COVID-19: LOCAL NEWS

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Lynn confirms first COVID-19 case

By David Mclellan | March 21, 2020

LYNN — The COVID-19 virus has made its way to Lynn.

The  city’s first case of the virus was confirmed Saturday, according to both the Lynn Board of Health and Mayor Thomas M. McGee’ office.

McGee said in a statement that the unidentified patient is currently under quarantine at home. The city got the notification from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus that has infected at least 646 people in Massachusetts, five of them fatal cases, and has been declared a public health emergency at international, national, and state levels. 

“Officials within the Lynn Department of Public Health will be actively monitoring the patient and conducting an extensive investigation into who the patient has come into contact with recently,” said mayoral spokeswoman Elizabeth Gervacio in a statement. 

“All those people who have been confirmed to have come into direct contact with this patient will be notified by their local Board of Health. They will be instructed to stay at home and the Public Health Department will be in daily communication with them regarding their potential symptoms for 14 days,” she said. 

According to McGee, the city has a plan in place to “effectively monitor this evolving situation.

“Now more than ever, it is vital that everyone within the City of Lynn follow the recommendations of the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and DPH to do the appropriate things to address this ongoing crisis, including practicing social distancing and not gathering together in groups,” McGee said. 

The CDC recommends people stay at least six feet away from one another, because the disease caused by coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes, droplets that either land in people’s mouths or are inhaled into the lungs. 

“We urge people to please follow these guidelines,” McGee said. “I want residents to understand that moving forward, under any circumstances, supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations will continue to be open, as they are essential services. If you do need to leave

your home to visit any of these establishments, you should not bring your family with you. We

must work together to prevent the spread of this virus in order to reduce the impact to our community,” McGee said. 

There is no known cure or vaccine for coronavirus, which presents influenza-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and respiratory distress. According to the Swampscott Board of Health, one in five people who contract coronavirus, which is spreadable among humans, will need hospitalization. Those who are most at risk for becoming seriously ill are people over the age of 60 and those with preexisting health conditions, including diabetes, and lung and heart disease. People at higher risk of severe coronavirus illness should be extra diligent about avoiding large crowds, sick people, and unessential travel. 

All people, according to McGee, should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching faces with unwashed hands, and stay home if sick. 

Dr. Geoff Pechinsky, chief medical officer at Lynn Community Health Center, said those who are sick should call before visiting a doctor in person. 

If a person comes in contact with someone with coronavirus, or has traveled from a high-risk country/area, such as China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy and other European countries, should stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days. Self-quarantining recommendations include taking one’s temperature twice a day, avoiding contact with others, and not going to work or school or traveling. 

The city website, www.lynnma.gov, will provide regular updates on the city’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to McGee.