COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed from March 24 – April 7.

Staff are working remotely.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are responding to emergencies only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar https://frcog.org/events/category/meetings-and-events/.

Email is likely the most efficient way to reach staff.  You can find our email addresses and other contact information here: https://frcog.org/about/staff/

Archive | March, 2020

Public Comment Period for Draft Amendment to the 2020 TIP Highway Project List

The Franklin County Transportation Planning Organization will open a 21-day public review and comment period on Draft Amendment #1 to the 2020-2024 Transportation Improvement Program. Comments on the Draft will be accepted from Monday, March 30, until Monday, April 20, 2020. The Draft document is available for review at the links below or by calling (413) 774-3167 x 139 to request copies.  Comments should be submitted in writing to lscarbrough@frcog.org or to Franklin regional Council of Governments, 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield MA 01301.

The Draft Amendment and a summary are available for review at the following links:

2020 Franklin TIP Highway Project List Amendment 1 DRAFT
2020 Franklin TIP Amendment 1 Summary

Wipes Clog Pipes: Water Protection During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Cooperative Public Health Service Health District of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments reminds people to consider what is going into their household drains.  People served by public sewer systems or private septic systems should be aware of what happens with items that are not biological and therefore not intended for the wastewater system.

While the Coronavirus requires an increase in the need to sanitize, even within our own homes, we need to limit the amount of sanitizers that go into our sanitary sewer systems.  These sanitizers kills viruses and bacteria, both harmful and the useful bacteria that breaks down your family’s waste. The district’s recommendations:

DON’T FLUSH WIPES, paper towels, cotton swabs, sanitary products, toilet cleaning pop-off wands…

If your home has its own septic system: Even flushable wipes can clog your plumbing and create problems for your septic system. Wipes don’t break down quickly and entirely like toilet paper.  Flushing wipes and items other than toilet paper can plug the building sewer line and build up at the inlet of the septic tank causing sewage to back up into your house. Wipes in your septic tank will reduce its ability to remove solids from the water, contributing to system failure.  Flushing wipes can also clog up much-needed pumps within your septic system.

If your home is on public sewer, leading to a wastewater treatment plant: Flushing wipes and items other than toilet paper can plug the building sewer line, causing sewage to back up into your house. They can also clog up the pumps in your local wastewater treatment plant.

USE BLEACH SPARINGLY

Combating the Coronavirus requires an increase in the need to sanitize, even within our own homes. However, bleach, and other disinfectants kill the beneficial bacteria and may lead to premature system failure.  Choose non-bleach cleaning alternatives whenever possible or use sparingly and well diluted.  Hot water and soap are effective against Coronavirus.

WHERE TO LEARN MORE

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/protect-home.html

Wipes Clog Pipes Flyer

Resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19

For information about resources and guidance to support businesses and non-profit organizations impacted by COVID-19, click here for more information.

Also, a survey of Pioneer Valley businesses and organizations is underway. The data collected will be used to demonstrate the local economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis when advocating for state and federal resources now and in the coming weeks and months. If you have a business or non-profit organization, please complete this brief survey by March 31, 2020. Individual responses will be kept confidential.  Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PVBIZCOVID

 

COVID-19 Activity at FRCOG and Municipal Resources

Here at the FRCOG we are working on the global Coronavirus outbreak and resulting cases of COVID-19 illness, and how to prepare for potential cases in our communities in a number of ways. We have created a municipal resource page at:  https://frcog.org/covid-19-resources/ This page is a list of links to important and frequently-updated resources for different municipal roles, including boards of health, first responders, and select boards.

The FRCOG’s Emergency Preparedness Program has two initiatives underway:

The Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition has activated a Joint Information Committee to align messaging from local boards of health to their municipal partners and residents. The committee co-chairs are Carolyn Shores Ness, Deerfield Board of Health, and Norene Pease, Shutesbury Board of Health. The Committee’s goal is to provide credible information sources, and to provide actions citizens can take to protect themselves. The Committee also requests that local officials share any public messaging your community is creating or sharing so that they may better align the regional messaging. You can see this week’s message at the COG’s COVID-19 page.

Staff have developed and shared a resource page for Long Term Care, EMS, Hospitals and Public Health at the Western MA Health & Medical Coordinating Coalition’s website at region1hmcc.org The HMCC Duty Officer is actively responding to concerns and resource requests from partners in healthcare and public health.

The FRCOG ‘s health district, the Cooperative Public Health Service, serves 14 towns. CPHS Public Health Nurse Lisa White is in contact with senior centers, schools, and others as part of preparing for the local response to any person who is screened as having or being exposed to COVID-19, which will be managed through the MAVEN database we already use for infectious disease surveillance. Our response in coordination with DPH and providers may include developing systems for daily monitoring of temperatures of quarantined residents, investigating contacts, and conducting clinical investigation and reporting for individuals who have tested positive for COVID19. Additional staff capacity to manage future cases has been identified, and CPHS is working with its boards of health to help them prepare for town-level activities.

On a side note, FRCOG is working to advocate for attention to the needs of our communities in responding to this outbreak: Lisa White was at the State House last week testifying before the Public Health Committee on rural COVID-19 preparedness status and needs.

And finally, we are examining the FRCOG’s own Continuity of Operations Plan and  having a discussion with the COG’s governing committees to discuss work-from-home protocols in the case of either personal or community quarantines. We are happy to share any protocols we develop with towns.

Please check the COVID-19 page regularly for updates and staff contacts.