Greenfield’s Emergency Operations Center, COVID-19 hotline open

  • Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner addresses the media and others at the John Zon Community Center on Friday afternoon about the city’s plan for COVID-19. With her are Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan, public health agent Jennifer Hoffman and Chief of Staff Danielle Letourneau. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/24/2020 3:52:00 PM

GREENFIELD — The city’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center is up and running and its community information line is operational.

Greenfield has set up the information line as part of its coordinated emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The phone line, 413-775-6411, will be answered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is not open to the public.

The Greenfield Community Information line will provide information to residents on resources, the latest information from the city’s Health Department and the state, and it can be used as a resource for finding government benefits and services, nonprofit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities and donation programs that are available to the public during the health crisis.

The information line is not designed to be used to diagnose or treat a medical issue. Outside of the Monday through Friday hours, people should call Mass 211 for information, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If there is a life-threatening emergency, people should still call 911.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner announced the opening of the Emergency Operations Center, located within the John Zon Community Center at 35 Pleasant St., at the end of last week. Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Robert Strahan is running the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center.

Wedegartner said the city is following the guidelines of the state commissioner of public health “during this time of the escalating health emergency, and the city’s emergency management staff is maintaining the confidentiality of those in the community who are suspected or presumed to have COVID-19.”

The mayor said she is in constant communication with all local health care facilities and meets with city officials regularly.

As of Tuesday morning, Baystate Health had tested 736 people. Of those, 348 tested negative for COVID-19, 50 tested positive and 338 are pending. Those are cumulative numbers. Baystate has hospitals in Greenfield, Springfield, Westfield and Palmer. People who test positive are either sent home to self-quarantine, if they are well enough, or sent to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, if their case is more serious.

Wedegartner said the Emergency Operations Center is a “clearinghouse of information to help us respond to the pandemic.” Emergency personnel will focus on streamlining all communication and requests to local, state and federal pandemic responders. They will coordinate the needs for supplies and resources, collaborate with neighboring communities and stay connected to a statewide network tracking the virus.

As of last week, Wedegartner said people were calling different departments throughout the city. She said it is important that there is one central location.

The information line is staffed by volunteers and city staff, all supported by the Health Department.

Wedegartner said everyone should practice social distancing, wash their hands often and clean surfaces. She suggests everyone visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Public Health websites often. They are: (DPH) bit.ly/2QJ8UmL; (CDC) cdc.gov.

Strahan said the city will coordinate its resources and its overall response.

“We are in a state of emergency,” he said. “We will be working with other towns, the state and the federal government throughout and for the recovery after.”

He said first responders are following protocols and he is keeping an eye on supplies, so the city doesn’t run out.

“It’s business as normal for responders,” he said.

Information about COVID-19 and the city’s response can be found at: greenfield-ma.gov.

Donations

Additionally, the Emergency Operations Center is seeking donations of medical grade personal protective equipment for use by first responders and health professionals, according to a press release from the mayor’s office. The needed supplies include: masks, gloves, gowns, shoe coverings (booties) and hand sanitizer. No homemade items will be accepted.

Residents are advised to call 413-775-6411 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, before bringing donations. Items will need to be dropped off outside the John Zon Community Center, but should not be dropped off after hours.




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