DEDHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Dedham Board of Health is urging residents to follow COVID-19 prevention guidance after a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the past week, most of which have been confirmed in young people.
As of Wednesday, Dedham health officials said there have been 17 new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the town over the past week, and additional cases are expected to be confirmed in the coming days.
"Most of the positive cases have been confirmed in young children and teens," the Board said in a statement. "Town officials believe that the increase is primarily tied to social gatherings and activities that occur before and after youth sporting events, like team dinners and get-togethers."
Town officials have not yet called for any changes to be made to youth sports programs, but public health officials said they are closely monitoring the situation so that any necessary changes can be made as soon as possible.
“The Board of Health’s top priority is protecting the public’s overall health,” Chairwoman Leanne Jasset said. “We take this mission very seriously, not just during the pandemic, but each and every day. It is imperative that we all continue to work together in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Dedham. We will continue to share the necessary resources to allow our residents to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors.”
Jasset said parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to talk to their children about the importance of wearing a face mask or covering, and practicing social distancing whenever possible in order to prevent further spread of the virus. She said coaches of youth sports are also being urged to speak to their players and parents of players about these issues and are reminded to not host large gatherings before or after games or practices.
Officials also said all residents should contact the Board of Health at 781-751-9220 if anyone in their household tests positive for COVID-19 so that the Town can take the necessary actions required by the state and keep the most accurate and timely number of positive cases in the community.
“As of now, we are not seeing any significant amount of cases of other communicable diseases such as strep or the flu in our community,” Board of Health member Mary Ellard said.
According to Gov. Baker's state order, indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people in a single space, and attendees must be able to practice social distancing. Outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to a maximum of 50 people. Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings are limited to a maximum of 100 people, and attendees must be able to practice social distancing. Those found in violation of the state order may be cited and could be fined up to $500.
(Photo: Getty Images)