Second Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Case in Massachusetts, Say Health Officials

On Monday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced its second presumptive positive case of COVID-19.

The woman is in her 20s and is a native of Norfolk Country. According to health officials, she recently travelled to Italy and was found symptomatic. Currently, she is recovering at home. She was tested positive for the virus at a state laboratory on Monday.

According to sources, the patient is a 27 years old woman who accompanied a school trip that was linked to two other cases of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. The test results will be sent to the federal centres for Disease Control and Prevention. If confirmed, this would mark the second confirmed positive case of Coronavirus in Massachusetts.

The first case was registered last month when a UMass Boston student was found to be infected with the virus. The man is in his 20s and lives in Boston.

While the concerns keep rising, health officials and state leaders on Monday pointed out that the Coronavirus risk to the public remains low in Massachusetts.

“We are grateful this individual is recovering,” Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement. “We understand the concern this new virus is causing, and our state’s ability to quickly test for the virus is a positive development. The risk to the public from COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts.”

So far, six people have succumbed to the Coronavirus, all of them in Washington State. There have been more than 60 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. 12 of those 60 people have been tested since Friday. Since last week, 608 people have been self-quarantined in Massachusetts. 377 out of those 608 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined while 231 are still under observation.

Coronavirus spreads through respiratory secretions of an infected person to another. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and, in severe cases, pneumonia.

In order to avoid Coronavirus spread, health officials are urging people to use the same precautionary measures that are used to prevent common cold and flu. The steps include washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes and face, disinfecting objects that are frequently touched, covering cough and sneezes, and staying at home when you feel sick.

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34 People Being Monitored for Coronavirus in Boston

Boston is testing 34 people for the symptoms of Coronavirus, including the only confirmed case in Massachusetts, according to health officials. The risk of catching the virus in the city, however, remains slim.

The 33 people came to the city through one of the 11 airports in the country that accepted direct flights from China, revealed the officials during a press conference. These people add to the already existing single case in Massachusetts, a student from UMass Boston who had travelled to Wuhan, China.

“The guidance is that person has to get two negative tests, consecutive tests, so we’re waiting for that to happen so he can get cleared,” said Rita Nieves, interim executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.

None of the 33 other people who are being monitored under CDC guidelines in Boston has shown any symptoms so far, she added.

“They’re instructed to take their temperatures a number of times during the day, and if they develop any symptoms like cough, fever, body aches, we’re in constant communication with them,” Nieves said. “The public health nurses call them, and then we will give them instructions on how to get care if that happens, but so far nobody has required that.”

“The risk is very low to Bostonians to contract the coronavirus,” added Boston Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez.

Nevertheless, the city officials are preparing for whatever scenario they might have to face.

“We want to contain it, and we want to make sure people are being monitored and then that we’re sending out the right messaging in terms of how to keep yourself healthy, how not to spread germs,” Martinez said.

The comments came a day after Massachusetts was declared to have had 680 people quarantined, which means they are under observation just in case they present any symptoms. While 377 of them have completed their monitoring with no symptoms, 231 are still being quarantined in their homes.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Broker said a plan is being prepared on steps needed to prepare for a possible epidemic outbreak. The plan will be released next week.

An “incident command structure” had been established to monitor the Coronavirus, spread awareness, and manage resources, according to Nieves.

“I want to assure you that Boston is prepared if we do end up with an outbreak of this condition,” she said. “We have an experienced team that is well-versed in dealing with similar situations.”

The officials are asking people to follow the steps they would follow when trying not to catch a cold in order to prevent the virus from spreading. These steps include washing hands, covering your face, and staying at home if you feel sick.

Additionally, if a person gets sick while travelling, they are supposed to notify their health care provider about their travelling history.

“If we get within six feet of somebody who’s coughing, has a fever, something like that, we don a mask for us that’s fitted,” Boston EMS Chief James Hooley said. “We would then also wear a face shield, the gown like you’d see in operating rooms… and put a mask on the person.”

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