GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll wish to provide residents with guidance and information on local resources to support those who need to quarantine amid a recent rise in local COVID-19 cases.
As of Thursday, the status of positive COVID-19 cases in the City of Gloucester were as follows: 39 active cases; 439 overall cases (390 confirmed and 49 probable); 374 recovered; and 26 COVID-19 related deaths.
The City of Gloucester is designated in the “red” in the updated municipal case count report issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health today, meaning there are more than eight cases per 100,000 people in the community. To read the full report, click here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quarantine is used to keep people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, also known as “close contacts,” from others. A close contact is someone who was within six feet of someone with an active, positive case of COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more. Close contacts will be contacted by a local or state public health official and told to quarantine.
Quarantine is not to be confused with isolation, which is when a person who has tested positive for the virus is asked to stay home and away from others, including those in their household, until they are no longer contagious and it is safe for them to be around people again.
“As our city responds to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases in our community, we felt it was imperative we share information on how to properly quarantine for those affected,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “It is critical that everyone who needs to quarantine does so, for the full amount of time outlined by local and federal health officials. Please, do the right thing. If you need to quarantine, stay home. There are resources available to help you through this challenging time.”
“We know being asked to isolate or quarantine is a tremendous burden to put on someone, and their entire household as well,” Carroll said. “But this is what needs to happen in order to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our community. If you’re a close contact to someone with COVID-19, stay home. Even if you aren’t presenting symptoms, you could be contagious and put someone else’s health at risk.”
Those who are asked to quarantine should:
- Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19. If you live with someone who is isolating and has tested positive for COVID-19, your last day of quarantine will be 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 first began their isolation period. If you have close contact with a member of your household who has COVID-19 after they began their isolation, you will have to restart your 14 day quarantine. If a new person in your household gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will also need to restart your quarantine.
- Get tested.
- Regardless of whether you test positively for COVID-19 or exhibit any symptoms, close contacts are required to quarantine for the full time period they are directed to do so for. The incubation period for COVID-19 lasts between 2 to 14 days after the close contact took place. Regardless of whether you have symptoms or not you could develop the virus at any time during the incubation period.
- If you cannot avoid close contact with a member of your household who has COVID-19 because you are taking care of them, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate them in or live in close quarters and cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet, avoid contact with others outside your home while they are sick. Once the infected member of your household meets the criteria to end home isolation and has been cleared by Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), quarantine for 14 days from that date.
- Monitor your health. Watch for a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms listed here.
- Stay away from others when possible, especially those at a higher risk for severe complications due to COVID-19. For more information on populations, including older adults and those with certain medical conditions, who are at a higher risk to become seriously ill should they contract COVID-19, click here.
The City of Gloucester also wishes to share the contact information for local organizations available to provide support to those who must quarantine:
Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund
The City of Gloucester, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and Action Inc. have partnered to form the Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund in an effort to help hourly workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain criteria apply, and in order to be eligible, one must be a Cape Ann resident, an hourly wage worker or self-employed, have a been working more than 10 hours per week prior to their layoff, have been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 or had hours reduced by more than 50%, be an adult over 18 years of age and meet gross annual income requirements. To learn more, visit their website here or call 978-282-1000 ext. 234.
The Open Door
The Open Door is a local nonprofit that works to reduce the impact of hunger locally, and will deliver nutritious groceries to those in quarantine. To learn more, call 978-283-6776.
Action Inc. is a local nonprofit that works to eliminate poverty by providing resources and support to those in need locally. Action Inc. can help members of the community by providing rental and housing assistance, and to learn more about those services, call 978-282-1000 or email [email protected]. Action Inc. can also help with energy and heating assistance, and to learn more about those services call 978-281-3900 or email [email protected]. The nonprofit’s business hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prescription Medication Delivery
Several local pharmacies can help make arrangements to have the prescription medications of those in isolation or quarantine delivered. These pharmacies include:
- CVS, 6 Thatcher Road. Phone: 978-283-7480
- CVS, Gloucester Crossing. Phone: 978-281-2450
- Walgreens, 201 E Main St. Phone: 978-283-7361
- Walgreens, 127 Eastern Ave. Phone: 978-281-2720
Outpatient Mental Health Assistance
The Gloucester Health Department has partnered with Children’s Friend and Family Services, a division of the Justice Resource Institute, to provide a dedicated representative for community members to contact for help when seeking mental health care. Assistance is free and available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 781-540-3329.
The program is open to anyone from Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Beverly or Danvers seeking support navigating the mental health system. More information about the program can be found here.
All Massachusetts residents can get tested, at no cost and regardless of symptoms, in several communities with high numbers of COVID-19 cases through the state’s Stop the Spread program. To view a list of available testing locations and availability, click here.
The City of Gloucester has also partnered with the state to offer drive-thru testing on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Stage Fort Park on Hough Avenue. Testing is free for everyone, regardless of their address. For more information, click here.