BOSTON (WHDH) – The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the United States, including in Massachusetts where the first presumptive positive of the novel coronavirus has been identified since testing began on Feb. 28.
A woman in her 20s who lives in Norfolk County tested positive for the virus, the Department of Public Health announced Monday.
Her test results are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. If confirmed, this would mark the second positive coronavirus case in Massachusetts.
The woman recently traveled to Italy on a school trip and became symptomatic. Officials say she is recovering at home.
A person in Cohasset is under quarantine at home after coming into contact with a person who has the virus. Town health officials notified police of the individual, who they say is not showing any symptoms.
Despite the new cases, Gov. Charles D. Baker stressed that the risk remains low.
“We have been actively planning to ensure Massachusetts is prepared to respond to a potential outbreak in the state,” he said.
Hundreds are being monitored for the potentially deadly virus in the Bay State.
Nineteen students from Newton High School, along with two staffers and a retired teacher, have been asked to stay away from the school after returning from a month-long study abroad trip in Italy, according to Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman.
“This is an unsettling time for our community, our students, and our staff,” he said. “To be clear, no student has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, nor is anyone exhibiting any symptoms. All students have been asked to monitor their health.”
Students and staff from Bellingham High School were also asked to stay home after traveling overseas to countries where the coronavirus was present.
In Weymouth, a staff member of the public high school choose to self-quarantine following a trip abroad.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority told 7NEWS that passenger vehicles and stations are being cleaned daily. Signs are also being posted on trains and electronic message boards on the highway about stopping the spread of germs.
Dr. Monica Bharel, commissioner of the state’s Department of Public Health, says the state is in constant contact wit the CDC, as well as hospitals and school districts.
“We’re supporting their surge planning procedures and protocols, including bed capacity, staffing and supplies,” she said.
Dr. Paul Biddenger, Chief of Division of Emergency Preparedness at Massachusetts General Hospital, said they will continue to monitor the situation.
“I think still remains to be seen whether there will be any sustained transmission in New England,” he said. “I think that is a possibility; how much, we just don’t know.”
Health officials are encouraging those who feel sick to stay home, to cover their mouths when they cough and to continuously wash their hands.
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