Burrillville officials prepare for COVID-19


BURRILLVILLE – Communities across the globe are looking for ways to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and local officials noted this week that Burrillville is no exception.

Local authorities spoke with NRI NOW about what they’re doing to prepare the town just as Gov. Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency on Monday, March 9.

Officials from the Burrillville school district said they’ve met with police and fire agencies to discuss efforts to coordinate local strategies for preparedness and prevention of the virus, known as COVID 19.

“We will continue to communicate on a regular basis as things develop,” Supt. Michael Sollitto told NRI NOW this week.

Sollitto said he has authorized overtime hours for custodians at Burrillville schools to address any cleanliness issues, and ensure schools are properly sanitized. Two cases of disinfecting wipes have been ordered for each of the town’s five public schools.

“Teachers were notified that these were available if they would like them for their classrooms,” Solitto said.

The superintendent said he’s also been participating in weekly conference calls with the Rhode Island Department of Health, and has been sending regular communications to building principals.

Just today, Monday, March 9, Sollitto said he reached out to the state to ask for additional supplies, such as disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, which he hopes to have by the end of the week.

The virus has been found in more than 100 countries according to recent reports, and there have been more than 600 confirmed cases in the U.S., with numbers rising in cities including Boston and New York.

Col. Stephen Lynch said the police department is also taking precautions.

“We have met with all of the districts fire chiefs, (the) town manager and the school superintendent to ensure constant communication that any issues impacting this community will be properly covered,” Lynch said.

Lynch said BPD dispatchers have been instructed to vet calls for police and rescue services to check for any health issues that responding personnel should be aware of.

“This includes recent travel inquiries on the parties involved and all information obtained is provided to the Police Department’s OIC and responding rescue personnel,” Lynch said.

Officers have been provided with a supply of sanitary wipes in cruisers, as well as masks to give out to any individuals with symptoms of coughing, fever and the flu.

And like all experts have advised, Lynch said his officers have been instructed on extensive hygiene procedures of washing hands and sanitizing as often as possible, and being mindful not to touch their faces.

Precautionary measures also extend to the station, where the colonel said his building coordinator has been sanitizing door handles, rest rooms, and areas of congregation “extensively,” including the lobby, the court room and court room lobby, the patrol room and conference room.

Burrillville Town Hall published a notice this week with tips to help residents stay safe.

“We can all help stop the spread of viruses in Burrillville and surrounding communities by taking these precautions,” noted the communication.

Residents with symptoms of the coronavirus, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath are instructed to contact their primary care provider. General questions can be answered by RIDOH’s new Coronavirus Information Line at 401-222-8022.

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