Good morning. This is Mayor Mike Cahill with a COVID-19 update. As of yesterday, of the still small number of Beverly people tested to date, we have had 400 positive cases, we have tragically lost 51 Beverly residents to the virus, and so far 94 people have recovered. This morning I have three messages for you:
First, to beat this virus, contact tracing – that is finding people who have been in close contact with those who’ve tested positive – is one of our key weapons. Massachusetts has hired hundreds of Contact Tracers. If you get a call from an 833 or 857 area code, please answer your phone because it may be a contact tracer from the Massachusetts COVID team calling to inform you that you have been exposed to the virus and for your safety and others, you will need to speak with them. Again, please answer calls from 833 and 857 area codes.
Second, if you experience any medical issues during this time, please call your doctor. If you have an emergency, please go to the ER. Please don’t let fear of this virus prevent you from seeking needed medical care. If you do, other medical issues may cause you harm.
Last, it is another beautiful day today. Please continue to social distance. Stay away from other people. And know that the state is now requiring that we all wear face coverings not just in retail stores as we have already been doing, but now we all must wear face coverings wherever we go outside our own homes. This means when we are outdoors if we cannot keep a safe distance. In practice, this means that, even if you are going for a walk, run, or bike ride where you don’t expect to see anyone else, you need to wear a face covering. Now, you can keep it around your neck if no one is around. But when you see someone else you should raise your face covering up over your nose and mouth while you are in the same vicinity.
For anyone exercising vigorously, you need to stay much farther than six feet away from other people. You will be breathing more heavily. Please do not subject others to your respiratory droplets. You might be infected and contagious and not even know it. We know that a significant percentage of transmission of this disease happens when asymptomatic people infect others. Please think of others first.
Friends, I understand that this is yet another change to the world we’ve known – and that all we are being asked to do to adapt can be frustrating. And yet, this is what we do need to do right now. So, I ask you to please understand that wearing face coverings in public is the way we are going to be able to begin to open our community back up in the coming weeks and months. We all need to get used to this. Until there is both an effective vaccine and proven anti-viral treatments, these are our defenses at a personal level – staying away from each other, wearing face coverings, washing our hands frequently, not touching our faces.
Please remember that this virus spreads very efficiently by respiratory droplets from infected peoples’ exhalations – by coughing, sneezing, and breathing. As we go outside around Beverly this weekend, please be safe and thoughtful. Let’s all continue to keep each other and ourselves safe. Thank you.