September 24, 2020 – The Town of Needham and Needham Public Health today provided the following update regarding COVID-19.
State DPH COVID-19 Numbers
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports the number of positive cases and deaths daily on the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
Town-specific case numbers are published by the state every Wednesday on the COVID-19 Weekly Public Health Report.
- 390 Needham cases to date (9/23/2020) Needham continues to be in the green (low risk) category with less than 4 cases per 100,000 residents. See the most recent COVID-19 community map.
- 77 Coronavirus deaths in Needham to date (9/15/20). No new deaths.
Face Coverings Required at the Recycling and Transfer Station
Effective immediately, anyone entering the RTS must wear a face covering. While many patrons have done their best to social distance at the facility, the best way to protect RTS employees and the public from the spread of COVID-19 is for everyone to wear face covers when they are conducting their business. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Contact Tracing: How It Works
Needham Public Health has fielded numerous calls over the course of the global pandemic from people who believe they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but who were not contacted by contact tracers.
While it is understandably concerning to find out someone you know or shared space with has tested positive for COVID-19, there are very specific factors that are considered when determining who is a “Close Contact.” People who are not considered close contacts will not be contacted by Public Health officials.
So how does contact tracing work and who is considered a “Close Contact?”
Contact tracing is a strategy that seeks to break the chain of transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by rapidly identifying, notifying and isolating individuals who have recently been in contact with a newly diagnosed patient. Here’s how it works:
Step 1. Local public health officials are notified by the state (and sometimes by individuals themselves who have tested positive) about residents who have tested positive in the community.
Step 2. Health officials call and/or email the individual to get a detailed history of where the person has been and who they have been in contact with.
Step 3. The individual is required to isolate for 14 day to prevent further spread.
Step 4. Public health officials reach out to anyone the positive individual has identified that fits the definition of a “Close Contact.”
So who is considered a “Close Contact?” By definition, a “Close Contact” is any person a positive individual has been within 6 feet for 15 minutes in a single day. Out of an abundance of caution, the Needham Public Schools considers a close contact anyone who was in a class with someone for at least 15 minutes.
Who is NOT considered a “Close Contact?”
You are not considered a Close Contact and are therefore unlikely to have been exposed to the virus under the following circumstance:
- Passed someone in a hallway
- Used the same restroom as a COVID-positive individual
- Were in the same building but not near the individual
While the Needham Public Health Department encourages members of the community who have concerns about their COVID exposure to seek assistance from the Department, the Department asks people to avoid contacting the Department about contact tracing if they do not fit the definition of a close contact.
Flu Clinic Slots Available October 3rd
Needham Public Health is continuing to offer flu vaccinations for the public. There are limited spots remaining for the October 3rd clinic. To register, visit: https://www.needhamma.gov/85/Public-Health. Additional clinics will be scheduled as supplies allow. Please check back at needhamma.gov/health for additional information and future dates.
Learn About Needham Public Schools Plan for Returning to In-Person Learning
Needham Public Schools are set to resume in-person learning on Tuesday, September 29th. The Town and the District have been working collaboratively to ensure a safe return for students, teachers and staff. You can read more about the District’s plans and safety measures here.
Select Board Extends Free Meter Program Through 2020
The Select Board voted this week to extend the free parking meter program in Needham for the remainder of 2020. Drivers may park at a meter for free for up to two hours while shopping and dining in Needham. The program is part of the Select Board’s efforts to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.