Jean Perry, Neighb News Correspondent
Fairhaven Board of Health Chairperson Michael Ristuccia said on September 9 that he had no regrets about canceling the last BOH meeting after resident Ann Richard expressed her disappointment that the board went longer than two weeks without a public meeting during a pandemic.
She was also dismayed that she did not receive a response to the email she sent to Mr. Ristuccia but commented that she was pleased that BOH member Kevin Gallagher and Health Agent David Flaherty did respond.
Ms. Richard also asked about the status of COVID-19 vaccine boosters before Mr. Ristuccia addressed her comments.
“I do not answer every email that I receive,” said Mr. Ristuccia. “I do not have time…”
He receives too many emails to respond to them all, he said, adding that, in place of a meeting in August, Mr. Flaherty presented his updates in a live broadcast the same night.
“I do not feel that where there were no other items on the agenda, that it was necessary to have a meeting other than to let the folks know all of our health agent items,” said Mr. Ristuccia. “I do not feel the least bit anxious or concerned that the rest of the meeting didn’t occur because there was nothing to talk about at that meeting.”
Mr. Ristuccia offered some info on vaccine boosters, saying that he had already received his from a local pharmacy and encouraged those eligible to contact their pharmacy to schedule their booster shot.
Mr. Gallagher commented on an email he received from a resident concerned about whether other licensed health care providers like chiropractors and physical therapists should be wearing and requiring patients to wear masks under the state’s mask mandate.
Mr. Flaherty apologized for not having addressed Mr. Gallagher’s concern by the meeting but said he would clarify the matter later and enforce the mask mandate if applicable.
In related news, Mr. Gallagher inquired about releasing another COVID-19 information mailing to town residents after about a year-and-a-half since the board sent out the first such mailing.
With the surge in Delta variant cases, Mr. Gallagher suggested it was time to send residents updated information about the virus, vaccine and testing info, and state and local contacts.
“I think that that’s a good idea,” said Mr. Ristuccia, who suggested that the mailing go further to include a magnet for residents to keep on the refrigerators for easy access.
“One of our responsibilities is to provide the education,” said Mr. Gallagher. “To make sure that people know what to do or where to go. We’re not the definitive answers, we’re not the experts when it comes to this [but] we can help them get the information all the better.”
Mr. Flaherty listed the statistics as of August 27: a total of 2,171 COVID-19 cases in Fairhaven with 60 cases currently. There were 1,508 tests for a 4.97% positivity rate within those two weeks, down from 5.41% two weeks before. The health nurse was following 81 cases of various infectious diseases as of the night of the meeting. A total of 9,354 Fairhaven residents were vaccinated for COVID-19 as of 9/1, up 895 from the two weeks prior.
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