MARION — Town Administrator James McGrail, Public Health Nurse Lori Desmarais and the Marion Board of Health report that the Town of Marion has seen a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases recently, resulting in an increased risk designation from the Commonwealth.
According to the public health data released on Thursday, Nov. 12, the Town’s designation is now “Red,” indicating a “high risk” in the community. This designation follows the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) update to the calculation of risk designations to better reflect COVID-19 caseload in relation to population. Marion’s “red” designation in accordance with the new metrics indicates more than 25 positive cases in the community.
According to today’s data, there have been 43 new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Marion over the past two weeks. Marion’s average daily incidence rate has risen to 66.8 per 100,000 residents, up from last week’s rate of 15.5.
Some of the new cases remain attributable to general community spread, and others are attributed to an ongoing rise in cases at an elder care facility in town.
“Given the recent rise in cases in our area and across the state, wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and practicing proper hygiene are important measures for everyone to follow, and we encourage everyone to remain committed to following these measures, especially as we approach the holiday season,” Desmarais said. “We’d also like to remind the community of the new restrictions that are now in effect statewide.”
The new state measures now in effect include:
- Stay At Home Advisory: A revised Stay At Home Advisory has been issued which instructs residents to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions are made for activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs, and taking a walk. To read the revised advisory, click here.
- Early Closure of Businesses and Activities: A new executive order requires certain businesses to close and activities to end each night at 9:30 p.m. To read the new executive order, including a full list of businesses affected by the new early closure requirement, click here.
- Face Coverings: Face coverings are now required in all public places, even if 6 feet of social distance can be maintained. Limited exceptions remain. To read the revised face-coverings order, click here.
- Gatherings: A new order reduces the gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences. Indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The new order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. To read the revised gatherings order, click here.
With the upcoming holiday season, the Town of Marion would like to share the following holiday safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration.
- Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible. If hosting an outdoor event is not possible, and you choose to host an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, or fully enclosed indoor spaces.
- Avoid traveling for the holidays as traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread.
- During holiday celebrations, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people you don’t live with, wear a mask and avoid busy eating areas such as restaurants during high volume mealtimes.
- If you participated in higher risk activities or think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) for 14 days after the event to protect others:
To view more holiday safety tips, visit the CDC’s COVID-19: Holiday Celebration page.
General COVID-19 Safety
Marion public health officials are urging residents to continue the public health practices that have helped to reduce the spread of the virus in town all year, including social distancing, wearing a mask in public and frequent hand washing.
Town officials would like to remind residents of the following COVID-19 prevention tips from the DPH:
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing — maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others — is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain 6 feet from people outside your household
- Do not shake hands or hug
- Wash your hands often
- Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands.
- Wear a mask in public. Face coverings should:
- Cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with either ties or ear loops
- Permit breathing without difficulty
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
Massachusetts’ Stop the Spread testing initiative remains ongoing, and Marion residents are encouraged to get tested regardless of symptoms in order to better know their COVID-19 status. The closest Stop the Spread testing sites are located in New Bedford. For information about testing availability nearby through the Stop the Spread initiative, click here.
Marion residents with questions may additionally contact the Marion Board of Health at 508-748-3530.