Photo: The Belmont resident with the coronavirus attended a Biogen conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf (Google maps)
Belmont’s first positive Coronavirus case in a resident has been confirmed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, according to a press release dated Wednesday, March 11 from Wesley Chin, director of the Belmont Health Department.
“The presumptive positive individual is in good spirits and reports mild symptoms,” said Chin.
A parent of students who attend the Chenery Middle School and Belmont High School, the resident took part in a Biogen conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf in late February which is “Ground Zero” in the spread of the respiratory disease. As of Tuesday, approximately 70 out of 91 presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts are linked to that leadership meeting.
Only the parent has shown symptoms of the virus known as COVID-19; the students and other members of the family are symptom free.
The resident and the family are now complying with a 14-day in-home quarantine protocol provided by MDPH, said the press release. The individual is isolated in the home and is staying away from members of their family.
Even before the confirmation, the individual and its family have been out of school and work since the previous week as a preventative measure to reduce the chance of community spread.
In light of the first positive case in town, the Belmont Public Schools Facilities Department is cleaning and disinfecting the schools the children attend as well as the Belmont Public Library, which was cleaned prior to opening today.
The school department has strengthened cleaning protocols at all schools, with a focus on high touch points. It is also closely monitoring hand towel and soap dispensers to ensure regular refill and has ordered a large supply of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to be distributed to all schools.
There are now plans to systematically disinfect all other town buildings moving forward, said Chin.
Local health departments, including the Belmont Health Department, conduct contact investigations of confirmed and presumptive positive COVID-19 cases, in collaboration with MDPH. This helps to prevent further spread by having contacts of cases self-quarantine.
The US Centers Disease Control (CDC) has updated recommendations for people at higher risk — older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.