Interim Health Commissioner Patrick Maloney and the Brookline Department of Public Health and Human Services (DHHS) wish to provide the community with an update on its work to respond to the rapidly-evolving CoViD-19 pandemic.
As the pandemic progresses, Brookline DHHS is continuing to modify and expand its approach in order to identify and address community needs and keep residents safe and healthy. Brookline DHHS is committed both to keeping the community informed as it takes new steps to address the virus, as well as to updating residents on the work it has already done.
Local cases Cases among Brookline residents have surged much as they have throughout the commonwealth and nationwide.
In the last week, there have been 511 new cases of CoViD-19 identified among Brookline residents. This marks the third straight week in which more than 150 cases were reported, and the 511 cases this week mark an all-time high for the pandemic in Brookline, topping the 324 cases identified in the previous week.
What to do if you’re sick or exposed Brookline and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are adhering to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently modified its isolation and quarantine guidance for those who have tested positive for — or been exposed to — CoViD-19.
If you test positive for CoViD-19 Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate away from family members or roommates in their home for five days. Those without symptoms, or those whose symptoms are significantly improved after five days may leave their home but should continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days. The CDC also strongly encourages testing at five days of isolation.
Those who have a fever should continue isolating until the fever has resolved on its own, without the aid of medication.
If you test positive, notify anyone you have recently been in close contact with — defined as within six feet or less for 15 minutes or more.
If you are exposed to someone with CoViD-19 Those who are fully vaccinated within the last six months, as well as those who have received boosters, do not have to quarantine following exposure to CoViD-19.
However, these individuals should wear a mask around others for 10 days and obtain a CoViD-19 test on the fifth day following the exposure, if possible.
- are unvaccinated;
- obtained Moderna or Pfizer’s vaccine over six months ago and are not yet boosted;
- obtained a Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago but are not boosted,
should quarantine at home for five days and continue to wear a mask around others when leaving your home for another five days. These individuals should also seek a CoViD-19 test five days after their most recent known exposure. Anyone who is not yet vaccinated or is eligible for but has not yet received a booster should visit vaxfinder.mass.gov to find a vaccination location near them.
Prevention Face coverings continue to be required in all indoor settings throughout Brookline, and Brookline DHHS is working with local grocery stores to reestablish shopping hours for at-risk residents, as well as uni-directional aisles.
Residents are urged to upgrade their masks to more effective N95 or KN95 models, which filter out and therefore better prevent users from inhaling viral particles found in respiratory droplets.
At the outset of the pandemic in 2020, Americans were advised against purchasing these higher-quality masks in order to ensure healthcare personnel could access these critical tools, which had been in short supply. With shortages now less of a concern, all Brookline residents are urged to seek out better masks that will more effectively protect them and those they come into contact with.
In the absence of N95 or KN95 masks, community members should wear cloth face coverings.
Additionally, following these tips will help prevent the spread of CoViD-19 and other viral infections:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- avoid touching your face;
- clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs or countertops with household cleaning spray or wipes;
- cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or your inner elbow;
- stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others;
- get vaccinated and obtain a booster when you’re eligible.
It is not too late to get a flu shot, which is available free of charge at local pharmacies or primary care providers’ offices.
Call center has re-opened
The Town of Brookline has reopened its CoViD-19 call center for residents with general, non-medical questions about the virus. The call center is staffed Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. The number for the call center is 617-879-5636.
Messages left after hours or on weekends will be returned the next business day. Residents also may email their non-medical inquiries to: CoViD19Info@brooklinema.gov.
Brookline DHHS is actively working to increase access to testing, including offering PCR testing. More information will be made available soon regarding PCR testing through Brookline’s public health nurse.
Additionally, Brookline DHHS is working to obtain 9,000 iHealth at-home CoViD-19 tests.
Information about eligibility and distribution will be announced when the town learns more about the delivery of the tests.
These tests will be in addition to the more than 14,000 tests Brookline DHHS has already distributed via its community partners. Tests were provided to:
- Brookline Food Pantry;
- Brookline Housing Authority;
- Religious organizations;
- Council on Aging;
- Steps to Success;
- Hebrew Senior Life and other subsidized housing;
- The Brookline Center;
- The Village at Brookline;
- Veterans’ Services.