Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates
COMMUNITY IMPACT SURVEY - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health wants to hear how COVID-19 has affected you. Share your experience by completing the anonymous survey at: mass.gov/covidsurvey
Coronavirus or COVID-19 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 November 29, there have been 6,518 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Lowell residents. The City of Lowell was notified of its first positive case on March 10, 2020. After a period of diminished transmission through the summer months, Lowell is experiencing a surge in new cases of COVID-19, with new cases rising sharply since Labor Day. Lowell is currently considered "red" or "higher risk" under the state's COVID-19 risk assessment system.
Data and information about the status of the virus in Massachusetts is published daily by the Department of Public Health, and can be viewed online here.
Led by the Health Department and Emergency Management team, the City of Lowell has undertaken vigorous response and preparedness efforts since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. These efforts have taken place in coordination with state agencies and local health partners, including Lowell General Hospital, Trinity EMS and the Lowell Community Health Center and have resulted in positive developments that have enhanced the community’s health infrastructure, including expanded testing and hospital bed capacity.
Coronavirus symptoms may appear within two to fourteen days of exposure to the virus, and include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, chills, repeated shaking with chills, and loss of taste or smell. The severity of these symptoms ranges among patients. Click here for more information regarding symptoms from the CDC.
Individuals displaying symptoms, even if they are mild, should contact their healthcare provider for guidance regarding testing. Massachusetts residents may also check their symptoms online through a service offered by Buoy Health to determine if testing is appropriate. Additionally, individuals who have been in direct contact with anyone who has tested positive should seek testing.
Click here to view an interactive map of all testing sites in Massachusetts.
Many testing sites require a referral from an individual’s primary care physician. Individuals that do not have a PCP may contact the Lowell Community Health Center, which has implemented a system to screen patients to determine if testing is in order.
Any person who is demonstrating symptoms of coronavirus should remain in quarantine through the testing process, and should not leave their home until a negative test is produced.
From April through June, CVS operated a rapid testing site at the Showcase Cinema parking lot in Lowell, conducting up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day. As of Saturday, June 27, the rapid testing site has closed.
In partnership with Trinity EMS and the Lowell Community Health Center, the City of Lowell's Health Department has offered no-cost COVID-19 testing to all Lowell residents through the state's "Stop the Spread" initiative at sites throughout the City. Stop the Spread testing in Lowell was ended by the state in September based on diminished transmission metrics at the time. There is currently no free testing available in Lowell through the Stop the Spread program.
Stop the Spread was launched on July 10 and is intended to curb transmission of COVID-19 through expanding the availability of testing to asymptomatic residents in communities throughout Massachusetts. Lowell was among the original eight communities served by the program, which is now active in eighteen communities across the Commonwealth. All Massachusetts residents, including those that are asymptomatic or that are not residents of communities where testing is offered, are eligible for testing at any site. More information about Stop the Spread testing is available at mass.gov/stopthespread.
The City of Lowell is urging residents to consider public health guidance intended to prevent transmission of COVID-19 while planning holiday celebrations. This is particularly important for fall and winter holidays that traditionally involve
Trick-or-treating is prohibited this year in Lowell. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is considered a "higher risk activity" by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, Lowell has experienced an uptick in new cases of COVID-19. Given these factors, City health and safety officials determined that allowing trick-or-treating would pose a substantial risk to public health in the City.
The City encourages families that are seeking to form alternative Halloween plans to consider activities that are considered low-risk by the CDC. A complete list classifying common Halloween activities is available here.
Indoor events involving high volumes of people from different households pose a significant risk for COVID-19 transmission. Residents are advised not to host or attend any large indoor gatherings, such as costume parties.
As always, face coverings should be worn during any activity where you may encounter an individual from outside of your household unit. Costume masks are not a substitute for proper cloth face coverings.
In order to keep yourself, your family and the community safe, Thanksgiving gatherings should be limited to only people you live with or people that you interact with on a regular basis. Private Thanksgiving and all other holiday celebrations are subject to gathering size limitations currently in place in Massachusetts.
If you host or attend a gathering with people from outside of your household or immediate social network, precautions should be taken including wearing masks, social distancing, and not sharing food.
Complete guidance on safely celebrating Thanksgiving is available from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
MONITORING AND CONTACT TRACING
The City’s Health Department is notified of each confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lowell. Public health nurses contact each patient to ensure that they are aware of isolation requirements, to ensure that they have the resources and support needed to get through isolation, and to determine others that they have been in contact with. Through a process known as contact tracing, the Department’s staff works to connect with each contact to advise them of protocols given their exposure to the virus. Contact tracing is a critical public health function in containing the spread of coronavirus. It is important that residents who are contacted by a public health nurse cooperate fully. Please look out for incoming calls from a 978-674 exchange, or that appear as "City of Lowell" on your caller ID, as these may be contact tracing calls.
In certain cases, contact tracing may also be conducted by the state through Partners In Health. These calls will come from numbers with 833 or 857 prefixes and should display "MA COVID Team" on Caller IDs.
CITY HALL OPERATIONS
Beginning Tuesday, July 21, City Hall and all other City buildings will be open to the public on Tuesdays from 8AM-8PM and Thursdays from 8AM-5PM. All City Departments will be available to assist residents remotely outside of these times during regular business hours.
The City of Lowell is requesting that residents and other individuals seeking to attend to City-related business continue to do so remotely when possible; online, by phone, through the mail, or by using the City’s secure drop box located at City Hall’s entrance at JFK Plaza. All City Departments will remain open and available to assist residents remotely during regular business hours.
Members of the public entering any City building must adhere to physical distancing guidelines, remaining six feet apart from City employee and other members of the public, and will be required to wear a face covering for duration of their visit, unless they are unable to due to a medical condition. Individuals are asked to avoid entering City buildings if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
City Hall and all other City buildings initially closed to the public due to concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 on Monday, March 16, 2020.
Public amenities that previously closed to the public including playgrounds and playing surface such as basketball courts, have now reopened to the public.
For questions related to City operations, call: 978-674-4400.
STATEWIDE MITIGATION ORDERS/ACTIONS
Governor Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts on March 10, 2020, enhancing the administration’s ability to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
On November 2, 2020, Governor Baker has announced a series of new targeted measures intended to curb COVID-19 transmission announced by Governor Baker yesterday (11/2). Each of the four measures, implemented through a series of orders and advisories, will be effective Friday, November 6, 2020 at 12:01 AM.
On May 18, the Administration announced the commencement of the state’s four-phase reopening plan which has allowed certain businesses and operations to resume under heightened safety guidelines. Lowell is currently in Phase Three, Step One of the reopening process. Given Lowell's designation as a "high risk" community, the City has not able to advance to step two, which allows for expanded capacity at performance venues, museums, and certain other facilities.
For more information on the administration’s phased re-opening plan, including sector-specific guidance, click here.
Effective August 1, all travelers to Massachusetts, including Massachusetts residents returning to the state and out-of-state travelers are required to quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower risk state or they produce a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of their arrival. Individuals that were tested prior to arriving in the state but have not received their test results must quarantine until they receive a negative test result. This order applies to college students returning to a Massachusetts campus. Individuals that fail to comply with this order may face fines up to $500. Click here for more information on this policy.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND HELP STOP THE SPREAD
The most effective way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic is to limit your risk for exposure, meaning remaining at home whenever possible and limiting contact with individuals outside of your household. Other recommendations from the CDC and other health authorities include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wear a mask/face covering when leaving your house.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid People who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
Residents with any questions or concerns related to coronavirus are encouraged to contact the City of Lowell’s Health Department at 978-674-4010 or contact the 2-1-1 line set up by the state. Massachusetts residents are encouraged to sign up for updates from the state by texting COVIDMA to 888-777.
Lowell Health DepartmentPhone: 978-674-4010
Monday - Friday
WEEKLY CORONAVIRUS DATA REPORTS
PRESS RELEASES AND OTHER UPDATES
COVID-19 CASES IN LOWELL
TOTAL NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES