NEWBURYPORT – Mayor Donna Holaday reported the number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the city had risen to 13 as of Tuesday afternoon. The people who most recently tested positive, as well as their families, are in quarantine, she said.
Holaday said she and other city officials participated in a weekly conference call with Anna Jaques Hospital representatives Monday, and the hospital is preparing for an increase in confirmed cases.
“Certainly, there is concern given the surge expected to hit within the next two weeks,” she said.
The Newburyport Health Department is following state Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and is monitoring each case during the 14-day quarantine period, according to an update on the city’s website.
Holaday emphasized local residents’ role in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus by following CDC guidelines.
“The one thing that is really important is that people really do need to stay home and only go out for essentials, and to exercise social distancing,” Holaday said. “It’s so critical that we try to control the spread of this in our city and protect our health care workers. We’ve been saying the same things over and over again, and we’re just watching the numbers climb all around us.”
Holaday said she hopes better testing methods will soon be available, and test results can be used to keep better track of the spread of the virus, especially among first responders who are being put at risk.
“The last thing we need is for someone to be positive who has been working a shift, and then we’d have to quarantine the shift,” the mayor said. “I’m very concerned about that and protecting our first responders.”
As of Monday afternoon, the state DPH reported 6,620 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 89 deaths. New Hampshire was reporting 258 positive cases and three deaths as of Monday.
On its website, the state is providing information about COVID-19 cases and residents subject to quarantine by county.
COVID-19, an illness caused by novel coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and has led to a state of emergency declaration by Gov. Charlie Baker and the declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump.
Following the guidance of state and federal officials, the City of Newburyport has closed City Hall to the public until further notice. Residents and business owners who need to conduct business with the city should call 978-465-4413 or visit the city’s website.
All Senior Community Center activities are canceled, with the exception of the Meals on Wheels program.
In addition, Newburyport Public Library, public playgrounds and Newburyport Youth Services are closed. All NYS programs are suspended until further notice.
The police and fire stations are closed to the public, with the exception of the vestibule at the front entrance to the police station, which is open for emergencies only.
Residents are encouraged to call the departments’ business lines for all nonemergency matters. The Police Department’s business line is 978-462-4411 and the Fire Department’s business line is 978-465-4427.
Call 911 for any emergency. All emergency services are fully functional and prepared. Newburyport’s Emergency Management Agency is prepared to activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center if needed.
These closures promote social distancing and reduce the amount of personal contact on a daily basis to decrease the chances of spreading COVID-19.
The Police and Fire departments remain fully staffed and prepared to respond to any emergency.