Jovan stresses need for ‘serious’ effort against ‘invisible enemy’
SOUTHBRIDGE — The first local death attributed to COVID-19 has occurred, local officials confirmed on Tuesday evening.
The identity of the deceased was not released, nor were any identifying characteristics such as age or gender. Town officials offered their condolences to the victim and their family.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” said Town Council Chairman John “Jack” Jovan.
“We are, as a community, sorry for the loss,” Town Manager Ronald San Angelo told The Citizen Chronicle.
Jovan said town officials learned of the death on Tuesday morning as part of its regular updates on the COVID-19 situation.
“It’s here in the community so really you have to stay diligent,” Jovan explained. “You have to be so cautious no matter what you do until the threat goes away.”
He also stressed the importance for individuals to “take it seriously” and labeled the virus “an invisible enemy.”
“It just underscores the importance of following those guidelines,” Jovan added.
The death is the first in Southbridge tied to coronavirus, though 356 deaths have been reported by state officials as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday. In Worcester County, five new deaths were reported by state officials on Tuesday, including a male in his 70s with pre-existing conditions, a male in his 80s with “unknown” pre-existing conditions, a female in her 80s with pre-existing conditions, a female in her 90s with pre-existing conditions, and a female in her 90s with “unknown” pre-existing conditions.
In Southbridge, 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified. State officials reported on Tuesday there are 15,202 cases across Massachusetts, including 1,171 in Worcester County.
“It is concerning that the numbers are rising,” Jovan said. “We’re doing everything in town that we possible can to be prepared for anything that comes our way.”