Friday, July 10, 2020

In the News: West Nile virus detected in mosquitoes; plastic bag prohibition delayed for Franklin

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"About 15 minutes after the House of Representatives voted unanimously to give the executive branch new powers to run a statewide mosquito control response when the threat of mosquito-related diseases is high, public health officials announced that West Nile virus has been found in a Massachusetts mosquito for the first time this year. 
Two mosquitoes collected Tuesday in Belmont tested positive for West Nile virus, the Department of Public Health said, and no human or animal cases have been identified. 
There were five human cases of West Nile virus last year and 49 in 2018, the greatest number of cases Massachusetts has ever seen in a single year. 
West Nile can infect people of all ages, but people over age 50 and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for severe disease, according to the state."
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"Earlier this year, town officials put the word out that Franklin would be banning the use of thin-film, single-use plastic shopping bags at local stores, starting in July. That was before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The town’s plastic bag ban has now been temporarily shelved. 
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen said the delayed start of the ban is because of Gov. Charlie Baker’s late March order prohibiting the use of carry-in, reusable shopping bags while the pandemic is ongoing, to prevent the spread of the virus. All existing local bans on plastic bags were also lifted statewide. 
“Our local bylaw was to go into effect July 1, but with the governor’s order, we cannot implement the new bylaw yet,” Hellen said Tuesday. “Once he rescinds that order, we will allow for a certain time of compliance after that. That said, the bylaw is active, but is trumped by the state executive order.”
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