Towns begin response to coronavirus

Mar 4, 2020

In a letter sent to Marion residents on March 3, Public Health Nurse Kathy Downey said that, at this current time, the risk of coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) is low in Massachusetts and that this means “that you are more likely to contract and become ill from the flu than Covid-19.”

There have been reported cases in Norfolk County and Rhode Island, but none on the South Coast as of now. 

Town Administrator Jay McGrail said that Marion is being “as proactive as we possibly can” to prevent coronavirus in a Board of Selectmen meeting on March 3.

While the risk is low, Downey stated that any resident may be already carrying germs that may hurt others. She also stated that elders and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to contracting the virus.

Downey also stated that Massachusetts Department of Public Health is regularly communicating with local Boards of Health, healthcare providers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools and public officials. 

The town of Mattapoisett sent out an email on March 2 with links to find out more information on coronavirus from organizations like the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control’s world travel updates. Rochester has yet to comment on the coronavirus. 

The risk information and updates about the virus are rapidly changing. Downey said she wrote a statement at 6:30 p.m., and by 9:30 p.m. when Marion Board of Health members edited the draft, the information was already outdated. 

Public health officials recommend preventative measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

They are similar to the steps to preventing a cold or flu: stay home if sick, don’t send sick children to school, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or sing the ABCs twice,) avoid close contact with others and people that are sick, keeps hands away from the face, cover the mouth when sneezing and coughing, discard of tissues immediately after use, and don’t share glasses, utensils or towels.

Beyond preventative cold measures, practicing other good habits, like cleaning surfaces, sleeping well, drinking fluids, managing stress and eating healthy food, are all steps to stay in good health. 

For updates and more information concerning coronavirus, visit