Special to the Transcript
Town Manager Austin Faison and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley are urging residents to follow COVID-19 prevention guidance from local, state and federal public health officials following a recent uptick in positive cases.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released COVID-19 data on individual municipalities throughout the state.
According to the data, Winthrop has had 20 new, positive cases of COVID-19 over the past two weeks, a higher number of case counts compared to the previous two weeks.
Town data also shows that there have been 326 positive cases of the virus in Winthrop since Jan. 1.
“This increase speaks volumes; this virus has not gone away, and it is critical that everyone keeps diligently following public health guidance by wearing face coverings, social distancing, washing your hands often and staying home when sick,” Town Manager Faison said. “For the wellbeing and health of everyone in our community, please do your part, remind your family and friends to do their part, and together, we can reduce the number of people this virus reaches.”
Gov. Charlie Baker, in response to a statewide rise in positive cases, implemented several new efforts and stricter guidelines which went into effect Tuesday, Aug. 11. These included a reduction in the maximum number of people permitted at outdoor gatherings on both public and private property from 100 to 50 and a requirement that people wear face coverings whenever more than 10 people from different households gather.
The recent announcement by Gov. Baker reinforces an earlier order issued in May, which requires everyone, exempting children under the age of two or those with an underlying health condition, to wear a mask in public when maintaining social distancing, a minimum of six feet from others, is not feasible.
Indoor gatherings remain limited to groups of 25 or fewer people under Gov. Baker’s recent increased restrictions.
Restaurants have also been barred from selling alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption unless accompanied by a food order in an effort to ensure bars remain closed.
Fines or cease and desist orders may be issued by local or state public safety officials in the event hosts violate the limit on the number of people permitted at a gathering or the face covering order.
“Following guidance on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 could be lifesaving, and we cannot stress enough, please take these state orders and the general public health guidance we’ve been sharing seriously,” Public Health Director Hurley said.
COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health include:
• Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing, maintaining a minimum of six feet from others, is critical.
• Those who must go out are urged to:
• Avoid gathering in groups
• Maintain six feet from people outside your household
• Do not shake hands or hug
• Wash your hands often
• Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands
• Wear a mask in indoor and outdoor spaces where social distancing from people outside your household is not possible. This does not apply to those under the age of two and with underlying health conditions.
• Face coverings should:
• Cover the nose and mouth
• Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
• Be secured with either ties or ear loops
• Permit breathing without difficulty
• Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website here and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website here.
Residents are also encouraged to regularly check the Town of Winthrop website here and the Town Facebook page @winthropma for regular updates about the status of the virus in the community.