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Coronavirus Concerns: Tewksbury High Students Ordered To 'Self-Quarantine' After Italy Trip

Mar 05, 2020 07:35PM ● By Bill Gilman
Growing concerns over the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, hit close to home this week, when it was revealed that a group of Tewksbury High students and staff members had been ordered to "self quarantine" for two weeks by Tewksbury School Department officials.
The students and staff had traveled to Italy over February school vacation. According to a letter sent home to parents by Superintendent Chris Malone, the Tewksbury contingent had shared a flight with another passenger flying from Munich, Germany who is believed to have COVID-19.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all students and staff who participated in the school trip to Italy will self-quarantine until March 7, 2020, and can return on March 9, 2020,” read a portion of the letter Malone wrote to parents.

In the letter, Malone said the decision to order the self-quarantine was made after he and other school district officials consulted with state public health officials, the Tewksbury Director of Public Health Susan Sawyer, Town Manager Richard Montuori and Town Nurse Urvi Agarwalla, BS R.N.

At last count, there are 259 Massachusetts residents under self-quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19, which began in China, now has 98,088 confirmed cases with 3,356 deaths globally. 
There have been 3,858 cases and 148 deaths in Italy, 545 cases and zero deaths in Germany, 221 cases and 12 deaths in the United States.

Earlier Thursday, a third Massachusetts resident was confirmed with COVID-19. According to a Tweet from WBZ-TV's David Wade, The latest patient is a woman in her 60's who had recently traveled to Italy. The woman has not been hospitalized and is recovering at home.

According to the Center for Disease Control, these are he symptoms associated with COVID-19:

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC recommends the following practices to reduce your chances of being infected:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

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