The Halifax Board of Selectmen held a special meeting on Thursday, July 9 to discuss updates to the town’s COVID-19 response. Selectman Tom Millias began by turning things over to Fire Chief Jason Viveiros. Viveiros said that there was one confirmed case of COVID-19 reported on July 9 and that the infected person was under quarantine. There were no other active cases in Halifax at the time of the meeting. Town Administrator Charlie Seelig said, “It’s the first one in about three weeks so our hope is that this isn’t a sign of things to come, it’s just an aberration.”
Viveiros also addressed some concern over a chemical component of the fog that is used to decontaminate buildings. There was apparently some hesitancy over using the chemical in the schools without further research. Director of Building Maintenance Scott Materna had reached out to the company but didn’t receive a response as they were on vacation.
Asked about personal protective equipment (PPE), Viveiros said, “For the time being, we’re still set pretty well.” He also said an order had been placed for 7,000 masks. Millias asked about the availability of N95 masks and was told that despite there still being a bit of a backlog, there had not been a problem receiving the necessary supply. “I think the panic behind it has subsided,” Millias said. He also said that while N95 masks were appropriate for first responders they wouldn’t be necessary for everyday activities.
Selectman Gordon Andrews inquired about what was done with the town’s supply of KN95 masks. KN95 masks differ from N95 masks in that they are held to foreign rather than U.S. approved standards. Viveiros said that they were instructed to dispose of the KN95 masks. “In theory they could still be used as a face covering but I don’t think they wanted them to get mixed up,” he explained.
Board of Health agent Bob Valery spoke on the threat from both ticks and mosquitos this year. There is expected to be a large increase in the prevalence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Valery said that EEE is usually seen in three-year cycles and that we are currently in year two. “Given the winter that we had and the summer that we’re having now, it is perfect conditions,” Valery explained. He said that they had been in touch with mosquito control and are monitoring the situation. Both Millias and Valery spoke of how easily commonplace items can become a breeding ground for mosquitos citing wheelbarrows, kiddie pools, and even watering cans as potential sources when allowed to contain standing water.
Valery also touched on the precautions that will be taken at an upcoming horse show in town saying that temperature checks and inspections will take place.
The final order of business was to vote on an outdoor entertainment permit requested by George Latini for July 18. Seelig said that most feedback from residents was in favor of the request, though there was one request to keep the volume down. The Board voted unanimously to approve the permit.