News Briefs

Town Encourages Residents to Complete State COVID-19 Community Impact Survey

Town Manager Austin Faison and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley are encouraging residents to take the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey made available by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

“We strongly encourage residents to complete this survey in order to show how communities, especially historically marginalized communities, have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Town Manager Faison said. “The results will be vital in understanding how different communities have been affected, whether that be emotionally or financially.”

The survey is meant to help the DPH learn about the experiences of Massachusetts residents throughout the pandemic, specifically from people of color and communities who have been historically underserved. Residents who have not become ill with COVID-19 are still managing stress, uncertainty and isolation, and these communities have been impacted disproportionately by this public health emergency.

“DPH will use these results to formulate plans and solutions to help those in need as the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to progress,” Hurley said. “This survey takes only a few minutes to complete and will help to ensure our community has the resources it needs in the months to come.”

Anyone age 14 and older who lives in Massachusetts is welcome to complete the survey. The survey is also available in multiple languages.

The survey is available online and can be accessed on a computer, phone or tablet. It is expected to take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. All answers are anonymous.

Town Committee to Meet

On Wednesday October 7, at 6:30 p.m., the Winthrop Democratic Town Committee will meet remotely via Zoom to discuss the Biden/Harris Campaign and election plans for GOTV for state Democrats. All registered Democrats are welcome to attend. For more information, please contact committee Chair Catherine DelVento at [email protected].

MVES Offers Telephone Counseling During Medicare Open Enrollment

 If you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan (HMO, PPO), you will be receiving or should have received information from your plan regarding open enrollment. This information explains changes in your plan for 2021.

During Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15 to December 7, 2020), you will have a chance to CHANGE your plan for next year.

Trained SHINE Counselors can help you understand your plan, changes and options you may have.  SHINE counselors offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of Medicare and related health insurance programs.

Call 781-388-4845 to schedule a phone consultation appointment.  Due to COVID-19, counselors will only be available for remote counseling over the phone. There will be no in-person consultations this year. It is important to have your Medicare and insurance cards along with a complete list of your medications when speaking to the SHINE counselor. Call early to get a SHINE appointment during Open Enrollment.  

Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) SHINE program serves older adults in the communities of Chelsea,  Danvers, Everett, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, Middleton, Nahant, North Reading, Peabody, Reading, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Stoneham, Swampscott, Wakefield and Winthrop.

MVES Urges You to Get Your Flu Shot Early

With the flu preparing to settle in for the fall and winter, Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) reminds you it is crucial you take proactive steps against the flu. Public health officials are urging Americans, especially older adults, to get their seasonal flu vaccine early this year, especially with the COVID-19 Pandemic still in existence. Those over 65 years of age are more susceptible to both the flu and COVID-19. Both diseases prompt an inflammatory response in individuals and people with underlying health conditions, such as coronary artery disease, are already at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, according to the CDC. It’s more important than ever to get a flu shot this fall — and the sooner the better.

Annual flu vaccinations are important to older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34,000 people died from the flu last year, down from 62,000 the previous year, and the vast majority of these flu deaths were people over age 65.

Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. In the U.S., influenza is the cause of about 114,000 hospitalizations each year. The ideal time frame for getting a flu shot is during the months of October and November, but you’re encouraged to take action as soon as possible even getting it this month.

People who are over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of developing complications resulting from the flu than younger, healthy adults. The human immune defenses become weaker with age, so influenza can be a very serious disease for people 65 and older. Older adults with conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease are at high risk and need to get a flu vaccine. In addition, people who are active and healthy can benefit from the protection the flu vaccine offers.

People of all ages should pay particular attention to their level of exposure to a number of germs and viruses: Here are some tips:

• Be aware of those you come into contact with—avoid others who are sick

• Be aware of the multitude of surfaces you touch on a daily basis.

• Wash your hands frequently.

• Carry small bottles of antiseptic hand gel.

• Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

People worry about possible side effects but the flu shot’s benefits heavily outweigh the side effects. Most people experience nothing more than a little soreness in the arm after being vaccinated. Other mild problems could include fever or aches, which disappear within a few days.

Anyone with a severe egg allergy should not get the vaccine because the vaccine virus is grown in eggs. People who are currently ill or just recovering from an illness should consult their physician before arranging to be vaccinated. In most instances, they may be advised to wait until they are completely recovered.

The vaccine usually protects most people from the flu, however, sometimes a person who receives the flu vaccine can get the virus, but it will frequently be milder than without the vaccine. The flu vaccine will not protect you from other viruses that sometimes feel like the flu.

If you have not set up an appointment to get your flu shot, please reach out to your healthcare provider. Flu vaccines are covered by insurance.  Information partially provided by the Mayo Clinic.

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