Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update:
We are still in the height of cold and flu season, and many individuals are frequently becoming ill with the influenza virus this season even though they previously received the flu vaccine this season. On everyone’s mind is the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which was detected in Wuhan, China earlier this year. The coronavirus causes a respiratory (lung) infection. As of February 28, there has been one confirmed case of this novel coronavirus in Massachusetts.
The risk to residents in Massachusetts remains low.
As of February 28, CDC is updating United States case counts based on repatriated individuals. For the latest on case counts, visit the CDC website.
As of February 28, Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory received approval to begin testing patients for COVID-19, in accordance with guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Testing at the State Public Health Laboratory will speed up obtaining test results for Persons Under Investigation and expedite ongoing testing of any confirmed case in recovery.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include:
• cough and shortness of breath, and
• in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).
Symptoms of the flu include may include some or all of the following:
• Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
At the local level, we want to assure you that we are making the necessary precautions for our town to prepare should this virus become present in our community. A meeting was held on 3/2/20 with members of the fire department, public health nurse’s office and town administrator’s office to communicate about any updates related to this disease as well as how the town is preparing for any situation that may arise.
Although the risk to Massachusetts residents of the novel coronavirus is low, the risk for influenza is currently high. Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Stay home if you are sick.
**If you have children who are school aged, please follow the guidelines set by the school department for illnesses and adhere to the recommendations for when to keep your children home from school due to illness. A connect-ed letter was sent home to all families on 2/27/20 with an update on current guidelines to follow for illnesses. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy until the end of this flu and cold season in the springtime.
Download a printable fact sheet – this helpful guide can be posted in workplaces and public spaces: Prevent Flu and Other Viruses
Here is a link to Mass Dept of Public Health (MDPH) and CDC websites for basic facts about coronavirus and how to prevent the spread of influenza and other viruses:
If you have any questions please contact the public health office in town at 413-596-2800 ext 120 or email the public health nurse at firstname.lastname@example.org