ADAMS, Mass.— Board of Health Chairman David Rhoads is urging residents to stay vigilant as Adams slips into the red level designation for COVID-19.
"It is always disheartening to convey bad news, but we are in the red here in Adams," Rhoads said at the Selectmen's meeting Wednesday. "We are definitely in a surge."
Rhoads said the town has been reporting a new case every day for the past three weeks.
Rhoads spoke directly to residents over livestreamed meeting and asked them to continue adhering to hygiene and social distancing guidelines to stop the spread, especially now that more aggressive variants have touched down in Berkshire County.
He asked that people remain to in their small social circles and avoid gatherings.
"We are getting vaccinated, and I know it is spring and people want to gather but that gives the virus a better chance to spread," he said. "Stay in your pod and do not get close to people that are not in your pod. You may trust them, you may love them, but you need to respect that distancing."
He reiterated that those who are vaccinated should continue to wear their masks and those who have recovered from the virus should also continue to wear a mask.
He also urged folks to get vaccinated.
"Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. I hear people say they want to wait, and it is not worth it," he said. "The sooner we can all get vaccinated the sooner we will reach herd immunity."
He said this becomes more important as the virus continues to mutate. The worst-case scenario is the virus turns into something that the vaccine is ineffective against.
"The better we can learn how to control this virus the better we will be for whatever comes down the road," he said.
The Selectmen were disappointed that Adams was sliding back into the red.
"I feel disappointed ... we really tried to keep people abreast of what is going on and what they needed to do," Selectman Joe Nowak said. "... It is frustrating to see that the numbers are climbing. I don't understand why people aren't taking this seriously."
In other business, the Selectmen went over Town Administrator Jay Green's evaluation, in which he received high marks for getting up to speed quickly, creating an effective working environment, advocating for the town, and successfully navigating a very atypical year
"The town of Adams and Board of Selectmen are fortunate to have the services of Jay Green as town administrator," Hoyt said. "His positive demeanor, his collaborative attitude, and strong work ethic have put Adams in positive growth and community spirit position."
With a positive evaluation, Green was in line to receive a salary increase.
The board voted to give Green a 3 percent raise. This increase will be paid retroactively to March 25 of 2020, Green's first-anniversary date.
They approved a second anniversary salary increase of 4 percent paid retroactively to March 25, 2021.
This would take Green to the end of his current contract.
Hoyt said Green tried to take the raise out of the budget but staff put it back in.
• Looking toward the future, Green said he would like to direct some of the coming American Recovery Act funds toward the Greylock Glen, specifically the outdoor center.
"What is the one project that we have that is critical to the community? The one project that we have that doesn't really fit in any bucket of programming where we can access funds for that," Green said. "We are keeping our fingers crossed for that."
Green said there is the option in the federal bill to earmark certain projects. He said the town will ask Congressman Richie Neal to do this.
Green said he hopes to move this project along as construction costs are increasing.
• The Selectmen officially voted to ask the Planning Board to revisit the town's marijuana bylaws, as discussed at a workshop earlier this month.
The town has seen an influx of marijuana and processing businesses interested in locating in the industrial park, a use the town feels is in line with other businesses there but which are not currently allowed.
• The Selectmen appointed Green to the Berkshire Public Health Alliance Governing Board.
• Timothy Rowley was appointed as the temporary town clerk. Current Town Clerk Haley Meczywor is up for election and so cannot perform her election duties.
• The board approved entertainment licenses for Original Seed and the Aggie Fair.