GROVELAND — Town officials reported this weekend that state health officials have identified seven positive COVID-19 cases in town, an increase of six since the first local case was reported Tuesday.

The Groveland public health nurse has been in contact with the residents and said they are in isolation per Massachusetts Department of Public Health orders, according to a press release from the town. COVID-19 is the illness associated with the novel coronavirus.

Close contacts (defined as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of a positive case) have been identified, contacted by health officials, and are adhering to DPH orders for quarantine. Those who are quarantined will be monitored by Groveland health officials on a daily basis to limit the risk of spread.

In order to protect the residents’ medical privacy rights, no additional information will be disclosed.

In making the announcement, town officials urged all residents to stay home, practice social distancing and remain at least six feet from others while avoiding congregating in groups larger than 10.

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, the release said. Parents should be sure to talk to their children about proper hygiene and prevention methods as well as the importance of social distancing.

"We urge all residents to take this situation seriously and follow the health guidance provided by local, state and federal officials," Claire Walsh, Groveland's public health nurse, said. "This means staying at home as much as possible. If you must leave your home, please only do so for essential needs and be careful to distance yourself from others. We must work together as a community in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."

While residents are encouraged to get outside for fresh air, it is not safe to have groups of people at playgrounds or playing team and contact sports, so all town recreational areas are closed.

All Groveland town offices and the library are closed to the public until further notice. The police station lobby is open for emergencies only. Residents can visit the town website, www.grovelandma.com, for additional information on online services. All nonessential businesses in Groveland are closed until April 7 per an order by Gov. Charlie Baker.

"The health of our residents is our top priority. We encourage everyone to practice social distancing and proper hygiene," said Joan Searl, chair of the Groveland Board of Health. "The COVID-19 situation is very fluid and town officials will continue to monitor the situation and regularly provide residents with the latest health updates and guidance."

Each Tuesday Groveland Finance Director Denise Dembkoski will put out a statement on the town website and send a townwide phone call with any available updates or new information to keep residents up-to-date with the town's response to COVID-19.

Groveland officials encourage everyone to stay informed about COVID-19.

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