Coronavirus Case Reported in Bristol, Plymouth Counties
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Sunday announced 26 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. There are now 164 confirmed and presumptive cases in Massachusetts, including one in Bristol County and one in Plymouth County.
On Saturday evening, town officials in Easton acknowledged they had received notification from the Massachusetts DPH of a single presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Easton, noting that "although the Commonwealth of Massachusetts publishes presumptive positive cases on a county by county level only, town officials are providing this information in order to keep the community educated and informed."
The press release from the Town of Easton noted that the resident and all household members who are not currently symptomatic are "adhering to DPH orders for isolation and quarantine to limit the risk of spread and will be monitored by Easton health officials on a daily basis."
In total, there are currently 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, with another 119 presumed cases.
Earlier today, the Mass DPH issued the following release regarding testing:
As of 10:45 a.m. Sunday, March 15th, 799 patients had been tested by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory, up from the 475 people tested that Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders shared at the March 14th press conference.
The Department of Public Health has implemented the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance on clinical testing protocols, which means clinicians are required to only submit one nasal swab, rather than the previous requirement to submit both nasal and throat swabs. With this change in clinical testing protocols, the State Lab’s testing capacity will increase to approximately 400 patients a day, up from 200 patients a day.
In addition, in Massachusetts, clinicians now have more flexibility to determine which patients should be tested without having to call DPH’s Epi Line.
With national labs now being approved by the FDA to conduct testing, clinicians can submit specimens for testing directly to these labs. This change will enable more people to be tested and for more tests to be conducted. With more clinical labs in Massachusetts working to get FDA approval, even more testing capacity will be coming online soon.