Vigilance to be a ‘marathon’ effort

📷 The Citizen Chronicle file photo

OXFORD — The spread of coronavirus has reached this town with confirmation that one resident has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the local and state officials.

Town Manager Jennifer Callahan announced Wednesday afternoon the Town was notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) of the positive test results for a resident of Oxford.

“The Board of Health and the Public Health Nurse are responsible for conducting communicable disease investigation concerning the identified individual,” said Callahan in a press release. “Such investigation would also include working with the individual to identify others who may have had recent contact with them.”

The local Board of Health was made aware of the case and its chairwoman, Kerrie Singer, stressed locals need to take precautions seriously.

“Town residents need to know we will continue to evaluate the processes we have already put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As this pandemic evolves, the Board of Health may implement other processes and measures as deemed necessary and with guidance from DPH, to further protect health and well being of all its residents,” Singer said. “With this news today, the Board of Health continues to strongly emphasize to the public that we need everyone to take this seriously, even more so in the days ahead.”

Board of Selectmen Chairman Dennis Lamarche also called on local residents to cooperate with the precautionary guidelines offered by local, state and federal officials in the battle to “mitigate this pandemic.”

Police Chief Anthony Saad called for locals to heed those warnings and practice the oft-heard measures such as social distancing.

“We continue to urge the public to stay in their homes as much as possible and to respect the recent orders from the Governor and our local Board of Health,” said Saad. “We understand these are unprecedented times, but ask residents to do their part and take responsibility in helping us fight an invisible viral enemy.”

In a joint statement by Callahan and Singer, locals were reminded precautions against the coronavirus will be necessary for some time.

“We ask residents and businesses all across Oxford to please remember, particularly with this news today, fighting this pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint,” they said.

Fire Chief Laurent McDonald agreed.

“This information today is an important reminder to all of us that the COVID-19 Pandemic will continue to impact our community in the days ahead,” he said.

Community taking precautions

Lamarche said while the confirmed cases of coronavirus is not pleasant, he has been pleased by local efforts to combat COVID-19.

“This is sobering news for Oxford as it indicates the pandemic has arrived on our community’s doorstep. The work that the Board of Health, our Town Manager and all the Departments have been doing to prepare has been incredible,” Lamarche said in a statement.

McDonald, who also serves as the town’s director of emergency management, provided additional insight into steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oxford.

“We have been preparing for weeks to be able to provide the best response we can to help mitigate the spread of this highly infectious virus, keep our first responders and essential service providers safe, and to implement important public health and safety protocols to navigate our Town through this pandemic,” McDonald said.

Officials said precautions have included many Town employees working remotely, as well as aggressive cleaning and sanitizing protocols and closing all municipal and school buildings, playgrounds, the dog park, skate parks, and athletic courts to the general public.

While some Town employees are working remotely, first responders remain at the ready. Saad said locals should not hesitate to contact the police department with any questions about public safety.

“Our officers stand ready to respond to any public safety situation or enforcement matter,” he said. “We are all in this together.”

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