Coronavirus or COVID-19 (formerly referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus) is a respiratory virus that is generally spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to the flu or other respiratory illnesses. As of March 22, according to official statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), there have been 77 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts. On Sunday, March 15, the City of Lowell was notified by DPH that two Lowell residents have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first presumptive positive cases in the City. As of March 24, 10 Lowell residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Since January, as reported cases of COVID-19 began to climb around the globe, the Lowell Health Department has engaged in extensive efforts to ensure the City of Lowell’s preparedness in the event of an outbreak. The Health Department has been in frequent communication with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and has participated in conference calls with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to remain informed of best practices for preparedness and developments related to the spread of the virus. While this specific virus is new, the Lowell Health Department has a great deal of experience in preventing the spread of disease in our community and is well prepared to protect the health of residents and visitors. 

On March 10, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, which will provide additional tools and enhance the administration’s ability to respond to coronavirus.

Subsequently, on March 15, Governor Baker announced further emergency actions including closing all public and private schools for three weeks, prohibiting gatherings with more than 25 individuals, and reducing restaurant service to take-out only. 

On March 23, the Governor ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses effective Tuesday, March 24 at noon until April 7, 2020. Click here for a list of businesses and operations that are considered essential under this order. Additionally, he directed DPH to issue an advisory for Massachusetts residents to remain at home for two weeks. 

For updates, text "COVID19" to 888-777