Mayor Donna Holaday and Director of Public Health Frank Giacalone report the community has seen a rise in positive COVID-19 cases recently, and are urging residents to follow COVID-19 prevention guidance, especially those who may be trick-or-treating this weekend.
According to the public health data released on Thursday, Oct. 29, linked here, the City’s designation is now “Red,” indicating a “high risk” in the community. The average daily incidence rate for the City of Newburyport per 100,000 residents has risen to 11.6, up from last week’s rate of 7.6.
As of today, there have been 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newburyport in the last two weeks.
“It’s vital that we all continue to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in our community, especially this weekend if you are planning to participate in trick-or-treating or any other Halloween activities,” Mayor Holaday said. “Thank you for your cooperation and support during these challenging times. By working together, we can help to reverse this trend and protect the health and safety of our entire community.”
Residents are asked to take the following precautions, in accordance with guidance that has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC), should they decide to go trick-or-treating this year:
- Wear a face mask or face covering. A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
- Observe good hand hygiene, including hand washing and use of alcohol-based sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy.
- Refrain from touching your face.
- Stay home and refrain from Halloween activities, including handing out Halloween treats, if:
- you feel unwell;
- you have tested positive for COVID-19; or
- you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet of physical distance from all other participants who are not members of the same household.
- Should residents partake in trick-or-treating, they are encouraged to make individually wrapped goodie bags that can be placed at the end of a driveway or the edge of their yard for families to take. All homeowners distributing treats are encouraged to use a disinfectant to routinely sanitize commonly touched surfaces such as doorbells and candy bowls.
- Those who do not wish to participate in trick-or-treating are asked to shut off their outdoor lights as an indicator. Trick-or-treaters are asked to respect the wishes of those who have chosen not to participate in this year’s event.
Additionally, the City would like to share information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about several low and moderate risk alternative activities that community members can take part in for Halloween.
This includes lower risk alternatives such as carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them, or at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends; having a virtual Halloween costume contest or a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart; or having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.
Additionally, residents are encouraged to avoid higher risks activities, such as indoor haunted houses or costume parties; hayrides or tractor rides with those outside of your household; or having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
City officials would also like to remind residents of the COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH):
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing — maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others — is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain 6 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.