Dartmouth won’t reveal numbers after confirming first Covid-19 case

Mar 31, 2020

Covid-19 has come to Dartmouth, as the town confirmed its first positive case of the viral illness in a recorded video posted to the town’s website on March 25 — but officials won’t be revealing the number of cases in town going forward.

As of March 31, Massachusetts had 6,620 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 306 in Bristol County. 89 people have died as a result of the illness in the state so far.

Dartmouth’s Public Information Officer, Detective Kyle Costa, confirmed that the town will not be releasing the number of positive cases in the community, as per a March 27 Department of Public Health request.

“We report publicly on county basis,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders at a press conference on March 27. “Local boards of health know the individuals who have tested positive from their communities.”

“This is where we try to balance public health and individual privacy, to avoid people being bullied,” she added.

On March 24, CBS Boston had interviewed a woman in Dartmouth who tested positive for the illness, which is caused by a new, highly contagious coronavirus that is breaking out in a global pandemic.

Vanessa Anderson, a resident of Brooklyn, NY, told the local news outlet in a video call that she had moved her family to her father’s South Dartmouth home to escape the virus.

Anderson told WBZ-TV that they left the New York City outbreak hotspot because her daughter has diabetes — only to come down with symptoms themselves. 

CBS Boston reported that Anderson’s husband was the first to test positive, and Anderson herself has lost her sense of taste and smell. They have since spread Covid-19 to Anderson’s father and his wife, who are in their 70s.

The family is currently living in separate rooms and checking in with a family doctor daily through FaceTime, Anderson told the news outlet.

The Town of Dartmouth released a statement on March 26 asking seasonal residents and visitors coming in from New York to self-isolate at home for 14 days upon arrival in Dartmouth. 

This directive came at the same time as Governor Charlie Baker issued an order for all travelers arriving in Massachusetts to self-quarantine for 14 days starting on March 27.

The new rules are being displayed on posters at highway service plazas and other transportation hubs.

Visitors to Massachusetts are instructed not to travel here if they are displaying symptoms.

Health care and public safety workers and other designated essential workers are exempt from the new regulations.

Now that the virus is present in Dartmouth, Costa stated in the March 25 video announcing the first case, the town will engage additional public health nursing staff, among other DPH protocols.