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COVID-19

Page updated: 3/24/20  

Can't find your answer online? Call 2-1-1 for COVID-19 questions 24/7.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

COVID-19 Essential Services Order from Governor Baker

 

Newton Information

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Newton: 22 (Updated 3/23/2020)

Mayor Fuller's Email Updates                              Donate to the Newton COVID-19 Care Fund

Newton Public Schools COVID-19 District Info     

Click on the picture icon below to go to that page.

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CDC COVID-19 FAQs

MDPH COVID-19 FAQs

Last Update:  3/23/2020

 

Staying Healthy

What are the best ways to prevent getting COVID-19?

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Read CDC's tips about handwashing, avoiding close contact and more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

What should people who are at higher risk for COVID-19 do?

Here are some ways to get ready for COVID-19 now:

  • Have supplies on hand
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
    • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, thermometer, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time
  • Take everyday precautions
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Take everyday preventive actions
      • Clean your hands often
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
      • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
      • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
      • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
      • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
      • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people
    • Stay home as much as possible.
      • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
  • Have a plan for if you get sick:
    • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
    • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
    • Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs:

  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

What are the current recommendations for wearing face masks?

Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

How will I know if I am a contact of a positive case?

Newton residents who are close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases will be contacted by a nurse from the Newton Health and Human Services Department. The nurse will provide specific instructions about self-quarantine and self-monitoring based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

What does social distancing mean?

Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

Stay home as much as you can.

If you must go out, i.e. grocery store or pharmacy:

  • Don’t gather in groups (i.e. no play dates or group sports activities)
  • Stay 6 feet away from others
  • Don’t shake hands or hug
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Call/video chat online with friends and family to stay connected.

Here's a video, filmed by Mayor Fuller and Commissioner Youngblood in collaboration with NewTV.

https://vimeo.com/397855710

Social Distancing Infographic

Symptoms and Onset

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Read the CDC's guide: COVID-19 Symptoms.

Some people with COVID-19 can manage symptoms at home after consulting with their healthcare provider.

Click to view PDF

How can I be tested for COVID-19?

Some people do not need to be tested for COVID-19. The MA Department of Health (MDPH) has identified specific criteria for healthcare providers to follow to determine who should be tested.

People without symptoms do not qualify for testing.

In order to be tested, you must fall into certain epidemiologic (how you may have been exposed or be at higher risk) or occupational risk categories AND display certain clinical features. Click here to see the full criteria for testing.

These criteria prioritize identifying places where public health action could be used to slow the transmission of disease to protect:

  • Individuals at increased risk for severe illness
  • Healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces

Neither MDPH or the Newton Health and Human Services Department need to pre-approve testing for COVID-19.

Questions or concerns about your individual situation should be answered by your healthcare provider.

Are children more susceptible to COVID-19?

No, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. However, infections in children have been reported, including in very young children. From limited information published from past Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, infection among children was relatively uncommon. More information about children and COVID-19 is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html

What should I do if I have symptoms but don't qualify for testing?

To determine if you qualify for testing, contact your healthcare provider.

There is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

Click here for tips for recovering at home.

Are some people at higher risk for COVID-19?

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

More information is available from the CDC

Newton HHS Response and Recommendations

Will I be alerted of Newton residents who have COVID-19?

Confirmed COVID-19 cases among Newton residents will be updated at the top of the COVID-19 website on weekdays.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also updates this page with statewide data.

MDPH and CDC guidance will be followed to communicate with people who may have been a close contact of a person with COVID-19 to reduce the spread of illness.

What does the local health department do to follow up with people who have COVID-19 and their contacts?

Contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 are managed at the local health department level by Newton HHS nurses. The nurses interview the person with COVID-19 to determine who their close contacts are and then the nurses reach out to all those contacts. HHS will be in touch by phone/email both with cases and their contacts while they are isolated or quarantined.

How does the new information about gatherings apply to my religious organization?

At this time, Newton religious organizations may make their own decisions about gatherings less than 25 people. Just as the City of Newton has applied the Governor’s practices to its operations, we encourage religious institutions to make changes too, and have heard of many who are. We strongly encourage use of reliable information from CDC, MDPH and Newton HHS as you make these decisions.

The City of Newton is moving forward with new precautionary measures in an effort to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. In line with the advice from the Commonwealth, the City of Newton is postponing, modifying, or cancelling (or holding virtually) discretionary and/or large gatherings scheduled and hosted by the City involving the public. More details are described here.

How should I handle gatherings at my business? Who can businesses contact with questions or concerns?

GATHERINGS & RESTAURANTS: On March 15, Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6.

Just as the City of Newton has applied the Governor’s orders and social distancing practices to its operations, we encourage businesses to make changes as well. We strongly encourage use of reliable information from CDC, MDPH and Newton HHS as you make these decisions.

Newton businesses may reach out to Economic Development Director Devra Bailin with questions, concerns or comments at dbailin@newtonma.gov or 617-796-1122

Travel

What if I traveled? Is Newton tracking the travel itineraries of Newton residents?

Beginning March 27, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. Health care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers are exempt from this requirement. Read more here.

Newton HHS is not tracking residents’ travel itineraries other than following CDC guidance for those returning from China or Iran. Newton residents who are planning travel or have traveled internationally are strongly encouraged to check the CDC website for travel alerts. The CDC continues to update their list of countries with travel health notices and the specific levels for those travel health notices.

If I recently traveled, how do I know what I should do upon my return?

Travelers returning from some countries are requested to self-quarantine ("stay home"). The CDC is frequently updating these countries and the guidance for travelers returning to the United States. Read it here.

Are household contacts of people returning from countries with widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19 required to stay home?

Household contacts without symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath) do not have restrictions other than social distancing like everyone else, if the traveler also does not have symptoms. For details and specific countries, please see the CDC travel guidance.

Everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing.

Will the Newton Health and Human Services Department be tracking people in our community who have recently returned from travel?

Newton HHS continues to track people returning from China and Iran, per CDC guidance. Other travelers without symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath) who are requested to self-quarantine ("stay home") will not be tracked, in accordance with MDPH guidance.

Contacts of someone who is positive for COVID-19 are managed at the local health department level by Newton HHS nurses.

Resources and Additional Information

How can I talk with my kids about COVID-19?

Here are some talking points for families helping kids to deal with stressful events, from the Riverside Trauma Center.

Is there someone I can talk to if I am worried?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) runs the Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Additionally, you may call to request assistance from a member of Newton’s Social Services team at (617) 796-1420.

Who can I call for general COVID-19 questions?

Call 2-1-1 for general COVID-19 questions.
Mass 211 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community. Always a confidential call, Mass 211 maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system saving that vital community resource for life and death emergencies.
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Mass 211 is an easy way to find help in your community.
Mass 211 responds immediately during times of crisis, to field calls regarding the crisis and to direct callers to services most appropriate for their needs. If you are unable to reach 2-1-1 due to your telephone or cell phone carrier, a toll-free number is available 1-877-211-MASS (6277); Hearing impaired callers can reach us using 508-370-4890 TTY

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

CDC COVID-19 page

CDC COVID-19 FAQs

CDC FAQs for children

CDC FAQs for pregnant women

CDC FAQs for breastfeeding women

MDPH COVID-19 page

MDPH COVID-19 FAQs

If your question is not answered here or on the website links above, please feel free to reach out to us. You can call us at 617-796-1420 or email your question to: health@newtonma.gov

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