Just as COVID-19 began to rear its ugly head in late 2019 out on the west coast, Kayla Davis was hired as the Mattapoisett Board of Health agent. Now she has taken a new position with the Town of Middleboro, according to a follow-up conversation with Board of Health Chairman Carmelo Nicolosi on May 12. Davis’ last day of employment in Mattapoisett was May 14.
The May 12 meeting of the BOH was fraught with technical difficulties when two transposed digits in the Zoom meeting code number disabled the login process; the login problem was resolved, but public access abruptly ended at the 60-minute mark when the meeting shut down.
During a brief follow-up discussion with Nicolosi, he disclosed that Davis had given her notice after accepting an offer from Middleboro. “We have already begun reaching out to candidates that applied when she did (resign),” he said, calling many of those candidates “really good.”
Nicolosi also said that in the interim, he has reached out to neighboring communities to secure short-term assistance. He said that health agents are becoming rare, but he feels confident that departmental matters will continue to be effectively handled.
In the abbreviated time the meeting platform was operational, the board members met with Public Health Nurse Emily Field and Lions Club member Bob Saunders to discuss the annual Harbor Days fundraiser.
Saunders said that the vendor booths would be placed within a reduced footprint and that social distancing would be kept in mind. He also said that the club has discussed keeping food separate from retail tents and even doing a grab-and-go style food service.
Field aired her concern that she doesn’t want the event to become a “super-spreader” and reminded all once again, “The virus isn’t sick of us.”
The issue of capacity at Shipyard Park came into play, as Saunders and Field along with the board members continued to discuss how to implement safety measures. Saunders estimated that in prior year as many as 10,000 people may have visited over the event’s seven days. Field intimated that contact tracing would be impossible in the event the venue triggered a spread of the virus. “There is still transmission going on,” she said. Field agreed that the state guidelines are fluid and subject to changes. She also pointed out that the event will impact more than just Shipyard Park, it will impact the entire village area.
Saunders said that the event is already down 14 vendors and that reduction impacts the revenue generated. “We support to a lot of local charities,” he said.
Nicolosi confirmed that Saunders would be invited back to their next meeting to finalize plans.
Field also reported that she has been working very closely with schools, which have seen an uptick in symptoms, and cases of household spread are still common. She was encouraged that children can now receive vaccines and has discussed the possibility of running a clinic at Old Rochester Regional High School. Children as young as 12 can now pre-register, she said.
Continued until May 26 were public hearings for variances to septic systems planned for property owned by Howard Chadwick at 9 Fairfield Avenue, property owned by Stephen Napolitano at 14 Brandt Island Road, property owned by Robert Malm at 3 Aucoot Road, and lot 57 Brandt Island Road owned by Ralph Cotellesso.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Health is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26, at 10:00 am.
Mattapoisett Board of Health
By Marilou Newell