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Celebrating Safely: Winter Gathering Guidance

The winter gatherings safety poster is available in color and black and white PDFs for printing as well as a JPEG for digital sharing below.

winter gatherings safety tip sheet 2021 color

winter gatherings safety tip sheet 2021 greyscale

Flu Clinics

The flu season is beginning! Everyone six months of age or older needs a flu vaccine. When most of us are vaccinated, we build community immunity that protects the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems from the terrible effects of influenza.  During the current coronavirus pandemic, flu vaccination is all the more important for staying healthy and conserving needed health care services.  For information on prevention, symptoms, and treatment of influenza, visit www.flu.gov

The Cooperative Public Health Service (CPHS) is offering influenza vaccines (with no insurance co-pay) to area residents at regularly scheduled wellness clinics throughout the region. 

Where and When are Flu Clinics Happening?

  • Public Flu Clinics organized by the FRCOG’s Health District have ended. Small onsite clinics at senior centers and older adult housing facilities in district member towns continue.
  • All local chain pharmacies have flu vaccinations as well.

What to expect:  

A COVID self-screen is required of everyone attending.  Face masks and physical distancing as possible are required.  Local public health, public safety, fire and EMS, along with other community leaders and volunteers including members of the Franklin County/Western Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps are staffing these clinics.

What kind of vaccine is available?

Both injectable and flu mist formulas for kids will be available this year.  Senior High-Dose formulas will be available at most clinics for those over age 65.  Visit this page regularly for updates and any changes and contact Lisa White, RN, Regional Public Health Nurse of FRCOG, at 413-774-3167 x 156 for any special needs. We are exploring offering COVID boosters when they are approved by the state.

 Volunteering  at  Flu  Clinics

We have a long history of providing flu clinics to the region! This year most volunteers are from the Medical Reserve Corps and local emergency dispensing site planning groups. To join the MRC, visit www.wmmrc.org 

If you are a registered volunteer who will work as a scribe, vaccinator, or registration helper, you need to register for the COLOR software. Do that by filling out THIS FORM.

Pictured: the team for a 2018 flu vaccination clinic held at Deerfield Elementary including CPHS staff, Medical Reserve Corps, Greenfield Community College nursing students, public health leaders, public safety, EMS and community volunteers

Contact Lisa White, RN, Regional Public Health Nurse of FRCOG, at 413-774-3167 x 156 for updated schedule and more information or visit this page regularly.

Other  Clinics will be posted here as we get information on them. 

For more information on the CPHS, click here.

 

MA Drought Alert

Please be aware that Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 1-Mild Drought in all seven regions of the Commonwealth. Please see  MA Drought Alert – December 2020 for information on the current drought conditions and how communities can mitigate and prepare for long-term drought impacts.

For more information on the current drought conditions, and technical guidance regarding drought management actions, please visit www.mass.gov/ma-drought-management.

 

 

COVID-19 Data and Updates

For an archive of all the emails sent by the state on re-opening, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s COVID data page, click here.
For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the COG’s Board of Health COVID Resources Page click here.
For local public health COVID case management contacts (public health nurses), click here. 
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Click here for testing resources

 

 

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

Halloween During COVID: Spooky and Safe!

In response to requests from town administrators and board of health members in a number of towns, the FRCOG has pulled together a Halloween COVID safety poster with tips for both trick-or-treaters and those they visit.

Communities can request hard copies (11×17) by calling 413-774-3167 extension 1 and leaving a message or download it here: FRCOG halloween safety tips poster

Helpful links:

https://www.mass.gov/news/halloween-during-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

How to make a candy chute for safe dispensing of candy.

 

tips for safe trick or treating and celebrating

FRCOG Racial Justice Work

The murder of George Floyd and resulting international protests highlight again the dire consequences of systemic racism and inequity in our society. We all must proactively work to right centuries of wrong.

At the FRCOG, we are already involved in projects to improve racial equity. The Communities that Care Coalition, staffed by our Partnership for Youth, has a 5-year grant to address racial justice in our county’s school districts. Welcoming and Belonging Franklin County, in which we participate with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation and Greenfield Community College, among others, has received a grant to address racial equity and inclusion in our workplaces and community. The FRCOG’s research conducted to produce last year’s Community Health Needs Assessment identified troubling health disparities for people of color in our county. These inequities must be considered in all local and regional planning efforts moving forward. The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Pan Flu Planning Subcommittee has acknowledged systemic racism as a public health issue, and has recognized that domestic terrorism inflicted upon black and brown people is a Homeland Security issue. The FRCOG also works closely with our county’s first responders, and we will collaborate with them to ensure greater racial equity in our region.

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

Build your community’s immunity: take time for a flu shot!

Flu season is here and local boards of health and public health nurses are hard at work making plans to build community immunity!

Check out the calendar of vaccination clinics here: https://frcog.org/flu-clinic/

According to the CDC, flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.