Total confirmed cases since 3/12/2020: 69
Current as of 4/8/2020
Confirmed cases: 15,202
Current as of 4/7/2020
Guidance and recommendations for NON-AGENCY BASED in-home Caregivers (PCA's, Independent Nurses, etc.)
During the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission
The following link provides guidance and tools for caring and accommodating someone at home with COVID-19.
Health Care Professional Volunteers To support ongoing COVID-19 emergency response efforts, the Baker-Polito Administration has partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Society to match volunteers with our communities and health care providers based on skillsets and need. There is an immediate need for respiratory therapists and public health nurses, and the administration is asking health care professionals interested in volunteering to sign up at MAResponds.org or through our Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).Update 3/26/2020• Closure of Schools and Non-Emergency Child Care Programs Extended Until May 4: Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools, and all non-emergency childcare programs, until May 4 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
•All residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities. Residents over 70 years of age or with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.
• The following is a link to day cares that have been designated as an Emergency Child Care Program, however please read below the statement from Governor Baker’s Office, prior to contacting a ECC program.
Do not contact an emergency child care program unless you require emergency, back-up, drop-in care. Parents and guardians working from home are not a priority for emergency child care. Likewise, if you have alternate child care, such as friends or family, you should not contact these programs. In light of Governor Baker's March 23 emergency order, EEC is updating its guidance to explain that priority access to emergency child care will be given to vulnerable children and the children of families designated as "COVID-19 Essential Workforces, " with emphasis on those in the health care, public health, and human services and law enforcement, public safety, and first responder fields. To slow the spread of the coronavirus, all families should keep children out of group care settings to the greatest extent possible. Emergency Child Care Programs are for when all other non-group-care settings have been exhausted and families have no other options.
• The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing developed a COVID-19 visual tool to better communicate during medical appointments, This tool is great to use and please SHARE widely!!
Download pdf and print it, front and back, on 8.5 x 11 paper You may wish to laminate it (particularly if medical providers feel the laminate can be disinfected).
Governor Charlie Baker ordered as of noon time Tuesday March 24th, that all non-essential businesses to cease in person operation and directs the Department of Health to issue a stay at home advisory for two weeks.While the cases increase daily we are now reporting all confirmed and presumed cases for Watertown and Massachusetts in the header of this page.
Governor Charlie Baker, has temporary ordered all private and public daycare providers to be closed effectively March 23, 2020 and exempt Emergency Child Care Programs will be established to provide priority access for families of emergency personnel, medical staff, and others to confront COVID-19. More information on this program will be provided once we receive it.The Health Department has been contacting all family and day care providers by telephone or by email to advise them of this order.
We receive many questions from citizens about testing. While more testing is available, only those who meet the criteria for COVID-19 are tested. If you have a fever and/or cough, fever and/or breathing issues or severe breathing issues contact your primary care physician (PCP) and notify them of your symptoms, so they can determine if you meet the criteria and refer you for testing.
If you do not have a PCP, please contact one of the Urgent Care centers in Watertown and let them know your symptoms before visiting the clinic or any Emergency Department.
Due to the national shortage of testing swabs, Mount Auburn Hospital temporary suspended testing for influenza and COVID-19 at their drive by testing site in order to allow testing to be available for the most seriously ill patients and require admission into the hospital.
Urgent Care Clinics in Watertown
• AFC Urgent Care at 376 Arsenal Street
• Partners Urgent Care at 11 Mount Auburn Street
Key Public Health Messages for All Residents to protect yourself and others who are most at risk of COVID-19 • Take your temperature daily.
• Stay home if you have a fever or are sick.
• Wash your hands with water and soap.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Don’t shake hands or hug.
• Social distancing (at least 6 feet away from others).
• If you are outside, avoid crowds.
• Stay connected to friends and loved ones by phone or through other technology.
The Watertown Health Department was notified of our third confirmed case of COVID-19. We do understand that COVID-19 causes a great deal of anxiety of the community and like to be as transparent as we can, due to HIPPA regulations we can not share locations, or other identifying information associated with any of the confirmed or contact cases. We like to assure you that we conduct “contact tracing” of confirmed or suspect COVID-19 and advise those close contacts to self-quarantine for 14 days since the last day of exposure. As the health department receives many calls regarding testing for COVID-19, these questions should be directed to 2 – 1 – 1 the State COVID-19 information line or your physician who can evaluate your health status and symptoms and determine if you meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing. To keep our community as healthy as possible we need your help.• Take your temperature daily and stay home when you have a fever. • Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with water and soap. • Cover your cough and sneeze and wash hands afterwards, if no soap and water is immediately available using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. • Clean and disinfect high impact surfaces frequently.• Maintain social distancing.
Over the weekend the Health Department was notified of a second presumptive case of COVID-19. As with the first case there is no link to the Watertown Public School system, this case and contact investigation is ongoing and will be as transparent as possible within HIPPA guidelines. Over the weekend Governor Charlie Baker issued additional important social distancing orders.
•Close all the schools in the state for 3 weeks.
•Prohibit on-premise service of food or drink in restaurants or bars (but permitting take out food).
•Prohibit gatherings of over 25 people, excepting legislative bodies and the courts.
•Limit visitors to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
We have been advised that there is a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Watertown. The case is not associated with the schools and has no children in the school system. The Health Department case investigation is ongoing and we will provide additional information tomorrow.
While the situation with the corona virus COVID-19 remains a fluid situation, we would like to ensure you that the Watertown Health Department is monitoring the situation closely and work with all departments within Watertown to minimize the spread of the novel corona virus COVID-19. While Governor Baker declared a state of Emergency in Massachusetts, we like to stress that as of today we have NO confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 cases in Watertown.
Recently additional presumptive cases were identified in Massachusetts bringing the total amount of presumptive* or confirmed case in Massachusetts to 92. MDPH added a section to their website listing Massachusetts cases by county, age, gender and source.
*A presumptive case is a person that was tested positive by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory, while awaiting confirmation from the specimens sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the departments in Watertown are preparing, we need help from the community adhering to simple but yet effective measures that can prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Wash your hands oftenCover your coughs and sneezesAvoid touching your faceMonitor your temperature dailyStay home when you are sick
Avoid close contact with sick people
Clean and disinfect surfaces
Although most people that might get sick will have mild symptoms and recover from this infection at home, our older population and those with pre-existing medical conditions could be at greater risk to more severe symptoms. We urge those to take extra precautions, limit non-essential air travel, and avoid large gatherings or crowds.
Frequently asked Questions
Is there a vaccine or what are the treatments?
There is currently no vaccine to protect people from COVID-19 as of yet, also there is no specific antiviral treatment other than known antivirals and supportive care and relief of symptoms.
Should I wear a mask in public?
The health risk to Massachusetts residents remains low and we are not recommending that people wear masks when they are in public. Masks can be useful to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others but there is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer.
How do you test a person for COVID-19?
Testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is only available through the Massachusetts
State Public Health Laboratory and the CDC. Any healthcare provider who suspects a person is infected with 2019 Novel Coronavirus should call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to discuss testing, at (617) 983-6800.
Should I be tested for COVID-19?
Only those who have been in a place where COVID-19 is occurring, or have had close contact with
someone who has it, and are experiencing flu-like symptoms, should be tested.
What should I do if I have visited a place where COVID-19 is occurring or if I had close contact with someone who has it?
If you have travelled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Japan or you have had close contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, you may be asked to avoid contact with other people (“self-quarantine”), depending on your likelihood of exposure. In addition you should also:
• Monitor your health for 14 days after your last possible exposure.• Watch for these signs and symptoms:
a. feverb. coughing
c. shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Other early symptoms could be chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea,
nausea/vomiting, and runny nose.• If you develop any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider.• Before going to your medical appointment, be sure to tell your healthcare provider about your possible exposure to COVID-19.
MDPH strongly recommends that at this time, that individuals who have returned from travel to any of the countries currently identified as having widespread local transmission of COVID-19 and Individuals with upper respiratory tract infections including fever/cough to defer visiting a hospital unless the visit is essential.
Where can I learn more about COVID-19? For updated information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at their website:
More detailed information and additional guidance is available from the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Watertown Health Department Corona virus webpage: https://www.watertown-ma.gov/965/CORONAVIRUS For additional questions contact: Watertown Health Department at 617-972-6446, your doctor, or clinic. MDPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at (617) 983-6800.
Governor baker has declared a State of Emergency in support of Massachusetts efforts in addressing Coronavirus in the state.The guidance for Executive Branch employees goes into effect on Wednesday, March 11, and will be revisited in 30 days or sooner as circumstances dictate.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced yesterday of a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 since its approval to test for COVID-19 testing started Friday at the Massachusetts State Laboratory. The individual who lives in Middlesex county had a travel history to Europe including Northern Italy became symptomatic but did not require hospitalization. While this is the 3rd novel Corona virus case (COVID-19) in Massachusetts the risk in the community remains low.
Travel Guidelines and restrictions.
Level 3 Countries (China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea)Upon entry into the US only China and Iran travelers are reported to MDPH and Local Boards of Health (LBOH) and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days with Health Department supervision. Travelers from Italy and South Korea are asked to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, but are not reported to MDPH or LBOH.
Level 2 countries (Japan)
Upon entry to the US, travelers are asked to limit contact with others and to self-monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 for 14 days and are not reported to DPH or LBOH.
While some travelers may have returned from Level 3 countries prior to the new restrictions went into effect, the Watertown Health Department request that any international traveler regardless of country of origin to take daily temperatures for two weeks and monitor for symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 and as long as they are asymptomatic continue business as usual. If symptoms develop please contact your primary care physician (PCP) and report symptoms and international travel history prior to visiting the clinic.
Symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are fever (101.4 F) and/or cough and/or sneezing and/or breathing difficulties or severe breathing difficulties. If the Illness justifies a medical emergency please notify the 911 operator of any recent international travel history.
How can you protect yourself and your family?
•Wash your hands for about 20 seconds with soap and water•Cover your cough and sneeze and wash hands afterwards, if no soap and water is immediately available using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.•Avoid close contact with sick people•When you are sick and or have a fever, STAY HOME!
•Clean and disinfect high impact surfaces frequently.
More information regarding COVID-19 can be found at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website
The Massachusetts Department if Public Health (MDPH) updated their website and now includes 2019-nCoV fact sheets in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish. Please follow this link to access these fact sheets.
While there was one confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in Massachusetts, the risk to residents remains low.
The Watertown Health Department continues to work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and other municipal departments to monitor and share MDPH information and guidelines regarding the developing 2019 novel Corona Virus (2019-nCoV) situation in China and USA, especially here in Massachusetts with one confirmed case. Currently there are 11 confirmed cases in the United States, (6 in CA, 2 in IL, 1 in AZ, 1 in WA, and 1 in MA, a UMass Boston College student who returned from the Wuhan Region to MA). No mortalities occurred in the USA and reiterate that the risk in Massachusetts for 2019-nCoV remains low.
We will continue to monitor the situation in Massachusetts and globally and, assure you we will inform you immediately with updated information provided to us by MDPH.
The Watertown Health Department is working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and other medical facilities to monitor the developing 2019 novel Corona Virus (2019-nCoV) situation in China. There are currently 5 confirmed cases in the United States, none of the cases are in Massachusetts and the risk in Massachusetts for 2019-nCoV remains extremely low.
We recognize that media reports and social network activity on the situation in China can cause a great deal of concern and anxiety. We like to assure you that we are closely reviewing information provided by MDPH and Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and will publish any updated information on our website if any change occurs in the current situation.
As we did during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, the health department continues to work with other municipal departments to prepare for the safety and health of Watertown’s residents.
While we are in the middle of the 2019-2020 seasonal influenza virus season, we like to remind you there are several preventative measures you can take to keep yourself and others safe from viruses such as the flu.
•Wash your hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow, then immediately wash your hands.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
•Clean and disinfect touched objects or surfaces with a disinfectant.
•Stay at home if you are sick and have a fever.
•Avoid contact with people that are sick.
The Watertown Health Department is taking your concerns serious and continue to closely monitor the situation. While there are emerging global health concerns, you need to know that the risk for a public health threat in the US remains extremely low. If the situation, changes we assure you we will inform you immediately with information provided to us by MDPH and CDC.