WILMINGTON — Wilmington Fire Chief Bill Cavanaugh announced to the Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Monday night that the town’s total COVID-19 positive cases as of that day were 76. The total cases were down 62 from the Board of Health’s previous numbers from four days earlier, as Selectman Greg Bendel later pointed out.
Cavanaugh also shared on behalf of public safety that his department has been handling potential COVID positive cases, requiring extra caution and cleaning in those situations. He mentioned that all of the first responders who had received their first vaccine dose would be getting their second dose this Thursday.
More information from the Board of Health he included was that the department only received 100 vaccines last week and none this week from the Department of Public Health. Town Manager Jeff Hull added that they had requested 1,500 doses.
Cavanaugh said the BOH will put out information on the website and on social media when they have clinics available to residents. He encouraged folks to dial 211 or visit maimmunizations.org to find vaccination sites elsewhere in the meantime.
A concern of the board was how seniors who aren’t tech savvy could get the information that they need about vaccine clinics. Bendel gave credit to Director of Elderly Services Terri Marciello and the other Senior Center staff for inviting seniors to call them to schedule their vaccines. He also mentioned the VA Bedford Healthcare System vaccinating veterans over 60.
Kevin Caira asked if there was a callback system at the senior center for seniors who had called but hadn’t been able to make a vaccine appointment yet. Cavanaugh said he’d relay the question to Newhouse because it wasn’t something he was aware of.
Gary DePalma wondered if the pandemic has caused an uptick in mental health issues. The chief answered that this had indeed been the case along with an uptick in substance abuse calls. Before they moved on, Hull shared that he’d just heard from Director of Veterans Services Lou Cimaglia that the suicide rate for veterans is up 20 percent and 30 percent for those in active duty with the pandemic.
Later in the meeting, Dispatch Supervisor Corey Swift also said anecdotally that there has been an increase in crisis calls received.
According to Hull, Representative Dave Robertson’s office asked him about a potential site for a vaccine clinic in town and refrigeration capacity. His answer to their question was that the town was having difficulty getting vaccines and wasn’t sure if the Board of Health would even be very helpful in the vaccination plan or if it will be more large-scale vaccination centers.
The board went on to approve a request to change the manager of the Red Heat Tavern from Dennis Martin to Michael Snapausky. Snapausky told the board that he’s been in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, at the Red Heat Tavern for 3.5 years, and general manager for the past year.
They invited Corey Swift to expand upon the renovations made in the dispatch room of the public safety building. Swift shared that they received all new equipment and furniture, added an extra station, and made better use of the space ergonomically. He said that the updates are thanks to the continued support of the town and the board.
Cavanaugh mentioned the need for the upgrade and the state-of-the-art status of their new technology.
Chairman Jonathan Eaton said, “Enjoy the new space and keep up the exceptional work.”
In communications, Hull included information about the MSBA application for the Wildwood School and potentially other elementary schools in town. He said that the town was asked to be more specific with their focus for the application and expecting a decision in April or June.
The next item was about notifying residents about the annual Town Meeting on May 1 at 9 a.m. at the Shriner’s Auditorium. He said they’ll use the same process that they used for the Nov. 3 election, including things like postcards, sign boards, town topics, and social media.
He then listed all of the warrant articles by petition that will be brought to Town Meeting. There were a number of petitions to purchase town land and rezone property along with proposed amendments to the zoning by-law and a petition to name the North Intermediate School’s soccer field.
Hull covered communications regarding a grant received for a consultant to help identify economic development issues and an update about the new senior center. Having hired an OPM, the committee is reviewing applications for a designer/architect.
The next two items mentioned renewing Verizon’s license and the childhood cancer study results to be released as soon as possible.
The final communications items pertained to the New England Transrail providing the town a proposal after the EPA’s final remediation order and the EPA’s comments on Olin’s proposed plan to replace the containment area cap. Largely, Hull said the EPA felt Olin’s plan was insufficient.
A board to consider item brought up the introduction of a kennel license fee, which they approved in a 4 to 1 vote. Hull said next steps would be sending information for applications to the two kennels in town, inspections by the Animal Control Officer, and final approval from the Board of Health.
Announcements included upcoming retirements, kudos to the DPW for their snow plow work, and Selectman Jomarie O’Mahony’s son Patrick’s 18th birthday.
Hull plugged the upcoming Finance Committee meetings on Feb. 9, 11, 23, and 25 and March 2, 4, 16, and 18 before Eaton shared the salute to service for longtime resident and two-war veteran Walter E. Moran.
The board will next meet on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.