The following statement regarding disclosure of statistics on coronavirus cases in Hull was submitted by Town Manager Phil Lemnios.
The town of Hull does not report the number of cases in the town for several key reasons. The only source of statistics available to our Board of Health is provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. MADPH is reporting statistics on a county-by-county basis and is advising that towns not report on a town basis. This is driven by the fact that individual town counts do not provide a complete picture of the number of cases in any town. The count reflects only that number of individuals who have tested positive and are recorded in the MADPH database.
For instance, many people are contacting their medical providers and describing their symptoms. In an abundance of caution, their doctors are likely advising those patients to consider themselves positive and to isolate themselves until their symptoms subside. If their condition worsens, their doctors will send them for testing.
Local boards of health do not receive information on these types of cases. We have no way of knowing the number of individuals in Hull who may have the virus but are showing no symptoms. We do not know how many individuals in town have come into contact with someone who has the virus. In short, the statistics that are available are incomplete and should not be used as a way of determining your risk or Hull’s risk. The town does not think it is responsible to report incomplete data that will lead to a false sense of what is happening here in Hull.
Since the beginning of the pandemic control efforts, the two main sources of medical guidance for everyone remain the same – the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the state Department of Public Health. Even though there are some towns reporting counts, there are many that are not. We will continue to follow the guidance of the MADPH and the CDC and will not second-guess these agencies on this issue or on their recommendations for best practices regarding how to address this pandemic in Hull.
We continue to urge everyone to consider themselves at risk and to follow the advice that is being provided: Maintain good social distancing practices and personal hygiene. Until there is a change in that guidance, everyone should assume they are at risk and that the risk is present here in Hull as it is everywhere else in the country.