MARION - Town Administrator James McGrail reports that the town of Marion has created a COVID-19 Command Team to evaluate town procedures and discuss precautionary measures for the respiratory disease COVID-19, or the “coronavirus.”

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the risk to residents of contracting the virus remains low, and the flu presents a higher risk to residents. At this time there are no confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in Marion.

The command team is a collaborative working group comprised of board of health and board of selectmen representatives, fire department representatives, the police chief and lieutenant, the town administrator and assistant town administrator, the school superintendent and additional school administration representatives, the health director and the public health nurse, along with representatives from Tabor Academy and Sippican Health Care, according to a press release.

The team convened for the first time Wednesday morning to discuss the current status COVID-19 in the United States, town procedures regarding illness and the precautionary measures town departments can take to prevent illness, such as providing hand sanitizer and effective cleaning and disinfecting processes.

Plymouth students and chaperones who went on a school trip to Milan over February vacation are being asked to stay home today (Thursday, March 5) and tomorrow after one of them was taken to the hospital last night after feeling ill.

Supt. Gary Maestas said the 17-year-old boy was released from the hospital this morning and does not have the flu.

Maestas said none of the other students or the chaperones is sick. None of the students at the host school in Italy and none of the host families for local students during their trip abroad are sick.

Plymouth Fire Chief Ed Bradley said paramedics used quarantine procedures to transport the student and alerted the hospital in advance.

Old Rochester Regional Superintendent Douglas White and Old Rochester Regional High School Principal Michael Devoll reported Wednesday that a group of students and staff have been asked to stay home for the remainder of this week after recently traveling to Italy.

The group of 15 students and three staff members were asked to stay home today, March 5 and Friday, March 6, in light of a recent update to traveling guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC is now advising travelers returning to the United States from any country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, which includes China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, to stay home for 14 days from their departure from that region and practice social distancing. This guideline retroactively includes the group of Old Rochester students and teachers.

The students returned from Italy on Sunday, Feb. 23. As they had traveled to the southern part of Italy, which was not part of the CDC travel restrictions at the time, the students and staff were able to return to school immediately after the trip.

The Old Rochester group will reach the mark of 14 days of departure from Italy on Sunday, March 8. No one from the group is currently believed to be presenting symptoms of the virus, and provided they remain asymptomatic through Sunday, they will be able to return to school on Monday.

The Marion COVID-19 Command Team will meet as needed as new information about COVID-19 becomes available and will provide the community with updates as necessary.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of noon Wednesday, there were 80 confirmed cases in the United States, with nine deaths. Currently, exposure risk remains low for individuals who have remained in the U.S. and who have not traveled abroad to countries where the virus has spread. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

The following website can provide additional information about the novel coronavirus in Massachusetts:

https://www.mass.gov/guides/information-on-the-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19

Coronavirus Q & A:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfmgTEIqIdNFQmVf7VgGzdjxUGWRXAIoGsf9xHQEoZCmmMhRA/viewform?usp=sf_link