AMESBURY — Mayor Kassandra Gove appeared live on Facebook Thursday morning to say that two city residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and soon after, communications directer Caitlin Thayer said a third case had also been confirmed.
"With our surrounding communities all beginning to report positive cases of COVID-19, and with increased testing becoming available, we knew it was only a matter of time before we did also," Gove said.
Gove said the infected individuals have been self isolating and the city's Health Department will be conducting contact tracing with them by gathering the names of everyone who had close contact with them within the last 14 days.
"Those people are contacted and asked to self quarantine for 14 days," Gove said. "Even if they are not symptomatic, this helps to so slow the possible spread of the coronavirus as they may be carrying it and not know. Please know that our Health Department works to gather a lot of information from these individuals and, if there is any greater risk to the community at-large, they will let us know and we will tell you."
Officials know that more residents will test positive for the coronavirus in the future, according to Gove.
"Continue to practice social distancing and limit how often you need to be in public spaces like our grocery stores and our pharmacies," Gove said. "City staff is here to support you and answer any of your questions."
The city's Emergency Operations Center remains open, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people with questions about the COVID-19 virus. Residents can call 978-388-8155.
"I asked you that, as this situation progresses, we take care of each other and work together as a community," Gove said. "Many people are scared about the virus, not knowing how they are going to pay their bills, the safety of going to the grocery store, and none of us know what else someone might be going through. So, let's be extra kind to one another and work together to get through this."
The city sent out a swift911 call and text message to residents who have signed up for the service on Thursday morning to let them know of the positive coronavirus test results.
Gove said anyone interested in signing up for the swift911 service can do so at the city's website: www.amesburyma.gov.
Gove was joined at the podium Thursday morning by Police Chief William Scholtz, Fire Chief Ken Berkenbush and Health Director Jack Morris.
Morris said the city has contacted the infected residents and is currently speaking with people who have been in close or direct contact with them to see if they are showing any symptoms of the disease.
"We will then make recommendations to self quarantine, self isolate, or check with their healthcare provider to see if they should be tested, if their symptoms are progressively worse," Morris said.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.