WINTHROP — Town Manager Austin Faison and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley announce the Town has been notified that an employee of a Winthrop gas station tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the station has temporarily closed and will be thoroughly cleaned.
Town Manager Austin Faison and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley have received notification from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) that an employee of the Gulf Energy To-Go gas station, 2 Shirley St., tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently in isolation at home per DPH guidelines.
The employee is not a Winthrop resident, and Winthrop Public Health officials are working with health officials in the person’s home community to perform contract tracing and identify anyone who may have had close contact with the employee (being within 5 feet of the employee for more than 10 minutes).
The employee last worked on Sunday, April 5.
The gas station closed on Wednesday, April 8, after receiving notification of the positive test, and it will remain closed until Saturday, April 11. During this time, the building will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
In order to protect the individual’s medical privacy rights, no additional information will be disclosed about the patient.
Since March 15, 61 total cases have been confirmed in Winthrop. Two residents have passed away. Forty-seven residents remain in isolation while 12 have recovered.
Social Distancing and Hygiene
The Town of Winthrop encourages residents to practice social distancing — remaining at least six feet away from others, and Gov. Baker has temporarily banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms.
Local, state and federal health officials are encouraging residents to take the following precautions to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu and COVID-19, from spreading:
- Washing hands with soap and water, scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, including phones, tablets, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, toilet flushers, countertops.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as lip balm, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing and then wash hands.
- Community members should stay home and avoid contact with others when
experiencing flu-like symptoms including a fever of 100.4 and should remain home until symptom-free and/or fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
As always, 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.
On Friday, April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all individuals going out in public wear cloth face masks as precaution in situations where social distancing is hard to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing is the practice of keeping at least six feet between people while in public.
Information about how to properly remove and make your own face mask can be found on the CDC’s website here.
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.
- Avoid social gatherings with large groups, particularly if you are over the age of 60, have underlying health conditions, a weakened immune system or are pregnant.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has been declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization and has moved Governor Baker to declare a State of Emergency and President Donald Trump to declare a National Emergency. Governor Baker on Thursday also made a formal request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration.
The Town encourages everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following resources are recommended for the most updated information:
- Town of Winthrop Official COVID-19 updates – https://www.town.winthrop.ma.us/home/urgent-alerts/covid-19-public-health-updates
- Winthrop Public Safety website – https://winthroppublicsafety.com/
- Winthrop COVID-19 Tip Hotline – https://winthroppublicsafety.com/covid-19-tip-hotline/
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health – https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information – https://mass211.org/ or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- Massachusetts COVID-19 text updates: Text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/
- The Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County – https://www.suffolkcac.org/support-resources/covid-19-support