Updated from the March 12, 2020 print edition at 7:30 PM

A NOTE FROM EDITOR MAUREEN DOHERTY:

Due to the evolving nature of COVID-19 and the need for public officials to adjust their response to keep up with the changing needs of the entire community, both public and private events listed in this week’s Transcript more than likely have been postponed, or they may be canceled at a moment’s notice. Therefore, it is advisable to check directly with the organizers to be sure the event will still be held, but it more than likely will not be held.

Between print editions, whenever possible, the Transcript will provide updated information on cancellations and postponements, as well as any new public health information provided by the town, through this website and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

After the March 12, 2020 Transcript was published, MassDPH informed the town’s Board of Health of North Reading’s first “presumptive positive” COVID-19 patient who is recovering at home in self-isolation and is doing well. This resident had attended the Biogen Conference in Boston, but did not have any connection to the local schools. The patient had contact with an out-of-town child care center prior to being diagnosed. The center was notified of the situation by North Reading’s BOH and will do whatever is necessary to inform its clientele.

Also, since the March 12, 2020 newspaper went to press, the town has compiled a comprehensive listing of which departments are CURRENTLY open, closed or offering limited services.

This is the 6th update issued by town officials on COVID-19 since February 12, 2020.

We have reprinted it below for your convenience, including related links.

Town of North Reading Update Regarding COVID -19

March 12, 2020 at 6 PM

Town officials continue to meet and 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 (MassDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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

(EDITOR’S NOTE: MassDPH informed the town on Wednesday of one case of one adult who attended the Biogen Conference and who is recovering at home. The patient was tested on March 7.)

THE TOWN OFFERS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES FOR ITS RESIDENTS:

  • Out of an abundance of caution, NORTH READING PUBLIC SCHOOLS will be closed tomorrow, FRIDAY, MARCH 13, for deep cleaning and disinfecting of all buildings.
  • FLINT MEMORIAL LIBRARY closed at 5 PM today and will remain closed through at least SUNDAY, MARCH 15.  Programming and use of the Activity Room has been suspended through SUNDAY, MARCH 22
  • THE EDITH O’LEARY SENIOR CENTER has suspended all programming through MONDAY, APRIL 13.  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 at the Senior Center in advance, when necessary.  The MEALS ON WHEELS program remains operational.  Elder Services intends to resume limited van transportation on a one-to-one basis on Monday for essential trips only.
  • NORTH READING PARKS & RECREATION has canceled all programming through FRIDAY, MARCH 20.  The Parks and Recreation Wine and Food Social scheduled for FRIDAY, MARCH 27 has also been canceled.

NORTH READING TOWN HALL is operational and facilities are available to public boards/commissions/committees for meetings, although they are asked to limit meetings to essential business such as TOWN MEETING preparation, budget, and permitting matters only at this time.

Boards/commissions/committees are asked to postpone non-essential meetings and deliberations until further notice.  Most other non-essential events at town and school buildings have been postponed or canceled; for more information, please contact the event host or organizer.

NORTH READING POLICE, FIRE AND PUBLIC WORKS departments also remain operational.

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.

Additional information regarding closures or other changes will be released as it becomes available.

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

For previous updates, please click here: https://www.northreadingma.gov/home/news/town-north-reading-coronavirus-covid-%E2%80%93-19-information

 

The story below was published in print March 12, 2020 prior to the cancellations and closures taking place throughout the state on Thursday.

NORTH READING — 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. 

Tuesday evening, as the Transcript went to press, 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 canceling 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 cancelations 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,” Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto stated.

At press time Wednesday, the Transcript learned that a number of special events previously scheduled to be held in the Activity Room at the Flint Memorial Library this month have been or have a high likelihood of being canceled. This is one of the most used rooms in the community, with several events held there daily, by both library staff and outside groups, so it is best to check with the sponsor of each event as well as the library’s events calendar, www.flintmemoriallibrary.org, to be certain your event of choice is still on. This month’s coffeehouse and open mic night has been canceled, according to organizer Art Grossman.

Also, per the current state protocol on travel outside of the country, NRHS has canceled a student trip to Ecuador over April school vacation.

The Div. 2 state semifinal girls’ basketball game at the TD Garden between the Hornets and Foxboro was slated to be played Wednesday night. The winner will advance to the state championship game over the weekend at a site to be determined, but since this is a fluid situation, consult www.miaa.net for any changes to these plans. (Update: North Reading lost to Foxboro in the semifinals. The MIAA subsequently opted to cancel the state championship games slated to be played over the weekend and name both state finalists as “co-champions.”)

Preventative measures

Residents are reminded of the following preventative measures recommended by the state that they should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

• 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 your 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 visit: www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.