Next meeting will feature discussion of tobacco licenses
The Board of Health met on Thursday without members Melissa Braga and Bob Scarano.
Health Director Shannon Gillis reported that Jade East is no longer required to have visits by food safety consultant Wai Kwan as of Friday. The restaurant, at 433 Main St., was closed by the town in October 2022 for unsanitary conditions but reopened with conditions in place, including the consultant.
“They’ve had no priority violations,” said Gillis. “So today, I hand delivered them a letter stating they’re in compliance going forward. They’ll be subject to the routine health department inspections.”
Chair Ray Barry praised the outcome, saying the food safety consultant model is working.
“It’s not the department’s role to do the training,” said Barry. “We could fine the restaurant, but having them put that same money and maybe more into a consultant is going to provide them more return on their investment.”
In her update, Gillis shared a few items of interest:
- The Dana Farber mammography van will be in town on November 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Senior Center. Registration is required, and most forms of insurance are accepted. Learn more and register.
- The health department has received a limited number of Covid test kits from the state. There are five test kits in each box. Residents can drop by Town Nurse Ashley Pavlakos’ office and pick up one box.
- The town also has some flu vaccine, high dose and regular dose. If anyone’s looking for a home visit or if they need a flu shot they can contact Pavlakos. However, the town is struggling to get the new Covid vaccine.
- Pavlakos is teaching another Youth Mental Health First Aid course, on Nov. 14 In Billerica. Anyone interested can sign up by contacting the nurse.
- The Tewksbury Community Pantry needs specific items that are not typically received in adequate quantities. These items include cereal, snacks, cookies, potato chips, individual packaged items for lunchboxes, oatmeal, coffee, tea and condiments including ketchup, mayo, mustard and salad dressing. These items do not need to be in family-size packages; even smaller quantities will make a significant difference to those in need. Donations can be dropped off at the Pantry or in boxes at the exit of Market Basket.
Barry informed the board that Ron Beauregard, the tobacco control agent for the town of Tewksbury, suggested that the town might wish to consider a cap on the number of licenses for stores that sell only tobacco items. If a permit-holder closes a business, that cap goes down by one. The board will discuss this at its next meeting.
Barry also said that there is no statewide standard for tattoo artists or microblading salons and other similar cosmetic modalities involving the skin. Regulations have been left up to local communities. Tewksbury’s updated regulation requires that those applying for permits have medical oversight and that practitioners have taken blood-borne pathogen and skin safety courses for infection prevention, and successfully complete a quiz to prove mastery.
Barry said the town is in need of a new quiz. Member Kate Bugda Gwilt, who holds a PhD in pharmacology, suggested that the town look into CITI Program courses, which provide peer-reviewed, web-based education geared to the needs of communities.
“Then perhaps we’re not reinventing the wheel and putting more of a burden, or effort I should say, on both Ms. Gillis and our town nurse, and it would facilitate current Massachusetts institutional standards,” said Bugda Gwilt.
Barry noted that October is substance abuse and prevention month and said that he hopes the town can have more events to raise awareness.
Finally, Bugda Gwilt noted that October is also breast cancer awareness month.
“Many of us have relatives who are either recovering or currently suffering and being treated for breast cancer,” she said. “Anyone who is over 45 should seek out a breast cancer screening from their physician.”