Gloucester's top official is urging families to rethink their Thanksgiving traditions

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and city public health director Karin Carroll also are urging anyone, including college students, traveling to the city to visit family for Thanksgiving to get tested for COVID-19 and follow the state's travel guidance.

"Cases here in Gloucester, and state-wide, have been rising in large part because of gatherings of families and friends," said Romeo Theken when announcing the city's latest COVID-19 case numbers Friday. "Additionally, our most recent wastewater testing shows virus levels much higher than in the past. This is very concerning as we head into the holiday week."

As of Friday morning, the status of cases in the City of Gloucester was 523 overall cases — 466 confirmed and 57 probable — including 51 active cases. On Wednesday, there were 460 confirmed cases and 48 active cases. There have been 26 COVID-19 related deaths among the city's residents while 444 patients have recovered. 

"This year, more than ever, I am thankful that we have active and caring citizens," the mayor said. "As we look toward the Thanksgiving Holiday please rethink your normal traditions. We can’t let our guard down.

Sh asks residents to consider:

• Limiting in-person holiday gatherings to only people you live with or with whom you are regularly in contact.

• Wearing a mask unless eating or drinking.

• Not sharing food, drink, or any utensils.

• Keeping visits with those in your “bubble” short; gatherings that last longer pose more risk. 

"Everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19," Romeo Theken said in a prepared statement. "We can only reduce the spread of this virus if everyone keeps following the proper guidance and being responsible. Please, if you're traveling to or from the city, do so in adherence to public health guidance and expectations."

The Gloucester Health Department is urging all college students returning to the city for Thanksgiving break to take advantage of any testing opportunities at their school or seek out testing opportunities on their own. Anyone awaiting COVID-19 test results is advised to quarantine until they have received their results.

Families picking up students at college only need to get tested under the state's travel order for COVID-19 and/or quarantine if they stay overnight. If they pick a student up on campus and immediately leave, they are exempt.

Anyone traveling for the holiday is encouraged to get tested. COVID-19 testing is free through the state's Stop the Spread Program, and the nearest testing site is in Salem. More information about the Stop the Spread Program may be found at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread.

Massachusetts travel restrictions require that anyone visiting Massachusetts from states other than Hawaii or Vermont either quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or produce a negative PCR test result from a sample taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Visitors from Maine or New Hampshire arriving after 12:01 a.m. this Saturday, Nov. 21, are subject to quarantine and testing restrictions. All travelers arriving from states designated as high risk by the commonwealth, including Massachusetts residents returning home, must also fill out a travel form. More information may be found at https://bit.ly/3pLuqqN

Anyone who fails to follow the state's travel expectations may face a fine of up to $500 per day they remain in the state.

"It's important that residents remember that the Maine and New Hampshire have been removed from the low risk list of states for travel to Massachusetts," Gloucester public health director Karin Carroll said. "It's no secret that many of our community members have family and friends who live throughout New England. Please, follow the state guidance and observe the Thanksgiving holiday responsibly, given the rise in COVID-19 cases we are seeing locally, statewide and nationwide." 

Here are the latest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases on Cape Ann, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and municipal officials:

Gloucester: 466 confirmed cases Friday, up six from Wednesday, when 18,013 residents had been tested. At least 26 residents have died from COVID-19 and 444 had recovered as of Friday.

Rockport: 105 confirmed cases Wednesday, up four from Monday, and 3,901 residents tested. As of Monday, forty-four of the confirmed cases were among residents of long-term care and congregate living facilities. Seventy-six residents among the 105 who have contracted the coronavirus had recovered as of Monday. At least 14 residents have died of the virus.

Essex: 32 confirmed cases Wednesday, the same as Nov. 11, and 1,889 tested.

Manchester: 39 confirmed cases Wednesday, up three from Nov. 11, and 3,132 tested.

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