Mayor Charles C. Kokoros and the staff of the Health Department would like to share current information about an emerging global health concern, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause respiratory illness in people, and are generally spread through respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes) of an infected person to another person. COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China.
Since the outbreak started in the United States in January 2020, the Health Department has been and is continuing to track guidance and updates from the CDC and the MDPH, including clinical advisories that have been shared with hospitals and other health and medical stakeholders. We are also participating in regular CDC and MDPH conference calls and closely monitoring emerging information.
Although the risk of COVID-19 to Massachusetts residents remains low, we are in the midst of an active flu season and the risk of the flu is high. Therefore, we recommend that residents get a flu shot from their healthcare provider or the Health Department, if they have not yet received one.
We also encourage that residents take steps to help prevent exposure to any respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza and Coronavirus, by:
Washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your eyes and face.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning sprays or wipes.
Stay at home when feeling sick.
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 contact their local board of health, or health care provider.