Mattapoisett Board of Health discusses how to handle summer residents

May 27, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — With the weather warming up, temporary residents will soon be coming back to their vacation homes for the summer, which could be a problem in the face of a pandemic. 

Town Public Health Nurse Amanda Stone explained to board members at a May 26 meeting that keeping track of cases and contact tracing becomes more complex with relocating residents.

Summer residents won’t be entered into the state database of cases unless they’re sick, she said. This could be problematic if someone moving in is asymptomatic or came in contact with someone who had it before.

The state tracks cases by address, Stone said. If a summer resident writes their home address when getting tested, the case goes to that town or state. However, it becomes Mattapoisett’s issue as well because the town is now involved in contact tracing for the temporary resident.

For Stone, covering coronavirus is time-consuming and she “wakes up in the morning and you never know what you’re going to expect.”

This is on top of increased contract tracing that she is expected to do with the state because people will be expanding their social circles.

Fortunately, Stone said that as of May 11, people who came in close contact with carriers can now get molecular testing to see if they have traces of antigens from the virus and to test for antibodies.

To address complaints about non-compliance, Stone said it’s best to educate businesses. Some incidents have been a misunderstanding in the rules.

“The better we move with phase one, the faster we move to phase two and new normal,” said Stone.

The board also voted to hire Emily Field of Marion to replace Stone after she retires on July 3.

At the meeting, Stone said she will also be working in a very limited capacity after she retires to help the new public health nurse adjust to the role.