Canton remains on high alert for EEEBy Jay Turner
The risk level for contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in the town of Canton remains at “high” and residents should continue to practice personal protection measures — including using insect repellant and staying indoors from dusk to dawn whenever possible — until further notice from the state, according to Board of Health Director John Ciccotelli.
Ciccotelli, who described the current alert as unprecedented for this time of year, said the high risk level will remain in effect for the remainder of the summer and will likely continue until the first frost. He urged residents who have to go outdoors during peak mosquito hours to use precautionary measures and to share any concerns they might have with health professionals.
At this time, Ciccotelli said the DPH alert is not an order but rather an advisory. He said the risk level would be changed to “extremely high” if a mammal or human contracted EEE. Regardless, he said the risk should be taken seriously as there have already been three EEE-positive samples found in test pools in Canton in a span of three days.
Ciccotelli said he has relayed the state’s advisory to both municipal and school officials and has advised them to reschedule all outdoor activities held in the evening and early morning hours. “As far as we know, that [directive] seems to have been taken seriously,” he said.
Among the town departments affected are the Canton Public Schools, most notably high school athletics, and the Recreation Department, which has changed the start and end times of some of its programs and has moved all remaining outdoor concerts (August 8 and 22) to the Metropolis Skating Rink.
Recreation Director Janet Maguire said she has stopped all activity after 6 p.m. for town-sponsored programs, which does not include privately operated programs such as Canton Pop Warner. She has also changed the start of the playground programs to 9 a.m. and the start of the Canton Dolphins swim practices to 8:30 a.m. As of now, the town pool will remain open until 6 p.m., although Maguire said she may consider closing it earlier toward the end of the season.
For more information on the EEE alert, go to town.canton.ma.us or call the Canton Board of Health at 781-821-5021.
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