AMESBURY — Two city residents have died from the COVID-19 virus, according to the city's health director.

Jack Morris, the health director for Amesbury and Salisbury, said Monday the state has reported that two Amesbury women had died due to complications from the novel coronavirus.

According to Morris, a woman in her 60s died sometime on Thursday, while an elderly woman died at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport over the weekend.

"The elderly woman was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital and died there," Morris said.

He said both Amesbury and Salisbury saw a jump in active COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

Amesbury now has 50 cases of the novel coronavirus (up from 41 on Friday) while Salisbury reported 32 cases (up from 22.)

Morris said he believes the sudden jump in cases may reflect a backlog in the state's disease surveillance and case management system.

"Everybody should take this seriously," Morris said. "They should be practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. Don't go out if you don't have to and don't get yourself into crowds. Don't cause a gathering. Stay home."

In an email, Mayor Kassandra Gove said her thoughts are with the families and friends of the two women.

"This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone in our community, and no family should have to go through losing a loved one right now," Gove said. "I’m so sorry for these families and for our community. My team and I continue to monitor and share updates about the COVID-19 outbreak daily, and I urge everyone to continue to take this situation seriously so we limit the spread of the coronavirus and the effects of the disease."

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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