There are 41 Massachusetts residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
Gov. Charlie Baker will hold a briefing Tuesday to update the preventative steps the state is taking against the coronavirus threat. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will join state health officials at 3:30 p.m. to provide an update on coronavirus preparedness and planning as the number of presumptive cases rises in the state.
During their daily 4 p.m. briefing on Monday, state health officials said there are 15 total cases in Middlesex County, 10 in Norfolk County, 10 in Suffolk County, five in Berkshire County and one in Worcester County.
Four of the 41 patients were hospitalized.
These are presumed positive cases, according to the state Department of Public Health. A presumptive positive is defined by the state as a person whose test has come back as positive from the state Public Health Lab, and the specimens will be sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
The number more than doubled on Sunday to 28, up from 13 on Saturday, state public health officials said. Many of those residents, who are 29 and 69 years old have children in the public school systems. School officials are alerting their communities and cleaning the buildings
The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time, according to state health officials.
Arlington’s health department said one of the town’s students was diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19. The town said the child’s mother also presumptively tested positive for COVID-19.
The child is a student at Stratton Elementary School. The approximately 30 students and staff who were in close contact with the infected student have been advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and not to report to school Tuesday, health officials said.
“If you have not been notified by the Arlington Health Department that you need to self-quarantine, then you do not need to self-quarantine,′ the school district said.
Arlington Public Schools will open and operate normally on Tuesday, the town said. Stratton Elementary School was closed Monday to allow the health department time to trace all close contacts of the infected student.
Framingham leaders spoke to residents about contingency plans via Facebook Live Monday, March 9, to brace for the possibility of increased public health risks to the city over coronavirus.
Samuel Wong, director of public health, said the current risk to city residents is low.
Superintendent of Schools Robert Tremblay said the school district staff is taking increased cleaning steps to protect the health of students and faculty, such as cleaning frequently-touched surfaces and disinfecting school buses on a nightly basis.
They have also canceled all international trips for the remainder of the school year, though domestic trips are still scheduled to go on as usual. Gov. Charlie Baker recommended this earlier this month.
In the case school is canceled, school administrators will publish a list of local food pantries for students who use free or reduced lunches.
Health Director Samuel Wong, cautioned viewers to wash their hands after using frequently-touched surfaces in public places, to sanitize their homes, avoid touching their faces, and minimize close contact with sick people.
Along with providing regular updates on their website and social media accounts, Spicer encouraged citizens to follow their “reverse 9-1-1” program, which sends citizens regular alerts about safety concerns in the city.
Two Franklin middle school staff members are in self-quarantine amidst continuing concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to the district’s top administrator.
Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern issued an advisory after the administration learned over the weekend that the two staff members were asked to self-quarantine “after having attended a function with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.”
The staff members, who work at Horace Mann Middle School and Annie Sullivan Middle School, were not showing any symptoms of illness, Ahern indicated.
The quarantine is being undertaken as a precaution, as per the recommendations of public health officials. At present, there are no confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus in Franklin.
“We have sought guidance from MDPH (the Massachusetts Department of Public Health) on this matter and are assured that we do not need to take additional steps at this time,” Ahern said.
Out of “an abundance of caution,” she noted, school custodial staff were called back to the two schools on Sunday “to conduct an extra round of cleaning and sanitization of both Horace Mann Middle School and Annie Sullivan Middle School, as well as the common spaces shared with Oak St. Elementary and Keller Elementary schools.”
News of the staff members’ self-quarantine status was joined over the weekend by news that a student in the neighboring King Philip Regional School District is also in self-quarantine after having returned from a country that is now identified by the CDC as having a Level 3 travel notice, KP district officials reported Saturday.
At present, there are also no confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus in any of the King Philip communities, which include Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham. The student was described as well and free of COVID-19 symptoms as of Saturday afternoon.
A resident with children at Natick High School has a presumed positive test for COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus.
The resident is one of 28 people in Massachusetts that has a presumed positive test. A presumptive positive is defined by the state as a person whose test has come back as positive from the state Public Health Lab, and the specimens will be sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
The parent was one of the 13 new cases publicly announced on Sunday and is presumed to have contracted the disease while attending the BioGen conference in Boston at the end of February.
Superintendent of Schools Anna Nolin announced all evening activities at the schools were cancelled on Sunday. Nonlin said the Sunday night closure was “out of an abundance of caution; we made the proactive decision to close Natick High” and “allow for a second thorough cleaning and sanitation round for every classroom and space throughout the building. This second cleaning will conclude by midnight tonight. All custodians involved used recommended protective gear while cleaning.”
Nolin wrote on the district’s website that she and Jim White, the director of the Natick Board of Health, learned of the information at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We were also notified that both students are healthy and not exhibiting any symptoms and were directed to remain out of school,” Nolin wrote. “Additionally, the family made a decision to keep the students out of school prior to this becoming a presumptive case.”
The children and family are following the quarantine protocol from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) until cleared to return to school. As with any communicable disease, towns and schools are required to follow the direction from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
A parent of a Horace Mann Elementary School student “has been diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19 (coronavirus),” according to a letter emailed to Newton Public School parents Sunday night and confirmed by Mayor Ruthanne Fuller’s office.
The child, who school officials said is healthy and not showing symptoms, “is following the quarantine protocol from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) until cleared to return to school.”
“The Facilities Department is conducting deep cleaning and disinfecting at Horace Mann prior to opening (Monday). We have strengthened cleaning protocols at all schools, with a focus on high touch points. We are conducting close monitoring of hand towel and soap dispensers to ensure regular refill and have purchased a large supply of hand sanitizer to be distributed to all schools,” reads a letter to parents sent out on Sunday by Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman.
With the CDC’s website declaring “older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions ... seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness,” the city’s Department of Senior Services is reaching out to seniors with vital information.
Jayne Colino, department director, on Monday said, “It’s quiet here today.”
She said she has asked the Senior Center’s case manager and social work intern to reach out to people they know who might be feeling more vulnerable or who are more vulnerable to be sure they have the proper information.
Colino said so far, the department hasn’t seen a big increase in concern expressed by seniors because “they understand that we’re trying to keep them informed.”
The department is also taking action in case the constantly evolving coronavirus situation takes a turn for the worse. Colino said if the Senior Center needs to close, their priorities will be to provide food service, access to transportation for medical appointments and trips to the grocery store as well as social service outreach.
The Norwood town manager has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Norwood Health Department.
General Manager Tony Mazzucco was notified of the presumptive positive COVID-19 test by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Monday.
Mazzucco was among 11 town officials, including Superintendent David Thomson, who have been self-quarantining after attending a March 1 house party where a person who has since tested positive for COVID-19 was also in attendance.
The Norwood Public Schools superintendent is among the group of town officials who are in self-quarantine after they came into contact with a coronavirus patient.
Thomson will work from home next week and will be able to return to school March 16, which is when the self-quarantine period ends, if he remains symptom-free.
Norwood Public Schools are operating in a normal fashion and all schools are open.
A Sharon resident has been tested for potentially having the novel coronavirus, according to Superintendent of Schools Victoria Greer.
In a recorded message posted on Sharon Community Television’s website Monday, Greer said the results are not back yet but the district and town is acting as if it was positive.
According to Greer, the person tested is part of a family where members attend and work in the district. The family is staying in isolation at its home, Greer said.
One family member attended the 11th grade move-up ceremony on March 5 at the high school.
“Persons who attended who were in the immediate area or who had direct contact with this person have already been notified,” Greer said. “The presumed risk of exposure is really low.”
Greer said the department sanitized all buildings on Sunday but there is no need to close schools as of Monday.
Late Monday night, the Board of Health was notified by the state about a town resident with a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19, according to a press release.
That means the test result has not yet been confirmed by the CDC.
The resident is currently being treated at a local hospital and recovering. Family members are at home in quarantine. There are no known contacts in the Sudbury Public Schools or Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
Wellesley has three presumed cases of coronavirus as of Monday. Town officials were notified of the new cases about 4 p.m. Monday. The two new cases are linked to that BioGen event.
The new cases are two of 13 cases that were announced Monday. Red more State News.
After a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was diagnosed in Wellesley on Friday, two public schools where the patient has children were shut down early as a precaution. The schools -- Upham Elementary and Wellesley Middle schools -- were cleaned and sanitized over the weekend, and were open on Monday. No other schools were impacted.
Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) began their work once students and staff had left and completed the work late Saturday afternoon, March 7. Ten custodians worked across both schools, covering more than 270,000 square feet of space, the town reported.
They used specialized Protexus electrostatic disinfectant dispensers and tablets that are recommended for this type of deep cleaning.
While some non-school and non-town sponsored events planned for this weekend were cancelled, all school and town events are expected to take place. School Superintendent David Lussier said earlier in the week that several trips and international exchanges that had been scheduled were cancelled. “We are assessing what options we have that will give our parents the best chance to recoup their money. Unfortunately, travel insurance does not cover outbreaks such as the one we are dealing with."
How to prevent coronavirus
Wash your hands: You’ve heard it before but, as with the flu, washing your hands needs to be done right to be effective. Wash for at least 20 seconds and make sure to cover every surface of your hands, including under your fingernails. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content can be used when soap is unavailable.
Don’t touch your face.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Clean surfaces daily.
Avoid human contact when sick: Stay home from work or school when sick and minimize interactions with other people. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Don’t rely on masks to prevent infection. Masks aren’t effective and should be saved for health care workers or people who have the virus to reduce the spread when coughing or sneezing.
Stop sharing: It may run counter to human nature, but now’s the time to stop sharing your glass, food utensils, towels and other objects with friends or family. You might also want to stop greeting people with a handshake, hug or kiss.
Basic well-being rules apply: Basic self-care is also important. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise regularly, meditate, eat nutritiously and stay hydrated.
What are the symptoms
Symptoms for COVID-19, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure, include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs). Most patients will present with a fever, cough, muscle aches or a headache – classic influenza presentation. The illness has been estimated to last between two to three weeks for those infected.
So what should someone do if they have flu-like symptoms?
Dr. Thomas File is chairman of the infectious disease division for Summa Health. He also is president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America: Call your physician. Our society is recommending that if the patient has flu-like symptoms, that the provider prescribe the antiviral medicine without even coming in the office to be tested. We have such a high level of activity (for influenza) that you don’t even need to be tested.
The physician then should also ask questions of the patient. If there are any indications the patient has been exposed to the coronavirus, they’ll want to refer the patient to the infection control or health department and have the patient wear a mask right away.
Original story here.