COVID-19 in the Town of Freetown: Information, Dashboard & Timeline of Freetown-Centric Updates

The Freetown Board of Health, in coordination with the CDC and Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, is keeping our residents up-to-date on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (Image from the CDC)

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Town of Freetown 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard

This new "dashboard" format of reporting was added to this page on April 27, 2020. This new format will make data updates to freetownma.gov easier to see at-a-glance. Necessary updates will continue to be posted in a blog-type format below, as necessary.

Town of Freetown 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard

Data Current as of 3:15pm on May 22, 2020
Newly Reported Confirmed Cases for Freetown1
Total Number of Confirmed Cases in Freetown82
Newly Reported Confirmed Deaths of Freetown Residents0
Total Number of Confirmed Deaths of Freetown Residents3

For up-to-date figures for Bristol County & the Commonwealth of

Massachusetts, please visit the COVID-19 Response Reporting page on mass.gov.

 

Timeline of Town of Freetown COVID-19-Related Updates

May 8, 2020: Third Confirmed Death in the Town of Freetown

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

The Town of Freetown is saddened to report a 3rd resident has passed away from COVID-19 related symptoms. We send our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the resident. 

Please remember to do your part to stop the spread. Masks are now mandatory in stores in the Commonwealth, and also in any outdoor public places where social distancing is not possible. Wear a mask, protect everyone.

 

May 5, 2020: Wear a Mask. Protect Everyone.

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

Per a recent Governor Baker order, starting Wednesday, May 6th, face coverings will be required in any building and anyplace where social distancing cannot be achieved. Violations can be met with a $300 dollar fine per violation. I am asking our local businesses that have customers that enter to please be strict about not allowing access to customers without masks. Also, I am asking the residents to please not put yourself or others in a bad situation and please wear a covering at all times going into a business or in a place where you can’t socially distance.  

This is a big step in getting us as a town and a state back up and running. We all need to play our part in getting back to normal and this is a big step in that direction. Thank you for your cooperation. 

 

April 27, 2020: Second Death of a Freetown Resident Due to COVID-19 Related Issues

Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo is reporting 4 additional confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Town of Freetown, bringing Freetown's total up to 50 confirmed positives. Unfortunately, Mr. Macedo is also reporting the Town's second death from COVID-19 related issues, this time a resident in their 40s. No further details will be announced. Everyone here at the Town of Freetown sends their deepest thoughts, prayers and sympathy to the family and friends of this resident.

 

April 25, 2020: First Death of a Freetown Resident Due to COVID-19 Related Issues

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

Today the town of Freetown is announcing 4 new positive COVID-19 cases for a total of 46. 

Unfortunately, the Town of Freetown is also reporting that one of our residents has passed away from COVID-19 related issues. The resident was in their 70’s. In the interest of privacy, no other information will be given. We send our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this resident.

 

April 24, 2020: Number of Confirmed Cases in the Town of Freetown Now Over 40

Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo is now reporting 7 new confirmed cases in the Town, raising our total to 42 cases. This is yet another reminder that we are currently in the “surge” for Covid-19 cases, so please remember to practice good social distancing, and also please wear protective face coverings if you have to go anyplace where social distancing will be tough (grocery store, etc.)  Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t available.  Check on a loved one and/or neighbor, especially the elderly.  If your experiencing symptoms, please call your PCP or local health provider before going to a location.  Most of all, take steps to keep you and your family safe during these unprecedented times. 

 

April 23, 2020: Two Additional Cases Announced

Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo is reporting two additional confirmed cases in the Town of Freetown, bringing the Town-wide total to 35. 

 

April 22, 2020: Reporting Problem Fixed, Number of Confirmed Cases Jumps to 33

The previously noted reporting problem has now been fixed, and 8 new cases are being confirmed in the Town of Freetown, bringing our total to 33. 

 

April 21, 2020: Reporting Problem Between Labs, the State and Your Local Government

A message from the Board of Health Agent.... You may have noticed that Freetown has not reported any new cases since Friday. This is -- unfortunately -- not because there have not been new cases. We are working through a reporting issue between labs, the state, and your local government. This is not a Freetown specific issue, as there are a few communities who have not gotten updated numbers. This is unprecedented times for everyone and there are going to be bumps in the road. We are working hard with our partners in public health to get this fixed and report accurate numbers to you as soon as we can.

 

April 17, 2020: Twenty Fifth Case Amongst Freetown Residents Announced

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo: "Today, Freetown is announcing another new confirmed case, bringing Freetown's total to 25."

 

April 16, 2020: Twenty Four Cases

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo: "Today, Freetown is announcing another new confirmed case, bringing Freetown's total to 24."

 

April 15, 2020: Twenty Three Cases

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo: "Today, Freetown is announcing an addition new case, bringing Freetown's total to 23."

 

April 13, 2020: Twenty Two Cases

From Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo: Today, Freetown is announcing 2 new cases for a total of 22.

 

April 12, 2020: On Easter Sunday, the Town of Freetown Hits Twenty Confirmed Cases

The Freetown Board of Health is now reporting a twentieth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Town of Freetown, as two more residents have tested positive.

 

April 11, 2020: Seven More Cases in Freetown Announced

Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo is now announcing seven more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Town of Freetown, bringing the total up to 18. 

 

April 10, 2020: Eleventh Case in Freetown Announced

Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo is now reporting an 11th confirmed case of COVID-19 in a Freetown resident, and would like to remind everyone, once more, to practice social distancing and proper hand washing. A surge of confirmed cases is expected in the coming days.

 

April 9, 2020: Freetown Now Up to Ten Cases

A note from Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

Freetown has learned of an 10th confirmed case of Covid-19, bringing Freetown's total up by 3 residents.  As we are entering the surge of the virus here in Massachusetts, we are expecting the number of positive cases to continue to climb.  Now is the time to be practicing your best social distancing and hand washing.  Please everyone, be smart and be safe.  We know as the weather gets warmer we are going to want to get out more, but if we want this virus to go away so we can really enjoy the weather, we have to be smart now.  Social distancing IS working and we are almost through the worst of it.  APART BUT TOGETHER!

 

April 8, 2020: Seventh Case in Freetown Announced

At the Board of Selectmen's meeting on the evening of April 8th, Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo announced Freetown's seventh confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in a Town resident. To view this announcement, along with the rest of Mr. Macedo's update, please click here.

 

April 6, 2020: Total Number of Confirmed Cases in Freetown Now Up to Five

A message from Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

The Town of Freetown is announcing another new case of the Coronavirus in our residents, bringing the total number of cases in Freetown to 6. This new case is another reminder of the importance of proper social distancing protocols. All direct contacts have been contacted and the residents are all properly following quarantine protocols.

We will continue to update this website with new cases and helpful information as it becomes available. Thanks and stay safe. 

Derek Macedo
Health Agent
Town of Freetown

 

April 6, 2020: CDC Recommending Wearing Cloth Face Coverings in Public Settings Where Other Social Distancing Meares are Difficult to Maintain

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

See below for a downloadable sheet that contains all the CDC guidelines on these cloth face coverings, along with instructions on how to make your own (with both sewing and non-sewing instructions!)

 

April 5, 2020: Total Number of Confirmed Cases Up to Five in Freetown

A message from Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

The Town of Freetown is announcing 3 new cases of the Coronavirus in our residents, bringing the total number of cases in Freetown to 5. All direct contacts have been contacted and the residents are properly following quarantine protocols.

We will continue to update this website with new cases and helpful information as it becomes available. Thanks and stay safe. 

Derek Macedo
Health Agent
Town of Freetown

 

March 26, 2020: Transfer Station Re-Opening to Residents on a Reduced Schedule on March 27th

The Transfer Station is being RE-OPENED to residents on Fridays and Saturdays, starting March 27th. There will be some new procedures in place in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, adhering to CDC guidelines to promote proper social distancing and the safety of our employees and residents.

 

March 25, 2020: Second Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Case in the Town of Freetown

A message from Board of Health Agent Derek Macedo:

The Town of Freetown is reporting a second confirmed positive Covid-19 case.  This person has been under quarantine for almost a week now.  All appropriate parties have been notified.  As of this writing, we currently have 1159 cases in Massachusetts with 31 in Bristol County and 64 in Plymouth County.

This is a constantly changing and more challenging issue to deal with on a daily basis.  As testing is becoming more prevalent, so are the gaps in reporting, which can make it very difficult to get informed information out to the public.  Please know anything being reported on this website is done once we have confirmed lab results. 

At this point, the governor had closed all non-essential businesses until April 7th, 2020.  If you are unsure about your businesses designation, please reach out to me.  If you believe you are non-essential but would like to apply for an exemption through the state.  There is information on Mass.gov about the governor’s order, the link to apply for exemption, and numerous other Covid-19 related issues.

Please practice good social distancing, wash your hands, and use sanitizer.  Check on your neighbor, especially if they have a medical condition or are elderly.  We all play a piece in trying to flatten the curve.  Your local restaurants are still open and doing take out.  If you can, please support your local businesses that are really struggling to stay afloat during this time. 

Lastly, your Health Department is working very hard to keep you informed.  As soon as we get any new info, we will be posting it to our website and social media accounts.  Please also visit Mass.gov and the CDC website for the latest news and updates as they become available.  Please Stay Safe.

Derek Macedo
Health Agent
Town of Freetown

 

March 23, 2020: Information Regarding COVID-19 and HIPPA Privacy and Security Rules

There may be confusion about the information that can be shared about individuals who have contracted COVID-19, those suspected of exposure to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, and those with whom information can be shared.  The Town will not be sharing the personal information of anyone whom we have been alerted as to having COVID-19 to any members of the public or media.

It is important to remember that during a public health emergency such as a disease outbreak, and this applies to HIPAA compliance and COVID-19, that the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules still apply.

The HIPAA Security Rule ensures the security of patients’ protected health information (PHI) and requires reasonable safeguards to be implemented to protect PHI against impermissible uses and disclosures. The HIPAA Privacy Rule restricts the uses and disclosures of PHI to those related to treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.

This means that we will not be disclosing the whereabouts, home address or Names of people with COVID-19.

What we will be sharing is the latest numbers of those confirmed, new information and older information about precautions and the latest list of rules and regulations and changes to government around containing the spread and flattening the curve of the COVID-19 spike.

For information about COVID-19 and testing and risk assessment, you can still call the Mass Department of Health 2-1-1, but the Freetown Board of Health is not able to give out any personal information about people that have tested positive.

 

March 20, 2020: Non-Essential Town Employees To Work from Home / Essential Employees to Work In-Office at a Reduced Schedule

At their meeting on March 20, 2020, the Board of Selectmen voted to have non-essential personnel (generally, office staff) work from home, with essential personnel (department heads) working from home and in their offices at a reduced schedule, for the immediate future. Please be advised that mail, the mailbox in front of the town hall, phone messages and emails WILL be checked, though the response time may be a bit slower than usual. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Please see the attached Building Closure Operational Guidelines, approved by the Board at this meeting (below).

 

March 17, 2020: First Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 in the Town of Freetown

We have been informed today that a resident in Freetown has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.  The resident is currently in quarantine now and has been for a few days now. More information about the individual is not available at this time.

Please use this as a reminder that we all share a part in flattening the curve of positive cases. Please make sure you are practicing good social distancing, washing your hands regularly, using hand sanitizer when thorough washing isn’t a possibility, avoiding touching your face, coughing into your elbow and staying home from work when you do not feel well. It is also important to call your primary care physician or local emergency room if you feel you meet the criteria for testing; do not simply show up in the office. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, please visit the CDC’s website, cdc.org/covid19.

 

March 16, 2020: Town Offices CLOSED to Public, per order of the Board of Selectmen

The Freetown Town Hall, Freetown Public Libraries, the Freetown Council on Aging & the Transfer Station will be closed to the public, with a few exceptions, beginning Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, and for the immediate future.

This is being done to promote the concept of “social distancing,” reducing the number of in-person interactions that each of us has with each other on a daily basis. Reducing the number of interactions helps reduce the chances of spreading and transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The staff at Town Hall and other town buildings will continue to perform their duties and be present to assist you via telephone or e-mail during their normal business hours. Contact information on the Town’s website, freetownma.gov, is up to date.

Residents and others will be able to pay bills by check or money order by placing all necessary paperwork in an envelope and dropping them off in the black mailbox in front of the Town Hall. This mailbox will be checked regularly. Additionally, payments can be made via the Town’s website, freetownma.gov. At this time, out of an abundance of caution and for the protection of our staff and other residents, cash is NOT being accepted. If you have any questions regarding payments, please contact the Treasurer/Collector's Office at 508-644-2202 x4.

If you are looking for copies of documents such as birth certificates, septic system plans, assessor records, etc., please call the appropriate office, and the staff will work out a method for you to obtain the necessary documents.

Additionally, at this time, we are asking homeowners/contractors/etc. seeking new building permits, health permits, assorted approvals or inspections to please hold your applications at this time, unless it is an emergency situation. If you need to discuss these matters with the individual departments, please call the appropriate office.

A blanket decision on meetings of individual Boards, Commissions or Committees utilizing Town buildings was not made at this time.

As the public health situation is constantly in a state of flux, please be aware that further closings may be a possibility in the future, and will be communicated as soon as information is available.

 

March 14, 2020: Mass.Gov / 2-1-1

At a press conference on March 14th, Governor Baker reminded all Massachusetts residents that the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and the Commonwealth's response to it can be found at mass.gov/covid19, or by calling the informational and referral hotline, 2-1-1

 

March 13, 2020: BOH Recommends All Social Activities & Gatherings of 50+ People Postponed/Cancelled and Transfer Station CLOSED

The Board of Health is recommending that all social activities and gatherings of 50 people or more be postponed or cancelled until the spread of the Covid-19 virus is contained. This is a recommendation – not an outright ban at this time.

Additionally, in further efforts to limit the opportunities of exposure for the virus, the transfer station will be CLOSED until further notice, effective immediately.

Any further scheduling changes, cancellations or closures will be communicated when they are available.

 

March 12, 2020: All Activities at the Council on Aging & Freetown Public Library CANCELLED Until Further Notice

In an abundance of caution over the spread of COVID-19, in consultation with the Board of Health Agent, Council on Aging, Council on Aging Director and the Library Director, the Town of Freetown is announcing that ALL activities at the Multipurpose Senior Center, James White Memorial Library and Hathaway Library are CANCELLED until further notice, effective immediately. All three buildings will remain open at this time, but organized activities will be cancelled.

To combat the spread of this disease, the Board of Health would like to remind you to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and to stay home if you are sick.

Further updates will be posted to the Town's social media channels and to freetownma.gov when available.

David DeManche
Town Administrator

 

March 10, 2020: Governor Baker Declares State of Emergency to Support Commonwealth’s Response to Coronavirus

Today Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts to support the Commonwealth’s response to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

The Baker-Polito Administration also announced new guidance for Executive Branch employees in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This includes discontinuing all out-of-state work-related travel, canceling or virtually holding conferences, seminars, and other discretionary gatherings, informing employees not to attend external work-related conferences, seminars, or events, reminding employees feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms to not come into work, and encouraging high risk employees to talk with their supervisors to review possible alternative work assignments.

Regular internal government business will continue, and these new measures complement other precautions that have been put in place in recent days encouraging proper self-care and hygiene and increasing cleaning and sanitizing of Executive Branch buildings and offices.

“Today, I have declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts to further support our response to Coronavirus,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue planning and preparing to mitigate the spread of this disease, and have issued new guidance for Executive Branch employees in the Commonwealth. I urge employers and other large organizations to follow our example and limit or eliminate non-essential travel, limit or eliminate large events where possible, and explore telework where appropriate for your organization. We are also urging older adults and those with health issues to avoid large crowds and large events.”

“Our Administration believes it is important to start taking additional actions now to mitigate spread based on the information we have available, including issuing the enhanced guidance for Executive Branch employees which prohibits nearly all  work-related travel, limits or cancels large events, and encourages teleworking where it is appropriate,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our state agencies will continue to coordinate daily with health care professionals, educational institutions and federal and local partners on preparedness efforts for COVID-19.”

The guidance for Executive Branch employees goes into effect on Wednesday, March 11, and will be revisited in 30 days or sooner as circumstances dictate. The full details are as follows:

  • All work-related travel, both foreign and domestic, is to be discontinued until further notice. Executive Branch employees are also strongly encouraged to avoid any personal international travel.
  • Conferences, seminars and other discretionary gatherings, scheduled and hosted by Executive Branch agencies involving external parties, are to be held virtually or cancelled. Regular internal business shall continue, including but not limited to mandated public hearings and board meetings. Meeting organizers are strongly encouraged to utilize alternatives like conference calls, WebEx and other group communication tools.
  • Additionally, Executive Branch employees should not attend external work-related conferences, seminars or events. Alternatively, Executive Branch employees are encouraged to participate remotely.
  • Executive Branch employees feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms should not come into work. Information available to date regarding COVID-19 indicates that the highest risk population includes older adults and individuals with serious chronic medical conditions. Employees in this risk group are encouraged to talk with their supervisors to review possible alternative work assignments.
  • These actions complement additional precautions that have been undertaken in recent days including encouraging proper self-care and hygiene such as washing hands, ensuring bathrooms are stocked with hand washing materials and paper products, frequently cleaning touch points such as doorknobs, handles, elevator buttons and common area surface, and making cleaning products and sanitizers available in all Executive Branch workspaces.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been activated and is bringing together health, human services, public safety and several other government agencies. This working group follows the Department of Public Health’s infectious disease task force that was stood up in January.

The Administration also issued updated guidance to members of the public. This guidance is posted on the Department of Public Health’s website, www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.  

The Administration urges older adults and those with health issues to avoid large crowds and events. Individuals who live in households with vulnerable people, like elderly parents, should also consider avoiding crowds.

Tomorrow, DPH will distribute guidance to long term care facility operators. This guidance will outline how these facilities should protect elderly residents at higher risk for Coronavirus. This will include banning visitors who show signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat). Visitors will be prohibited if in the last 14 days they had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, are under investigation for COVID-19 or has been sick. Visitors will be prohibited if they have travelled internationally in the last 14 days or are residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring. Visitors will not be allowed to visit long term care facilities if they currently feel sick or exhibit symptoms.

On public transportation, the MBTA will continue to disinfect surfaces and vehicles in line with its new cleaning protocol, but the Administration encourages older adults and those with underlying health issues to avoid large crowds of possible.

Regarding K-12 schools, the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) is providing local schools with relief from attendance and school year requirements so that schools have the flexibility to make decisions on temporary closures due to Coronavirus concerns. More specifically:

  • The longest that any school district will be required to go is its scheduled 185th day.  No schools will be required to be in session after June 30th.
  • For accountability purposes for school year 2019-20, DESE will calculate chronic absenteeism as of Monday, March 2, 2020 and disregard all attendance data for the remainder of the school year.
  • DESE Commissioner Jeff Riley is strongly urging all districts to cancel all out-of-state travel at this time. This is in addition to the Administration’s existing request for schools to cancel international trips.
  • The Department of Public Health will be issuing updated guidance to Superintendents on how to address cases that arise at a school, including potential school closures.

The public is also reminded of steps to take to limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth – when you cough or sneeze use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands – with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel.
  • Stay home if you are sick – and avoid close contact with others.

The Administration will continue to update the public on further developments and individuals are encouraged to consult both the Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for the most up to date information.

 

March 9: 2020: Massachusetts Department of Public Health Updates New COVID-19 Cases in New Online Dashboard

The Department of Public Health (DPH) has updated the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases at mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring.  Starting today, the case information will be posted once daily by 4 p.m.

There are 13 new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts to 41. Of the 13 new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, nine are associated with the Biogen employee meeting held in late February: the cases are either employees or close contacts of employees. All of today’s presumptive positive cases are isolating at home or in a healthcare setting. Of the 41 confirmed or presumptive positive cases, 32 are associated with the Biogen conference.

The State Public Health Lab’s result is considered presumptive positive and the specimens are sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation. 

Additional updates to the site include case breakdowns by county, age, gender, and source.

For more information on COVID-19 visit mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

 

March 8, 2020: 15 New Presumptive Positive Cases of COVID-19 Identified by Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory

Massachusetts cases now total 28, includes one confirmed, 27 presumptive positive

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced 15 new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts to 28. All 15 cases had a direct connection to the Biogen employee conference in late February. The presumptive positive cases include five from Suffolk County ranging in age from 30s to 60s; five from Middlesex County ranging in age from 40s to 60s; four cases from Norfolk County ranging in age from 40s to 60s; and a female whose age and county of residence are unknown at the time of this release. Among today’s presumptive positive cases were eight men and seven women. With today’s release, 23 of the presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Massachusetts are associated with the Biogen employee meeting held in late February. All of today’s presumptive positive cases are isolating at home.

Yesterday, DPH announced five new presumptive positive cases, three of which had a direct connection to Biogen’s employee conference, one with recent international travel, and a fifth case for whom there is no current known linkage to the Biogen conference or foreign travel.

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time.

The State Public Health Lab’s result is considered “presumptive positive” and the specimens will now be sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation. 

The Department of Public Health is providing daily updates on the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases at mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring. Case-specific information will be updated on the site Monday, March 9.

As of Wednesday, March 4, 719 people have been subject to self-quarantine in Massachusetts because of COVID-19. Of those, 470 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined, while 249 are currently quarantined.  This information is updated online each Wednesday.

For more information on COVID-19 visit mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

 

March 7, 2020: Five New Presumptive Positive Cases of COVID-19 Identified by Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory

CDC to conduct additional testing to confirm these cases; Massachusetts cases now include 13–one confirmed, twelve presumptive positive

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today announced five new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts to 13. The cases include four people from Middlesex County: one woman in her 40s, one woman in her 50s, one man in his 40s and another manin his 60s. The five cases also include one man from Berkshire County in his 60s. 

Of these five cases, three had a direct connection to the Biogen employee conference last week, one had recent international travel that included northern Italy, and the fifth case is still under investigation.

The State Public Health Lab’s result is considered “presumptive positive” and the specimens will now be sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.  

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time.

 

March 6, 2020: Five New Presumptive Positive Cases of COVID-19 Identified by Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory

CDC to conduct additional testing to confirm these cases; Massachusetts Department of Public Health begins daily online reporting of cases, which now include eight – one confirmed, seven presumptive positive

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today announced five new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 since testing started Friday, February 28, at the State Public Health Laboratory, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases to eight. All five of these new cases are tied to an employee meeting of a multi-national company with headquarters in Massachusetts that took place in late February. The cases include two women and one man from Suffolk County, all in their 40s; and two individuals form Norfolk County, one woman in her 30s and one man in his40s. All five individuals are at their homes.

The State Public Health Lab’s result is considered “presumptive positive” and the specimens will now be sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.  

The risk to the general public from COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts.

Including the cases announced today, Massachusetts has eight total cases: one confirmed case and seven presumptive positive cases. The one confirmed case is a Suffolk County man in his 20s who returned from travel to Wuhan, China, and is recovering at home. There are seven presumptive cases: The five cases announced today, along with two previously-reported presumptive positive cases. Those previously reported cases are a Norfolk County woman in her 20s who recently returned from an organized trip in northern Italy, and a Middlesex County woman in her 60s whose recent international travels included northern Italy. All of these cases are recovering at home.  

Beginning today, the Department of Public Health is providing daily updates of confirmed and presumptive positive cases at mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring

As of Wednesday, 719 people have been subject to self-quarantine in Massachusetts because of COVID-19. Of those, 470 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined, while 249 are currently quarantined.  This information is updated online each Wednesday.

The CDC has updated its Travel Health Alert for all United States residents, instructing travelers returning from countries with a Level 3 alert (currently China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy) to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the US. This guidance also instructs travelers from countries with a Level 2 alert (currently Japan) to monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the US. The guidance advises against any non-essential travel to Level 3 countries. 

Out of an abundance of caution, Governor Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders have urged strongly all schools including colleges and universities, and elementary and secondary schools to cancel any organized international trips.  

Yesterday, the Department of Public Health sent a formal request to the US Department of Health and Human Services to request additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile.

Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses and are generally spread through respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes) of an infected person to another person. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and, in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).  Information is still limited about how this novel coronavirus spreads. More information on COVID-19 is available at mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

According to the CDC, as of today, there have been 164 US cases of COVID-19 confirmed. Globally, more than 95,000 cases have been confirmed.  There has been a total of 11 deaths in the US. 

Although the risk of the novel coronavirus to Massachusetts residents remains low, and the risk of the flu is high, people are advised to take many of the same steps they do to help prevent colds and the flu, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and face.
  • Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Stay home when feeling sick.
  • Stay informed.
  • Get a flu shot.

Clinicians who have patients they think may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must contact DPH via the 24/7 EPI line (617-983-6800).

Individuals who are in voluntary self-quarantine continue to be monitored by their local boards of health. 

People who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and who have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should reach out to their healthcare provider and call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. 

For more information on COVID-19 visit mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

 

March 5, 2020:  Second Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified by Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory

CDC to conduct additional testing to confirm state’s possible third case

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today announced its second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 since testing started Friday, February 28, at the State Public Health Laboratory. The woman is in her 60s and lives in Middlesex County. Her recent European travel included northern Italy. She was symptomatic, did not require hospitalization, and is recovering at home.

The State Public Health Lab’s result is considered presumptive positive and the specimens will now be sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.  This case brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts to three - one confirmed and two presumptive positive - since the outbreak started in the US in January. The risk to the public from COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts.

“We appreciate this patient’s cooperation,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “While the risk to Massachusetts remains low, residents should make sure they and their families are well-informed about COVID-19 and heed the CDC’s updated international travel health alert.”

Since January, Massachusetts has tested 25 residents, including the first confirmed case and the first presumptive positive case.

Going forward, the Department of Public Health will be updating confirmed and presumptive positive cases on a daily basis at mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

As of yesterday, 719 people have been subject to self-quarantine in Massachusetts because of COVID-19. Of those, 470 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined, while 249 are currently quarantined.  This information is updated on the DPH website each Wednesday.

Additionally, DPH was notified by the Tennessee Department of Health that its first presumptive positive COVID-19 case was a man who traveled on a nonstop, round-trip flight between Boston Logan Airport and the Nashville International Airport, and was asymptomatic while traveling. DPH is working with Tennessee health officials and the Boston Public Health Commission to identify his close contacts.

The CDC has updated its Travel Health Alert for all United States residents, instructing travelers returning from countries with a Level 3 alert (currently China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy) to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the US. This guidance also instructs travelers from countries with a Level 2 alert (currently Japan) to monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the US. The guidance advises against any non-essential travel to Level 3 countries. 

Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses and are generally spread through respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes) of an infected person to another person. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and, in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).  Information is still limited about how this novel coronavirus spreads. More information on COVID-19 is available at mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

According to the CDC, as of today, there have been 99 US cases of COVID-19 confirmed. Globally, more than 93,000 cases have been confirmed.  There have been a total of 10 deaths in the US.

Although the risk of the novel coronavirus to Massachusetts residents remains low, and the risk of the flu is high, people are advised to take many of the same steps they do to help prevent colds and the flu, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and face.
  • Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Stay home when feeling sick.
  • Stay informed.
  • Get a flu shot.

Clinicians who have patients they think may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must contact DPH via the 24/7 EPI line (617-983-6800).

The State Lab has an adequate supply of test kits from the CDC for testing. The anticipated turnaround of test results from the State Lab is 24 hours, depending on testing volume.

Individuals who are in voluntary self-quarantine continue to be monitored by their local boards of health.

People who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and who have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should reach out to their healthcare provider and call ahead before going to a healthcare facility.

For more information on COVID-19 visit mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

 

Update: March 3rd, 2020

Recently, a new coronavirus, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, first detected in China, began spreading to other parts of the world. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19, which can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath.

There are now thousands of confirmed cases internationally, and the virus has begun to spread in the U.S., including at least one confirmed case and one presumptive case of the virus in Massachusetts.

Anyone experiencing symptoms listed below, and has traveled to areas of concern, or has been in contact with someone who has traveled to these areas, should contact their healthcare provider before seeking treatment in person.

This situation will continue to be updated, including on this site and the Center for Disease Control’s website regarding the 2019 Coronavirus, which is regularly updated. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health website also includes information about the virus.

Prevention

The Freetown Health Department recommends to following steps to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as other viruses:

  • Wash your hands often, using soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are feeling sick, stay home and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve rather than into your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces frequently.

For more information on prevention on Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), please see information provided by the CDC.

Symptoms

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing/shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia (fluid in the lungs) in severe cases

Call ahead to a healthcare provider if you develop these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with an ongoing spread of the virus. Tell your healthcare provider about your recent travel and/or contact with those who may been traveling over the past 2-14 days.

For more information on coronavirus symptoms, please see the information provided by the CDC.

For recent international travelers to areas of concern:

If you traveled recently to areas of concern and have symptoms including fever, cough, or trouble breathing:

  • Seek medical care right away. Call your healthcare provide first to tell them about your travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others. Stay home, except to seek medical care.
  • Avoid further travel.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Practice good coughing etiquette. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, tissue and/or handkerchief and not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.

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