WHITMAN — Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Timothy Grenno reports that the Whitman Fire Department has begun offering COVID-19 testing to all Town of Whitman employees.
"We are excited to be able to offer this service to all of our Town employees, and it is a great sign that we now have the capacity to be offering these tests to any employee who may need one," Chief Grenno said. "The Whitman Fire Department is proud to be able to do our part in helping our community stay safe and healthy by testing Town employees and providing fast results."
The Whitman Fire Department will be utilizing a 10-minute rapid test for Town employees. In order to follow strict COVID-19 safety guidelines, Whitman Fire paramedics will meet the employee at their car and administer the test outside of the fire station building.
The Town has put in place strict guidelines regarding when an employee should get tested. Any employee who arrives to work ill or becomes ill during the work day will alert their department head of their symptoms, who will then contact the fire department to schedule a rapid test. The employee will then report to the fire station to get tested.
If any employee receives a negative test result but their signs and symptoms persist, they will then be required to have a PCR test performed at the fire station. The results from the PCR test are usually received within 24 hours of the test.
If multiple employees require testing as a result of working alongside an employee or primary contact who tested positive, the department head will inform the fire department of the issue. The exposures and potential exposures of other employees will be reviewed by the department head and members of the Board of Health. If it is deemed that other employees require testing, a date will be established to test those employees at the fire station. The fire department will assign times for all employees requiring testing.
If an employee tests positive the Board of Health will then conduct contact tracing in accordance with their policy notifications. All employee HIPPA rights will be diligently adhered to, and no information will be shared with other Town employees.
Keeping Whitman Safe
The Whitman Fire Department also wishes to provide residents and Town employees with prevention tips for COVID-19 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
• Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others, is critical.
• Those who must go out are urged to:
o Avoid gathering in groups
o Maintain 6 feet from people outside your household
o Do not shake hands or hug
o Wash your hands often
• Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands
• Wear a mask in indoor and outdoor spaces at all times.
• Face coverings should:
o Cover the nose and mouth
o Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
o Be secured with either ties or ear loops
o Permit breathing without difficulty
o Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website here and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website here.
Additional information regarding the Town of Whitman’s response to COVID-19 can be found at: whitmancovid19.com