NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna D. Holaday, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Christopher LeClaire, City Marshal Mark Murray and Health Director Frank Giacalone seek to update the citizens of Newburyport on the city’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, was declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization and has led to a state of emergency declaration and activation of the Massachusetts National Guard by Governor Charlie Baker and the declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump.
There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Newburyport. The City is aware, as most communities are in the Commonwealth, that some residents have been advised to self-quarantine because of possible exposure to someone with a confirmed case of the illness.
Following the guidance of state and federal officials, the City of Newburyport has undertaken the following measures:
- The Newburyport City Hall is closed to the public until further notice. Residents and business owners needing to conduct business with the city should call 978-465-4413 or visit the city’s website.
- All Senior Center activities are cancelled.
- The Newburyport Public Library is closed.
- Town playgrounds are closed to the public.
- Newburyport Youth Services is closed and all programming is suspended until further notice.
- All Police and Fire Department lobbies and stations are closed to the public, with the exception of the vestibule at the front entrance of the police station, for emergencies only. Residents are encouraged to call the departments’ business lines for all non-emergency matters. The Police Department’s business line is 978-462-4411 and the Fire Department’s business line is 978-465-4427.
- As always, please call 911 for any emergency. All emergency services are fully functional and prepared. Newburyport’s Emergency Management Agency is prepared to activate the City’s Emergency Operations Center if needed.
These closures are being done to promote the concept of social distancing and reduce the number of in-person interactions on a daily basis to decrease the chances of spreading in transmitting COVID-19.
The Newburyport Police and Fire Departments remain fully staffed and prepared to respond to any emergency.
“It is especially important that all residents, young and old, practice social distancing and avoid gathering in crowds in order to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this disease,” Mayor Holaday said. “Unfortunately, life is going to be different during this time period, but together we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever before.”
The City’s leadership team understands that the threat of illness as well as the widespread practice of social distancing and the closure of most public events and cancellation of school and other activities is a source of stress and anxiety for many residents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for those experiencing fear and anxiety relating to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Coping with stress will make residents and those they care about, as well as the community as a whole, stronger and healthier.
Those who may respond to the crisis more strongly than others include:
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, such as doctors and other healthcare providers, or first responders
- People who have mental health conditions, including problems with substance use
Additionally, people with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.
For more information, parents, responders, people who have been released from quarantine and the general public can visit the CDC’s “Managing Anxiety and Stress” website here.
Latest Health Guidance
City leaders stress that if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath they are advised to call their primary care physician as a first step.
For those calling 911 for police or fire services, you will find that dispatchers are asking a number of questions about the health of you and those in your household to better prepare first responders and keep them safe.
Public health officials are advising everyone to practice social distancing by keeping six feet between people to prevent the spread of infection, which includes handshaking and hugging. Residents are also encouraged to avoid group activities and events.
Other Guidelines Include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.