MERRIMAC — Chief Larry Fisher and Chief Eric Shears wish to provide residents of the Town of Merrimac with the latest information regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
At this time, there have been no positive or presumed positive cases of the virus in Merrimac amid the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. At this time, Merrimac Town Offices will be operating normal hours. The town will provide further guidance should this change.
Local officials will be constantly evaluating the health situation in town and will provide frequent updates when necessary.
The Governor has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts due to COVID-19. On Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the number of total cases of COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus, rose to 108 in Massachusetts as officials banned gatherings of 250 people or more.
The COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and new information and guidelines are being posted by the CDC on a regular basis. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads. The virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
While the CDC believes people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic (sickest), it is now believed that it is possible to spread the virus before showing symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Public health officials are urging seniors and those with preexisting health conditions to avoid large gatherings, including sporting events, concerts and conferences.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing relief to school districts regarding attendance requirements for the rest of the school year in light of the international novel coronavirus situation, and school districts will not have to extend the school year beyond their scheduled 185th school day as a result of the coronavirus.
If anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not come to work or school and they are advised to contact their primary care physician. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear 2-14 days of exposure.
The DPH recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.