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Adams Board of Health Condenses COVID-19 Directive

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health reworked its COVID-19 Public Health Directive into a concise, clear letter that will accompany timely public health data on the town's website. 
Instead of passing a strongly worded directive that would urge residents to recommit to efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Board of Health on Wednesday voted to take a more educational approach and push transmission numbers and prevention guidance to the town website.
"It is not an order; it is not an advisory," board member Peter Hoyt said. "As I tackled this rewrite I reflected on the previous meeting and what I got from that is that the public felt like they were in the dark. We have nothing on our website."
On Sept. 9, the Board of Health held an emergency meeting to discuss the directive that asked the town to re-up its efforts to combat COVID-19 with more stringent mask and sanitation policies.
The hybrid meeting was well attended and attendees mostly spoke in opposition to the directive and the more impactful guidelines. It was unclear if the strong recommendation was enforceable.
Later that month, a second meeting on the matter was held with health professionals to go over the state of the pandemic in Adams and in the county. 
Hoyt said he condensed the directive to a letter that just reaffirms what the board has been asking all along.
"It is just a letter reinstating that this is serious and that it is still going on," Hoyt said. "Protect yourself and here is some more information." 
With this letter, Hoyt said he wants to place data on the town's website indicating county and local data in regard to COVID-19.
"We can just update those numbers as we get them," Hoyt said. "I think people get upset when there is a lack of information."
He said he would also like to include links to various public health sources.  
Code Enforcement Officer Mark Blaisdell noted it is difficult to synchronize all the information from different sources. He added that local numbers don't always provide the entire picture. 
"We have people that live in Adams that work in other communities, you have people who work in Adams that live in other communities," Blaisdell said. "You have transients, you have tourists so that one number is not accurate."
Chairman David Rhoads said he will try to figure out what numbers are actually available to the town and how to best aggregate them.
The board unanimously supported the effort and Rhoads was happy to say COVID-19 numbers were decreasing. 
"As the number goes down I would like to attribute that to people actually being careful and wearing masks," he said. "So it is my own wish that we keep masking until this darn thing goes away."

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Adams Altering Two Precincts to Reflect Changes in Population

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen last week voted to alter Precincts 2 and 3 to better match population. This won't change the number of town meeting members but it will change the voting precinct for one.
Town Clerk Haley Meczywor presented new Census data to the board Wednesday and said with a decrease of 299 residents over a 10-year period, the state has recommended that the town change the borders of the two precincts.
"In order to make our precincts as equal as possible, the state is recommended that we make a minor change from Precinct 3 to Precinct 2," she said.
The last Census was done in 2010. Then, the population count was 8,485. In 2020, the count was 8,166 — a 299 decrease. 
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