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12 positive town cases of Covid-19 remain firm; Baker announces travel restrictions


ACMi News took a tour of Arlington’s American Family Care Urgent Care in the Heights to see how health-care workers test patients for the coronavirus. See the test from start to finish -- only on ACMi.

UPDATED, March 27: In its latest update, the town continues to report 12 positive cases of Covid-19 in Arlington, as it had the day before. As of March 22, there had been seven presumptive positive cases and three others that were being checked.

Covid-19 image

An earlier update says: "We believe this number may provide a false sense of security to residents. You must stay home and away from nonfamily contacts at this time, practice social distancing (keep 6 feet away from others) and only perform necessary tasks like grocery shopping, picking up medication and safely checking in with family and neighbors who may need assistance."

Gov. Baker announced all travelers arriving in Massachusetts will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days in the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Arlington public health officials continue to urge everyone that regardless of your age, you stay at home and away from non-family contacts at this time.

As of March 27, there have been 3,240 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, 685 in Middlesex County and 35 reported deaths associated with Covid-19. 

Gov. Baker on March 26 reported expanded testing in conjunction with MIT/Harvard’s Broad Institute. The governor reported testing started yesterday, and he anticipates, when testing ramps up next week, 2,000 tests can be processed per day. 

Because of a nationwide shortage of testing swabs, the three hospitals that cover Arlington residents temporarily shut down all testing last week. (The update does not identify them.) The testing at these hospitals has since resumed, but this lack of testing has hampered the Health Department's ability to report the true impact of the virus on the community.

From the March 25 update: Gov. Baker has extended school and child-care closures until May 4.

 He also encourages grocery stores practice DPH guidelines on social distancing, cleaning of surfaces, offering hand sanitizers, and offering one hour a day for adults over 60 years old to shop. Reusable bags are prohibited and the plastic bag ban will be lifted temporarily. Read the BostonGlobe.com summary >>

The Select Board on Monday, March 23, declared a state of emergency, and at noon the next day, Gov. Baker’s “stay-at-home” order took effect. The board also postponed the town election until June, and Town Meeting is expected occur after the election.

Although Arlington and the state’s restrictions extend to April 7, a town update Tuesday, March 24, reported that these orders may be in place longer. "We’ll continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus and coordinate regionally to make the best decisions for the safety of all our residents," the update said.

"In the meantime, we continue to stress the importance of staying at home, social distancing (keeping 6 feet away from others) and only performing necessary tasks like grocery shopping, picking up medication, and safely checking in with family and neighbors who may need assistance.

"We understand these actions, and future actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus will have a tremendous impact on all members of our community. To help, we have been compiling, and will continue to compile, helpful resources, including mental health and well being, business and nonprofit, and how you can help. We will continue to highlight these efforts and more in the coming weeks."

Arlington to collect personal protective equipment for first responders, front-line hospital staff

Items will be collected by Arlington Health Department with assistance from Arlington Police and Fire and allocated to hospitals, clinics and first responders that are on the front lines treating Covid-19 patients. Items sought should be in unopened packaging and include N95 respirators, surgical/procedural masks, face shield masks, disposable gowns, goggles/eye protection, wipes, nitrile gloves, and hand sanitizer.  More information on the How You Can Help page.

Covid-19 imageStratton Playground remained empty about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, a time when it would be bustling were school in session and there was no coronavirus. / Marjorie Howard photo

Small-business tax relief – kate-file, late-pay penalties waived
The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April, and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. The Department of Revenue announced March 20 that it will waive any late-file or late-pay penalties for returns and payment due for meals and room occupancy taxes between March 20 and May 31, 2020.

Unemployment assistance
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Updated Unemployment Resources has guides on how to file, to register for a virtual information session on how to file, and information on how to contact the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance. Recent legislation allows new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one waiting period for unemployment benefits. 

List of businesses currently open in Arlington
The listings will be updated at least once daily. Please contact businesses directly before placing and order or going to their establishment to confirm that they are open, as the information on this list is subject to change.  See the list here >>

Additional resources for businesses and nonprofits may be found on the Business & Nonprofit Resourcepage.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine told YourArlington March 22 that residents should feel free to leave their homes for walks, keeping duistances, but should not comngregate in groups. 

As of March 22, there have been 646 confirmed cases and five reported deaths associated with Covid-19 statewide. In town, there are seven presumptive positive cases and three others that are being checked.


Tracking Covid-19 via Johns Hopkins site

Warning signs have been posted on the Minuteman Bikeway >>
March 19, 2020: China investigating ex-Biogen employee who fled to country while sick
Globe, March 15: After Baker declares state of emergency, cases at 164


March 20-23, 2020: Presumptive Covid-19 cases rise to 7; public urged to stay at home; testing in Heights
March 15, 2020: Playgrounds closed, Town Hall restricted after 4 Covid-19 cases cited
March 13-15, 2020: Possible postponement of town election pushes candidates to go virtual
March 12, 2020: Town's public schools among 6 districts closing for two weeks
March 11, 2020: In face of threat, town suspends Senior Center programs, postpones library events
March 8, 2012: 2nd resident tests negative for Covid-19
Feb. 28-March 6, 2020: Coronavirus risk remains low in town, health office says in 2nd update

This news announcement was published Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and updated that day as well as March 27. This edited version was written by Joan Roman, town webmaster, with editing and additions by Bob Sprague. 

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