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The Town of Barnstable Public Health Division continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in Asia and Europe and the progress of the COVID-19 cases in the United States.  We will continue to review and post the most up-to-date information from dependable sources to keep you informed.  Our Town has an emergency response plan for public health emergencies should we need to implement it in the future.

We recommend visiting the following websites with reliable information: Center for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  For the latest on case counts, visit the Centers for Diseases Control website: CDC website.  Reported cases globally in real-time are also listed on the John Hopkins University site.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Sunday March 8th, 15 new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts to 28.  All 15 cases had a direct connection to the Biogen employee conference in late February. The presumptive positive cases include five from Suffolk County ranging in age from 30s to 60s; five from Middlesex County ranging in age from 40s to 60s; four cases from Norfolk County ranging in age from 40s to 60s; and a female whose age and county of residence are unknown at the time of the release.  23 of the presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Massachusetts are associated with the Biogen employee meeting held in late February.  All of the presumptive positive cases are isolating at home.  MA Public Health Laboratory’s results are considered ‘presumptive positive’ while we await confirmation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The risk to our residents of contracting COVID-19 remains low.  At the same time, the risk for the influenza virus is very high.  It is important to note that residents are much more likely to become sick with a cold or the seasonal flu.  Over 8,000 people in this country die each year from influenza.  Many of the symptoms of Influenza and Coronavirus are similar and some of the precautions are the same.  Basic precautions include:

  • Frequent hand-washing, for 20 seconds with soap.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cough hygiene – into a tissue when possible (throw it away immediately) or into your arm.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with those who are ill.
  • Stay home yourself from work or school when ill.

Influenza vaccinations are available here at the Health Division Office.  You may schedule an appointment for a flu shot by calling our Public Health Nurse, Margaret (Peg) Stanton R.N, directly at 508-862-4648.

Thomas A. McKean, RS, CHO

Director of Public Health