By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
In a sign that social distancing, hand-washing and masks are having an effect, new cases of COVID-19 in North Attleborough have begun to slow.
At a meeting of the Town Council, Town Manager Michael Borg said that there had been 247 cases reported at that time, with 150 recovered. Of the total number of cases, there have sadly been 26 deaths, though none reported in several days.
“Our week-to-week positive cases has slowed to single digits,” said Borg at the Wednesday meeting. “This is a very good story.”
Health Department Director Anne Marie Fleming said that new cases have decreased to one or two a day. Over the Memorial Day weekend, she said that only five new cases were reported over the four-day period. She added that the number of recovered is likely more than 150, as it takes time to collect and input the data.
“That’s pretty incredible,” she said. “That shows a good response to the stay-at-home advisories and social distancing. If that continued, we’d be in a very good place.”
Just because the numbers of new cases has slowed, however, does not mean that the pandemic has passed. On May 25, the first phase of Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase reopening began, and if all goes as planned, every three weeks more businesses will be allowed to open, with some restrictions. This includes masks for employees and plexiglass barriers where possible. Fleming said the people need to stay home if they feel sick and if they have symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their doctor and get tested if needed.
Fleming’s concern is that as more businesses reopen, people may think that social distancing and masks are no longer needed. Over Memorial Day weekend, she saw a lot of parties in town and few people wearing masks or staying more than six feet apart. Over the next two weeks, it will be seen if that leads to an upswing in cases.
“While we can relax certain standards, we need to keep social distancing to the forefront of our minds and wearing masks,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing to go out, but we need to find a way to work at this.”
Borg echoed this sentiment, saying that the public needs to remain vigilant and do what they can to protect their fellow residents. He gave credit to the North Nurses hotline, which takes questions from the public and does contact tracing for the positive cases.
“Continue to wash our hands, wear masks within six feet of other,” said Borg. “These are the keys to our continued success.”