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Through the COVID-19 Crisis, Barnstable County Continues to Work for You

By on April 13, 2020 in Misc, Recent News

Barnstable County Government’s most pressing obligation is to assist and coordinate services to Cape Cod residents and the 15 municipalities on Cape Cod. In times of emergency and crisis, our tasks step up as we lead the regional collaborative response.

Emergency Response During COVID-19

Since the first week of February, Barnstable County has been responding to the COVID-19 crisis seven days per week.

The Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment has been the seat of the Barnstable County Incident Command COVID-19 response, managing emergency grants, and funneling essential assets to our local Boards of Health. The department communicates with boards of health weekly and has been supporting their efforts with staffing and volunteers as necessary.

The County’s Public Health Nursing staff deployed early on to engage with the County’s Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps and its 330 volunteers.

In this crisis where Personal Protective Equipment is scarce, we seek to reach beyond the Cape to assist our first responders in sourcing and delivering vital equipment to the front lines. The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) activated the Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) when Governor Charlie Baker enacted the Emergency Declaration. Since its activation, our team at the MACC has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The MACC is designed to provide local Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) with resources and information during major regional incidents, typically a weather event, but is now activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It manages resource requests from Police and Fire Departments, local boards of health, and other agencies across Cape Cod. As of April 10, the MACC has arranged over 40 truck deliveries of supplies. Several of our AmeriCorps Cape Cod members have been assisting in the MACC since its activation.

Our response team collaborates daily with Cape Cod Healthcare. We assisted in launching the Cape’s COVID-19 mobile testing center, the first off-campus center to open in Massachusetts, and aid operations there daily.

Our staff has worked directly with Cape Cod Healthcare and Federal and State affiliates on developing regional surge centers. We have assisted with the planning and operational procedures for three surge sites in Brewster, Falmouth, and at Joint Base Cape Cod.

The Department of Human Services has been assisting in assessing the needs of the homeless and working with partners to find solutions to keep this population safe during COVID-19.

The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension has provided individuals both at home and those that work in food environments (restaurants, grocery stores, and farms) information on best practices for managing the risk of infection during COVID-19.

Our Director of the Department of Health and Environment holds daily press calls to keep our media current. The Communications Team has systematized and updated websites to display essential COVID-19-related information and interacts with the community through our social media accounts. A COVID-19 general information email was activated to answer the public’s questions.

Barnstable County staff is also assisting small businesses on critical loan applications as needed.

The Cape Cod Commission and the Department of Health and Environment have collaborated with Cape Cod Healthcare to plan a unique community alert system using heat map technology to display hotspots on Cape Cod. (See the map HERE)

 

Maintaining Regular Duties During COVID-19

All the while, County business continues as usual, in large part by the ability of most of us to work remotely. Employees maintain their daily resolve to keep the government going so we can continue to provide vital services to you.

Over $9,000,000 in grants to the towns on Cape Cod are managed or supported by dedicated County employees from all departments, working from home without interruption.

There has been no disruption to services like regional procurement or emergency IT services to the towns. The Dredge crew is using this time to repair and upgrade equipment. At the same time, Children’s Cove, the Cape and Island’s Child Advocacy Center, has remained operational throughout the crisis and is responding to emergencies. The Community Septic Management Loan Program continues to write loans to residents.

The Facilities Department is working to ensure that our courthouses are open, safe, and clean.

The Water Quality Lab continues to provide essential testing services for our towns’ ponds, streams, estuaries, and private wells.

The Registry of Deeds, Barnstable County’s primary source of revenue, shared with the Commonwealth, remains open for personal and commercial real estate transactions. It is essential to recognize that this excise revenue to the County, enacted by the Legislature, supports the numerous County services provided to our region; it costs property owners less than $1 per week.

Barnstable County is here for its citizens and the towns we serve.

Please visit www.barnstablecountyhealth.org for COVID-19 updates.

To learn more about Barnstable County, history and structure, please visit https://www.barnstablecounty.org/regional-government/

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