Photo: Belmont Manor.
Deaths in Belmont due to COVID-19 skyrocketed from 1 to 13 in four days as the coronavirus has swept through the Belmont Manor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, according to town officials on Saturday, April 11.
“The Town of Belmont has received confirmation that to date thirteen residents of the Belmont Manor Nursing Home have died due to complications of COVID-19 (Coronavirus),” said Jon Marshall, assistant town manager in a statement from the town.
The number of positive cases of COVID-19 among residents confirmed by the state Department of Public Health has more than doubled since April 7 now at 95, with 56 coming from residents of Belmont Manor.
According to the Belmont Health Department, since COVID-19 testing began, 59 percent of residents testing positive reside in some type of long-term care facility. The remaining 41 percent of Belmont cases are due to community spread, meaning there has been no clear source of transmission. The virus is impacting residents of all ages.
“The Town has been in daily contact with Belmont Manor for several weeks and has provided ongoing support in their effort to address the virus and its impact on the facility. The Town of Belmont will continue to assist Belmont Manor as it goes through this difficult time,” according to Marshall.
“The Town is deeply saddened and expresses its condolences to the families and staff at Belmont Manor,” the statement read.
On April 7, Gov. Charlie Baker announced the launch of a new Nursing Home Family Resource Line. The dedicated telephone line is staffed 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. This resource was created so that family and community members have one central contact that they can reach out to if they have questions or concerns about the care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Family and community members can call the line at 617-660-5399.
The number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise throughout the state and in Belmont. On April 1, Belmont had 16 cases, a week later, on April 7, it had doubled to 35.
If you have symptoms, and you believe that you should be tested for COVID-19, first contact your healthcare provider. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.
If your health care provider recommends that you should be tested, but their facility cannot offer the test, obtain a referral and contact one of the facilities on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health list of COVID-19 Testing Sites in Massachusetts.
Keep in mind that you may need to undergo an additional eligibility screening before you can be tested, and that these sites require an appointment, they do not take walk-ins.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that individuals wear cloth face coverings when in public settings (i.e. grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) where it may be difficult to safely engage in social distancing practices. This recommendation from the CDC is due to increased evidence of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19. This refers to the transmission of the virus from a person who does not develop symptoms.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important for all Belmont residents to begin engaging in this practice when in public settings where they may encounter individuals with unknown health statuses. It is equally important to continue engaging in social distancing practices and to remain at least 6-feet way from others when in public.
Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about its recommendation for face coverings.
The CDC has also posted information on how to make your own face covering, including examples of both sewn and no sew patterns.
On April 7, the MDPH released further guidance to promote social distancing at grocery stores. The new guidance requires that each grocery store limit occupancy to 40 percent of its maximum permitted occupancy level. It also sets out procedures by which staff should monitor occupancy levels. MDPH has posted new grocery store guidance on its website.
Things to keep in mind when you go to the grocery store:
- Follow guidance posted in-store and instructions from grocery store staff on social distancing.
- Only send one person per family, leave children and other families members at home if at all possible.
- Buy enough to extend how long you can go until your next trip, but don’t buy up too many of one particular item.
- Shop at an off-peak time if possible. In the morning before 10 or 11 am tends to be the busiest time in many area stores at the moment.
- Wear a face covering.
Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), is a national network of volunteers under the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Metro East MRC is the regional unit serving 18 communities, including Belmont. Currently, Metro East MRC volunteers are activated delivering food and medications, staffing call centers, and providing backflow to medical facilities in the region. Interested volunteers can sign up atwww.MAResponds.org by selecting “Metro East MRC” as their organization. Medical volunteers are also encouraged to join the “COVID-19 Response” team via MA Responds. Please contact Mia Nardini, Metro East MRC Coordinator, at 781-316-3177 or MetroEastMRC@Town.Arlington.MA.US with any questions.
Nursing Home Resource Line
On April 7, Governor Charlie Baker announced the launch of a new Nursing Home Family Resource Line. The dedicated telephone line is staffed 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. This resource was created so that family and community members have one central contact that they can reach out to if they have questions or concerns about the care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Family and community members can call the line at 617-660-5399.
Belmont COVID-19 Informational Call Center and Email
For general COVID-19 questions not specific to the Town of Belmont, all Massachusetts residents encouraged to call the state’s 2-1-1 hotline that is staffed by operators 24/7 and with translators available in multiple languages. Residents with questions can dial 2-1-1 from any landline or cellphone or use the live chat option at the Mass 2-1-1 website.
The Town of Belmont has also established a COVID-19 Informational Call Center to allow residents to ask non-medical questions specific to COVID-19 in Belmont. The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm the number for the call center is (617) 993-2222. Questions can also be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. Calls should not be made to 9-1-1 to obtain information about COVID-19.
[The revised article has the correct number of deaths in Belmont at 13. An earlier version incorrectly noted the number at 19.]