PRESS RELEASE Clarification of Confirmed Cases of COVID-19
Update: April 16, 2020
The purpose of this latest Press Release is to provide updated information as to the number of cases that are assigned to the Town of Northbridge, and how this information relates to the “Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in MA by City/Town through April 14, 2020” document that was recently published by the State of Massachusetts and is now being issued every Wednesday and can be found at the State’s website at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-casesquarantine-and-monitoring.
The Northbridge Board of Health has been in regular communication with the Town’s Public Health Nurse who is charged with the task of reporting cases to the MA DPH and to the Town, and is also responsible for monitoring and advising cases as they become confirmed after obtaining positive test results.
The Public Health Nurse notifies the Board of Health and the Town’s Public Safety Officials of the resident address of confirmed cases to ensure that our first responders have knowledge of a case if responding to that address. The Town is then authorized to provide the amount of confirmed cases to the public, however personal addresses of confirmed cases are protected information.
The Town has been issuing weekly Press Releases over the last several weeks since being informed of its first assigned case on Saturday, March 28, 2020. As of Monday, March 31, 2020, the Town was able to release that there were 4 confirmed cases; on Monday, April 6, 2020 there were 24 confirmed cases; and as of this past Monday at the time of Press Release there were 36 confirmed cases. Also this past Monday, the Town was authorized to provide that 7 of those 36 cases were no longer being monitored and that 50% of the confirmed cases were within the age cohort of 80 years of age or older.
The State announced yesterday that the number of confirmed cases had increased to 76 and today we are announcing that the total number of confirmed cases assigned to Northbridge is 84.
The Town is also able to confirm that of the 84 confirmed cases, 61 are clustered in long term care/senior congregate living facilities. In addition, of the remaining 23 cases that are not clustered in long-term care facilities, 11 cases are no longer considered active/monitored and can be classified as recovered.
The surge in the number of cases this week is indicative of the availability of testing State-wide at long-term care facilities that is part of the Commonwealth’s Mobile Testing Program, which was released on March 31, 2020 and is being been conducted by the National Guard in partnership with the MA DPH and the Broad Institute of Cambridge. This program conducts mass testing of facility residents that are symptomatic as well as those residents that are asymptomatic. When the results of these mass tests are received, the number of positive cases that are confirmed can cause a surge in the total number of cases of a community.
As of April 14, the State reported that 4,572 tests have been collected at 264 facilities, which is up from 1,669 tests completed at 103 facilities just one week prior.
A rural community such as Northbridge will appear to have a higher rate per 100,000 when factoring the 61 long term care residents that have tested positive (rate of 467.07) versus just factoring in the 23 cases outside of these facilities (rate of 127.89).
The community should know that our long-term care facilities have proper procedures and protocols in place as it relates to managing COVID-19 cases and utilize best practices for isolation, personal care management, the use of personal protection equipment (PPE), and facility access. It is an extreme challenge to maintain the spread of the virus in these facilities but the facility staff in partnership with DPH and our local Public Health and Safety team members, are undertaking a concerted effort to manage the impacts of the virus on facility residents.
As with previous Press Release statements, and so that we may protect the health and safety of our community, we continue to strongly urge ALL residents to adopt the following measures:
- Follow the “Stay at Home” advisory issued by Governor Baker on March 23rd;
- Practice social distancing by avoiding groups of ten or more people and keeping a distance of six feet from others;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer, and use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available;
- Cover coughs and sneezes, throw tissues away and wash your hands immediately afterward;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
More information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers can be found on the Town’s Board of Health COVID-19 page at https://www.northbridgemass.org/board-of-health/pages/new-2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19.
You can also visit the State of Massachusetts COVID-19 page directly at
https://www.mass.gov/covid19 for the latest news, case counts, and lab testing results. Call 2-1-1 with questions. Text the keyword COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive notifications to your phone. To receive these notifications in Spanish, text COVIDMAESP to 888-777.
The health and safety of residents and the community are the top priority of all Town Officials. By working together and supporting each other we will meet this challenge