Cohasset woman under quarantine due to potential coronavirus exposure

COHASSET, Mass. — A Cohasset woman is under home quarantine due to potential exposure to the coronavirus, Boston 25 News has learned.

According to the Cohasset Public Schools superintendent, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health notified the school community that, “a member of the Cohasset community,” is under home quarantine while awaiting test results. This person, “had close proximity to someone who is known to have contracted the coronavirus during a recent international trip.”

Cohasset senior leaders met on Monday morning to discuss the potential case of coronavirus and local health officials held a statewide conference call in the afternoon, which included 800 members of local health boards, to further go through public health concerns.

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On Sunday, two people who returned to Rhode Island from a trip to Europe tested positive for the coronavirus disease. Boston 25 News has learned from a source that the 27-year-old Cohasset woman was a chaperone on that European trip. Sources say that, while overseas, the woman had close contact with at least one person who already has tested positive for the virus.

The first confirmed cases in the state of Rhode Island were a teenage girl and a man in his 40s, who had been on the same trip as the Cohasset woman.

The trip was organized by a Catholic High School in Rhode Island, but it’s still unclear what is the woman’s connection to the school. The source says she had complained about a persistent cough since coming back from Europe.

“It’s more a matter of when, not if it’s going to occur,” said Nicole Balaschi, who works in Cohasset. “So if it’s here in Cohasset we just have to prepare appropriately and we have good staff.”

A source tells us the woman has no affiliation with Cohasset Public Schools, but there is a concern because she lives in an apartment complex that’s heavily populated with children.

“This is strictly, right now, a town issue," said Dr. Patrick Sullivan, the superintendent of Cohasset Public Schools. "But we’re taking the precautions that we need to and working with town officials and the Department of Public Health to make sure we’re getting the right messaging out there and that we’re taking all precautions as the safety of our students and staff is really paramount.”

Some of those precautions include sanitizing the classrooms regularly and reminding students and staff to wash their hands frequently.

“[I’m washing my hands 5,000 times a day!” said Balaschi.

If the Cohasset woman tests positive for the virus, she will be the second person in Massachusetts to have contracted the illness.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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