As the third confirmed case of coronavirus in Milton was identified as a Milton High School student on March 19, town officials told residents to expect more cases to arise and to continue to be vigilant about preventative measures.
“In this crisis, we all have a role,” Select Board Chair Mike Zullas said in a Town of Milton update that was broadcast on Milton Cable Access Television. “We all know what to do, handwashing, sanitizing and social distancing, so let’s do it. Let’s meet this challenge together.”
The Select Board also held a meeting on March 19 via video conference in which members discussed a need to find ways of blocking gatherings of more than 10 children and teens that have gathered at Kelly Field and its adjoining tennis courts.
Board members also threw their support behind measures to delay town elections, agreed to postpone the May Town Meeting, and questioned whether it would benefit Milton to declare its own state of emergency.
Board members discussed the need to assess the potential impact on this year’s budget, predicting that the town and school budgets will have to undergo another revision.
This comes after tentative agreements on amounts proposed for the fiscal year 2021 budget that were set to go before Town Meeting had been reached calling for four more teachers and an additional bus to address increasing enrollments in the Milton Public Schools.
Milton may face significant cuts if town revenue sources and state aid are reduced, as expected, officials said.
A potential new date for town elections that were set for April 28 was not identified, but the board voted to reschedule the May 4 Town Meeting to June 15, 16 and 18 for now.
Town Administrator Mike Dennehy assured residents that the town’s services, including police and fire departments, as well as its emergency medical services provider Fallon Ambulance Services, are operating at full speed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Health Department is continuing to closely monitor the situation.
Town departments are open, and the Council on Aging and the Milton Public Library are among the departments working to reach out to residents.
The Council on Aging is delivering items to seniors and sponsoring grocery shopping trips.
The library is offering only online services.
Although town buildings are closed to the public, a staggered staff is on hand to serve the public through email, phone, the internet.
Trash collection is continuing on schedule, and Dennehy asked residents to make sure to have barrels out on time since trucks may arrive earlier due to reduced traffic.
The town is also looking at ways to perform some building inspections remotely.
Health Director Caroline Kinsella briefed the board about the most recent case of coronavirus and Milton High School sent out a letter to families and staff.
The letter stated that the student last attended Milton High School on March 12, began experiencing symptoms on March 15, and tested positive on March 18.
No other schools have been impacted, according to the email, which declared, “The Milton Health Department reached out to the student and the student is isolating at home. Family and all close contacts have been contacted and are quarantining at home at this time.”
The Milton Public Schools remain closed and are in the process of fully cleaning and disinfecting each school.
Due to student privacy laws, other details about the student cannot be shared, the School Department said.
Kinsella said the two individuals who were earlier confirmed as having the disease have remained in isolation and are recovering at home.
Kinsella recommends that parents monitor their children and if any symptoms are observed, they should contact their pediatrician.
At the meeting, Select Board member Richard Wells said that Milton and many communities declared local states of emergency during the 100-inch snows of 2015, which helped them gain access to help.
Select Board member Katie Conlon said she was concerned about the large groups of kids who were congregating at Kelly Field and asked that the town find a way to again remind people about the need for social distancing.
She also said she was concerned that the town should be “very cautious” with its expenditures for the remainder of the year.
The board expressed a need to seek ways of putting more money in reserve funds to deal with unforeseen circumstances for next year.