Keep social distancing, officials say

Apr 21, 2020

More than 30 Wareham residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus, as have 26 residents at Tremont Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center on Main Street -- and officials warn that numbers may get worse before they get better.

Shawn Badgley, the public information officer for Southcoast Health, said that the number of tests coming back positive has steadily increased over time, and officials anticipate that trend will continue. 

“Our ICU and critical care volume is starting to spike, which is why we’re in the process of adding nearly 500 beds to Southcoast’s service area by the end of this month,” Badgley said. “Throughout this pandemic, our region’s cases have lagged a bit behind Boston’s curve, so it’s quite possible the worst is yet to come. This is no time to let your guard down.” 

All American Assisted Living has had one resident and one staff member test positive, and will be testing all 20 residents of the memory care unit, in which the coronavirus-positive patient lives.

Wareham Healthcare, formerly called Forestview, does not seem to have any patients or staff who have tested positive for coronavirus.

On April 21, Tobey Hospital was treating five coronavirus patients in-house. One of those patients was in the intensive care unit and being treated with a ventilator. Three patients were awaiting test results, two of whom were in the ICU on ventilators. 

“We have dozens of beds currently available. Our frontline health care workers – nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, imaging staff, and all clinical and support personnel continue to do outstanding work there and across the Southcoast system,” Badgley said.

Southcoast Health currently has a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment for frontline staff, and is able to provide protection to those staff that exceeds Center for Disease Control recommendations. 

Badgley said that there are signs that people in need of emergency care for issues like heart attacks, strokes, and broken bones may be staying away from hospitals out of fear of coronavirus.

“Don’t let concerns about COVID-19 keep you from getting appropriate treatment. Southcoast strongly advises the public to call 911 if you are in immediate medical distress, and to contact your providers if you notice symptoms of cardiac, brain and spine, or trauma-related conditions. This goes for mental health concerns, as well. You can seek help through your provider, often via telehealth options,” Badgley said.

At Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Selectmen thanked the public for socially distancing and asked them to continue to do so. 

“I wanted to thank the people in town for continuing to do the right things to protect yourself when you go out, and in so doing, protect others,” Peter Teitelbaum said. “Some people slip up -- it’s easy to do. Try your best.”

Teitelbaum said he hoped that this would be the peak of the disease’s impact, but said that it’s vital that people continue to be vigilant.

“Don’t let up now. You’ve made it this far, you’ve survived this far, you’ve stayed healthy this far -- keep it up,” Teitelbaum said.