  • North Reading Town Hall remains operational however walk-in service has been suspended until Tuesday, April 7th.  In-person service may occur in a designated area as necessary by appointment only.  To access Town Hall services, please visit www.northreadingma.gov or call 978-357-5210.  Residents are reminded that many financial transactions may be conducted online here:  https://www.northreadingma.gov/tax-collector-treasurer/pages/bills-and-payments  and the fee for ACH services will be suspended.  Refunds for transactions that occurred after 8:00 PM on Sunday, March 15th will be available.  North Reading Fire, Police, and Public Works departments remain operational.  Trash and recycling collection will occur on Tuesday as scheduled.
  • The North Reading Food Pantry continues to operate, however clients will see some changes have been made to the way the room is accessed to comply with social distancing best practices.  Your patience and cooperation is appreciated.  For more information about the Food Pantry, click here https://nrfoodpantry.org/
  • In accordance with the Governor’s order, North Reading Public Schools will be closed through April 7, 2020.  For more information, please visit https://www.north-reading.k12.ma.us/district/urgent-alerts/no-school-friday-march-13-through-tuesday-april-7-2020-and-covid-19-updates
  • Flint Memorial Library will remain closed through Tuesday, April 7th.  Programming and use of the Activity Room has been suspended through April 7th.  Limited staff will be working to expand and enhance online services, and more information will be released by the Library in the next few days,
  • Edith O’Leary Senior Center has suspended all programming through April 13th.  The Center remains staffed and accessible via telephone during working hours at 978-664-5600 or via email at mprenney@northreadingma.gov , however the building is closed for walk-in service.  Appointments may be scheduled in advance when necessary.  The Meals on Wheels program remains operational.  Elder Services intends to resume limited one-to-one transportation this in the next few days.
  • North Reading Parks and Recreation has cancelled all programming through Tuesday, April 7th.  The Parks and Recreation Wine and Food Social scheduled for March 27th has also been cancelled.
  • While North Reading parks remain open, permits for organized use have been suspended through Tuesday, April 7th.  Certain recreational structures with surfaces that could allow for the transmission of viruses may be closed to public use.

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Older adults and those with health issues are urged to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.

For more information about COVID – 19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

This continues to be an evolving situation, and Town officials have been working hard to sustain core municipal services for our residents.  As the situation continues to evolve, additional changes may be required to the manner in which services are provided.  The public is thanked for its continued patience and cooperation.

Michael P. Gilleberto, Town Administrator

Previous updates are below.

March 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) notified the Town of North Reading’s Board of Health that a North Reading resident, who attended the Biogen conference in Boston, has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.  The resident was tested for COVID-19 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Saturday, March 7, 2020. 

At this time, the case investigation has indicated that the resident has been in self-isolation and there is no connection to the North Reading Public Schools.  The resident has contact with a child care facility in another community.  The Town of North Reading has notified that community, which will conduct the appropriate investigation and outreach within that community.

The resident is recovering at home, is doing well, and will be monitored and supported by local public health officials.

As of March 11, according to MDPH there are 86 presumptive positive cases of COVID -19 in Massachusetts.  Massachusetts State Public Health Lab results are considered “presumptive positive” and are sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for final confirmation.  Six additional cases have been confirmed by CDC as of March 11th.

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March 10, 2020 at 7:15 PM

Although there are currently no presumptive cases of COVID – 19 in North Reading, Town officials continue to closely follow the guidance issued by the state and federal governments.  This evening, Town officials including Health, Police, Fire, Emergency Management, Schools, Parks and Recreation, Elder Services, Human Resources, Flint Memorial Library, and Administration held a planning and response meeting to discuss the impacts of Governor Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency as well as next steps for the Town of North Reading

Based on the state’s actions cancelling in-person conferences, seminars and other discretionary gatherings scheduled and hosted by Executive Branch agencies involving external parties, residents should expect disruption to discretionary Town and School-sponsored activities, and to non-Town/School sponsored activities scheduled to be held at Town or School buildings over the next 30 days.  Information regarding specific cancellations or postponements will be issued by the activity’s sponsor or host.  It is important to note that Town government and departments remain in operation.

This is an evolving situation, and we will adjust our response as circumstances require.  As has been the case for the past few weeks, Town Officials will continue to update the community as new information becomes available.  The public’s patience and cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Older adults and those with health issues are urged to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.
  • Think ahead about how to take care of yourself and loved ones if the virus starts spreading in the community.

For more information regarding COVID-19 as issued from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Previous updates from the Town of North Reading may be found below.

Michael P. Gilleberto, Town Administrator

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Town of North Reading Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Update as of March 6, 2020

Town officials continue to monitor the situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID – 19).  Officials have been meeting regularly, participating in Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) conference calls, and reviewing updates from MDPH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The best way to protect yourself and your family continues to be prevention, including:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean things that are frequently touched
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Think ahead about how to take care of yourself and loved ones if the virus starts spreading in the community

For a flyer recently issued by MDPH, please click here: https://www.northreadingma.gov/sites/northreadingma/files/news/flyer_3-2-2020.pdf

Update as of March 2, 2020:

Town officials have been monitoring the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID – 19) for the past several weeks.  In addition to the “Respiratory Illness Prevention” guidelines issued by the Board of Health in February, there have been multiple conversations and planning discussions among Town, including School Department, personnel.  Last week, in response to information released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), multiple departments participated in the first of what will be ongoing planning and response meetings as necessary.  Town officials also participated in a statewide call led by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) on Monday, March 2nd, during which MDPH officials provided cities, towns, and the health care community an update on the virus. During the call, state officials directed participants to CDC and MDPH websites for guidance and updates regarding the virus. 

The DPH webpage at https://www.mass.gov/guides/information-on-the-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19 includes the following:

-Overview

-Information for travelers arriving in the United States

-What is coronavirus?

-How do coronaviruses spread?

-What do we know about the source and spread of COVID-19?

-Prevention

-Treatment

-Guidance and recommendations

-Printable fact sheets

-For more information

For additional information from the CDC, please visit this page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

For a copy of the Respiratory Illness Prevention guidelines issued by the Board of Health on February 12th, please visit this page: https://www.northreadingma.gov/sites/northreadingma/files/uploads/public_health_advisory_corona_virus_influenzia_virus_and_the_measles_virus.pdf

The MDPH and CDC websites are updated on a regular basis, and additional local information will be posted on this page as it becomes available.