As coronavirus cases climb, selectmen urge caution

May 5, 2020

At Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Administrator Derek Sullivan reported that the number of coronavirus cases in Wareham has climbed to 143.

Nine Wareham residents have died from coronavirus, while 26 have recovered.

Of those currently sick, 45 are in the general community, 62 are in nursing homes, and one is in the All American Assisted Living Facility.

The Tremont Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center, one of two nursing homes in town, is the site of an outbreak, and a representative said on May 6 that there were 34 residents who are currently sick from the virus, and 25 residents who have recovered and are now symptom-free.

Wareham Healthcare, the other nursing home, was not listed by the state as having any cases, and an employee said on May 5 that the facility had no cases. 

The number of cases in Wareham continues to grow steadily, as there were only 103 cases and four deaths reported on April 25. 

While the disease spreads, some are looking to re-open businesses and return to life as normal.

Selectman Alan Slavin said that the state government is making decisions in an attempt to balance the danger to human safety and to the economy. He explained that Governor Charlie Baker has assembled an advisory board which will announce a re-opening plan for businesses in the state on May 18, and emphasized that businesses will not be opening on that date.

The selectmen also took the opportunity to remind the public of the state mask mandate, which goes into effect on May 6. The order requires everyone to cover their faces when in public, with exceptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons or in circumstances where one can always maintain six feet of distance between oneself and others. The mandate comes with a $300 fine for violations, although it is unclear how strictly that will be enforced.

“Do the right thing,” urged Selectman Jim Munise. “Think about other people and not just yourself.” 

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum advised the public that they should remain aware of their surroundings and move away from those not wearing masks. 

“We all have the ability to keep ourselves safe,” Teitelbaum said.