MA COVID19 Alert: Holiday gatherings increase the risk of COVID19 spread

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BOSTON (Mass.gov) – The COVID-19 Command Center will send out a message via the Everbridge Resident Connection Alerts MA System reminding residents of the serious risk that COVID-19 poses to the Commonwealth. This is the second message to be sent to residents using the Everbridge alert system. These alerts will appear as a phone call or text message. This alert will reach approximately 4.5 million phone lines, including cell and landlines.

The message will go out at 5 p.m. from Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH and will be sent in English and Spanish.

Residents can choose to receive future messages by text, email, or phone in their preferred language by opting in at mass.gov/covidalerts.

Thursday’s message will remind residents of the serious risk of COVID-19 spread over the Thanksgiving Holiday due to large family gatherings. The message will also inform residents that travel is discouraged and celebrating Thanksgiving with only immediate household members is the best way to protect themselves, their families and their communities. This message builds on the Command Center and the COVID-19 Enforcement Intervention Team’s (CEIT) efforts to ensure residents remain vigilant with COVID protections, particularly as the holiday season draws near. The Department of Public Health has put out tips for observing a safe Thanksgiving, which are available at mass.gov/Thanksgiving2020.

The CEIT continues to engage with high risk communities including a field program which has handed out over 336,000 flyers, 338,000 masks, 16,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, 350 large sanitizer stands at businesses and talked to hundreds of thousands of residents – urging them to mask up, stop hosting gatherings with extended family, be smart if they car pool and remain vigilant about the virus.

Phone message text:

This is Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Gathering with family and friends this holiday season increases your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays for me and my family with 20-plus people gathering from across the country. But not this year. None of us will be traveling and our households will celebrate over Zoom. I urge you to do your part to protect your loved ones. Private gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Visitors from high risk states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C. must quarantine for at least 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result. You should not gather with people outside of your household at this time. For more information visit mass.gov/holidays.

Text message text:

MAGov Urgent COVID19 Alert: Holiday gatherings increase the risk of COVID19 spread. To protect your family and to read new orders, visit mass.gov/holidays

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