DEDHAM — The Dedham Board of Health wishes to provide residents with the latest information regarding the 2019 new coronavirus (COVID-19) as federal and state officials continue to monitor the virus domestically and internationally.
There is currently one confirmed case and one “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). There are no confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus in Dedham at this time. Health officials report that the risk of contracting the virus in Massachusetts remains “low.”
Last week, the CDC reported the first case of community spread of the virus in the United States in California, and six people in the United States have since died from the virus. New cases of the virus nationwide have come to light this week as well, and currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting 80 cases of the virus in the United States, including those who contracted the virus from person-to-person spread, travel and those who are under investigation. There are additionally 49 people with the virus who were repatriated to the United States from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship and Wuhan, China.
The Board of Health is in contact with DPH in order to stay up to date on information about coronavirus.
“As with every flu season, we are encouraging residents to practice healthy habits like frequent hand washing and disinfecting surfaces to prevent the spread of illness,” Board of Health Chairman Leanne Jasset said. “The risk of COVID-19 remains low and we are continuing to monitor and will share updates as they become available.”
According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear 2-14 days of exposure. The DPH reports that symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and pneumonia in severe cases.
In an effort to prevent the spread of flu, colds and other respiratory illnesses, residents are recommended to take the following measures from DPH:
- Wash hands frequently, with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- When sick yourself, stay home to protect others.
- Always cover your cough or sneeze.
At this time, the DPH is not recommending people wear masks in public as the risk to the public remains low and there is no substantial evidence suggesting wearing a mask protects an individual outside of preventing someone from spreading a respiratory illness to others in a clinic waiting room.
The CDC is urging Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Italy, China, Iran and South Korea, which are designated “Warning Level 3.” The Dedham Board of Health urges residents to continue to monitor the CDC website for any additional restricted areas of travel. Additionally, the CDC and Governor Charlie Baker have stated that those who return to the U.S. after visiting any Level 3 country “should stay home and monitor their health during travel and for 14 days after returning to the United States.”
Locally, residents with questions may contact the Dedham Health Department at 781-751-9220.