Mass. DPH: Second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 identified in the state

BOSTON — State health officials have announced a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Massachusetts since testing started on Feb. 28.

The patient, identified as a Middlesex County woman in her 60s who recently traveled to Northern Italy, one of the epicenters of the coronavirus global spread. Officials with the Department of Public Health have announced the woman was symptomatic but did not require hospitalization and is currently recovering at home.

The patient was tested by the State Public Health Laboratory, which confirmed the case as the second presumptive case, but further testing will be done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

This case brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts to three - one confirmed and two presumptive positive - since the outbreak started in the US in January. The risk to the public from COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts.

Since January, Massachusetts has tested 25 residents, including the first confirmed case and the first presumptive positive case.

As of March 4, 719 people have been self-quarantined due to concerns over the virus. Of those, 470 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined, while 249 remain under quarantine.

DPH officials were notified by the Tennessee Department of Health that its first presumptive positive COVID-19 case was a man who traveled on a nonstop, round-trip flight between Boston Logan Airport and the Nashville International Airport, and was asymptomatic while traveling. DPH are working with Tennessee health officials and the Boston Public Health Commission to identify his close contacts.

Staying healthy

Although the risk of the novel coronavirus to Massachusetts residents remains low, and the risk of the flu is high, people are advised to take many of the same steps they do to help prevent colds and the flu, including:

• Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

• Avoid touching your eyes and face.

• Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.

• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.

• Stay home when feeling sick.

• Stay informed.

• Get a flu shot.


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