WHITMAN — The town is planning a series of COVID vaccination clinics for elder residents at the Housing Authority’s Harvard Court site.
“As this board knows, there have already been several vaccination clinics that have occurred, primarily focused on first responders,” said new Town Administrator Lincoln Heineman, attending his inaugural Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9, noting those clinics are continuing. “There are also already plans [for] vaccination clinics at Harvard Court.”
Those are planned for Feb. 22 and 26, as well as March 22 and 26 for the second dose.
“There are also other vaccination clinics planned,” he said. “The key issue that many members on this board may know about is that, we have this plan in place to provide vaccinations to the community, based on the phases as identified by the state Department of Public Health, but the key is actually receiving the vaccine to perform those, which is — obviously — outside of the town’s control.”
He said the past week, according to Fire Chief Timothy Grenno, is the first time when the state has not been able to fulfill a request for vaccine from the town.
“We don’t know when that is going forward and, obviously, we’re going to be requesting vaccines to fulfill the plan that we want to pursue,” he said. “The big unknown at this moment is how much vaccine we’re going to get and in what kind of time.”
Heineman also announced that cases are now at 1,003 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to figures calculated as of Feb. 2. There have been 115 new cases recorded over the past two weeks.
“Just as a comparison to the state as a whole, we’re slightly higher as daily average incidents rate per 100,000 residents,” Heineman said. During the same two-week period the state was at 48.9, while Whitman is at 52.9.
Grenno and the Board of Health have developed the plans for the vaccine clinics, Heineman said.
“There’s a lot of very detailed and organized work that’s been going on prior to me and, again, I want to give all the credit in the world to our emergency management director [Grenno], the Board of Health and everyone here in Town Hall and the Town Hall workers in general,” Heineman said.
In other business, Selectmen approved a request from Council on Aging Director Mary Holland to revise COVID-19 protocols for her department.
“She said there are certain issues that needed to be done, and we had to redo our town protocol because the COA does certain functions that are required under health issues only the senior center provides, and she’s asked us if that would be allowed,” Selectmen Chairman Daniel Salvucci said.
New town COVID protocols passed on Jan. 19 had closed all town buildings to the public until further notice.
“The services that we’ve been able to continue to offer — one of them being the podiatrist — it’s only once a month, but seniors need that service,” Holland said. “We’ve been doing it since September with no issues.”
Seniors enter at the back door and are seen one-on-one by the podiatrist in a private room, she said. Masks are worn during examinations.
Fuel assistance is another service for which seniors must go to the COA to obtain help with the first-time completion of complex paperwork. The center is still closed for social events.
Selectmen also voted — in recognition that Carousel Family Fun Center was the only business in town required to close [for 30 weeks] due to Gov. Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 order — to reduce the business’ licensing fee, applying a pro-rated amount to her feed owed in 2021.