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8 Takeaways from the May 19 Tewksbury Board of Health Meeting

All members were present last night, with Charlie Roux attending remotely.

1. The Dunkin Donuts at 1220 Main St. was on the agenda for critical food violations. Tom Adie, from the Tewksbury Donut Corp., which owns and operates this location, was on hand to discuss the ongoing problem. Adie apologized for conditions found recently and for not addressing previous issues with the town. He recently met with Tewksbury director of public heath Shannon Gillis to go over issues at the location. Gillis pointed out that the issues started last July; there were no temperature logs or cleaning logs being kept. The site was supposed to be sending these to her office weekly, but she has received only a few logs.

There is also a concern that the site isn’t large enough to accommodate the business. Gillis did say that a site visit yesterday found the location much cleaner; she requested logs be submitted going forward. Adie shared that the restaurant is now receiving two deliveries instead of one per week, which helps with the space issue. He also said they have moved some equipment around to make more space and is back to being fully staffed.

BoH member Robert Scarano wondered if other Dunkins have had similar issues and could offer advice, or if a professional should come in. He also noted day-to-day staff should be ServSafe certified. Adie advised the Board that the location may be getting an outdoor walk-in to help with storage and that he is working with Ecolab, a national firm that will come in and perform inspections.

2. Next up was a discussion about appointing a Board of Heath member to the Tewksbury School Committee’s Wellness Committee. Current School Committee and Wellness Committee member Keith Sullivan came to speak about the request. He shared with the BoH that the Wellness Committee meets quarterly and includes School Committee members, the school head nurse and TPS Food Services director Deb Mugford, among others. The Committee deals with wellness and promotes healthy practices for students and families, like the upcoming bike rodeo. BoH member Melissa Braga was appointed in a unanimous vote.

3. The permit issues at Oliveira Farm are still ongoing. All animals should have been removed in September, but ponies and goats remained as of 2 p.m., according to the Animal Control Officer, despite the facility currently having no permit to keep any animals. This issue has now been escalated to town counsel, as fines of $100 per day continue to rack up. Board member Charlie Roux asked to leave the farm on future agendas in case there are updates, since animals have been neglected. Chairman Ray Barry suggested asking Animal Control to do a site visit a day or two before BoH meetings, and the update can be added to the director’s report.

4. Director of public heath Shannon Gillis gave a town COVID update. There has been a spike in town, said Gillis. There are 275 cases among people who went to facilities for tests; that number does not include those who took home tests.

Roux shared statewide stats from the Massachusetts Department of Public Heath. There are 3,400 new cases in the Commonwealth, with 803 hospitalizations and 30 deaths. Roux stated he has asked the state for more info about comorbidities in the hospitalizations and deaths. Barry recommends residents go back to things we did at the peak: mask if you feel you need to, test when you’re sick, go shopping when stores are less crowded.

“Eating healthy is very important, drinking lots of water, hygiene, all those things will help,” said Braga, who is a nurse. “Being out in the sun, getting some sunlight, is very helpful. Getting some fresh air in your backyard. Just that alone is very important.”

She recommended people consult with their doctors. “This isn’t going away,” she said. “We just have to take care of ourselves, stay healthy, take your supplements, vitamins, medications, and drink water.”

Author’s Note: There is a COVID Booster clinic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tewksbury Senior Center; more information is here.

5. The Bike Rodeo will be held June 12 from 1- 3 p.m. More info can be found on the Tewksbury Police Department’s Facebook page.

6. Barry notes that you can sign up to get town alerts on the website.

7. The Central Mass Mosquito Project sent out a letter out with spraying dates, which are tentatively May 31 and June 8, 14, 21 and 27, weather permitting. This is a free service the state provides. Residents can check out dates on the CMMCP’s home page, and there is also a form to requests service.

“Homeowners should be doing due diligence” in regards to areas that trap standing water on their property, said Board member Bob Scarano. “These are attractive nuisances for mosquitos.”

8. Braga said that ticks are big right now. Learn much more here, including how to repel ticks and what to do if you find one, links to more resources and a card for tick identification.

Braga advises doing checks, and do not suffocate the tick before removal.

Julie Naughton
Julie Naughton

Julie likes coffee and covers education and all things concerning the Tewksbury Public Schools, along with other topics, for the Carnation. Contact her at: attn Julie N.

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