COVID-19: LOCAL NEWS

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Three local residents test positive for coronavirus

By Gayla Cawley and David Mclellan | March 19, 2020

In addition to a Lynn church, the Town of Marblehead and City of Revere reported their first presumptive cases of the coronavirus Wednesday. 

A member of Lynn’s St. George Greek Orthodox Church has tested positive for COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, Parish Council President Arthur Argyros confirmed on Wednesday. 

“One of our parishioners picked up the virus,” said Argyros. “(The person) picked it up outside the church sometime later. Our church is spotless. We cleaned up the church as precaution. We have no reason to suspect there was any infection of any type coming from our church property.”

The Orthodox church, located on South Common Street, was closed last week, and deep cleaned and disinfected as a precaution at a cost of $11,000. 

The parishioner is not a Lynn resident and church members were informed in an email that was sent on March 11 and published on the National Herald’s website Wednesday. 

The Greek newspaper reports the infected individual is a 52-year-old man who was hospitalized for “a number of days” and discharged on March 17. 

The letter reads the church contacted Mayor Thomas M. McGee’s office, who directed church officials to the city’s Department of Public Health for guidance on how to implement a program that “best protects you the parishioners and our church.” 

“Please be advised that after serious consideration regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and concern for our parishioners, St. George of Lynn is canceling all services until further notice,” reads a message on the church’s website. “If you are in need of pastoral services, please contact the Church office.”

A Lynn resident has not yet tested positive for the coronavirus. 

According to the Marblehead Health Department, that town’s patient was “doing well” Wednesday and is isolated at home. 

“COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will continue to share COVID-19 information as it becomes available. Since the risk level throughout Massachusetts is rising and COVID-19 is now in our community, we will not be announcing any more cases of COVID-19 in the community,” said Health Director Andrew Petty. 

Marblehead has been prepared for this, and the Health Department is conducting an investigation tracing the patient’s contact with others, Petty said. 

Those who have not been contacted by the Health Department are not considered a contact of this case. All people who have had direct, face-to-face contact are being instructed to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms.

People over the age of 60, those with preexisting health conditions or weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are considered at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, which presents respiratory distress and other influenza-like symptoms, according to the town’s health department. 

These people should be especially diligent about washing hands, avoiding crowds, and practicing social distancing by avoiding close contact with others, according to the town’s Health Department. 

Jack Attridge, founder of the real estate marketing brand All Marblehead, said during a video live-streamed on the All Marblehead Facebook page he is looking for volunteers to help deliver items to at-risk people. 

People may email him at jack@allmarblehead.com or call (781) 883-3200 to seek assistance — or volunteer for — going to the grocery store, picking up medications, making phone calls and doing other tasks for the especially vulnerable. 

“I have a small army of people ready to lend a hand wherever it’s needed,” Attridge said. 

Attridge said his daughter returned home from Italy several weeks ago after she was supposed to spend a semester there, and the situation has become worrying. 

“It literally and figuratively is hitting home right now,” he said. 

There’s been one reported case of the coronavirus in Revere, but the city said Wednesday the expectation is that the number will rise as testing becomes more widely available. No further information on the resident has been released. 

The City of Revere’s Emergency Response team has been taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community, according to a release from Mayor Brian Arrigo’s office. 

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the panel approved a request from the mayor to transfer $1 million from the city’s stabilization fund, which will be used as needed for response efforts. 

As part of the Baker-Polito administration’s distribution of emergency funds for local boards of public health, Revere, Winthrop and Chelsea have received $100,000 to support emergency resources regionally, according to the mayor’s office. 

“Now more than ever, it’s so important that our residents stay at home to the best of their ability. Lives are at stake and we all must do our part to slow community transmission of the virus,” said Arrigo in a statement. 

“We know our residents and business owners are feeling so much uncertainty about what the next several weeks will bring, and our team is working tirelessly to provide them with as many resources as possible, as quickly as possible, to help alleviate hardships.”

The COVID-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has since spread around the globe. The number of cases in Massachusetts increased to 256 on Wednesday, up from the 218 that had been reported the day before, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.