COVID-19: Social Security Offices Remain Closed; Where Things Stand in the Merrimack Valley

Holy Family Hospital, Haverhill campus.

Essex County, as of yesterday’s reporting by the state Department of Public Health, has 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The number contributes to the state’s new total of 646 cases and five deaths.

The Department said three men—two in their 70s from Hampden and Berkshire counties and a third man in his 90s from Suffolk County—died from COVID-19-related illness. Earlier deaths were a man in his 80s from Suffolk County who had been hospitalized and had pre-existing health conditions and a woman in her 50s from Middlesex County who had a pre-existing condition.

As of yesterday, in New Hampshire, 78 people have been confirmed as suffering from COVID-19—28 of them from neighboring Rockingham County.

The Cities of Haverhill and Methuen both reported yesterday each community has two new cases residents living with COVID-19.

In Haverhill, officials say, the two residents are staying home in compliance with protocols put in place by Massachusetts public health officials. Mayor James J. Fiorentini said they are being monitored by Haverhill Public Health Nurse Mary Connolly following state guidelines. The mayor said family members and others who have been in close proximity are also being tested.

In Methuen, Mayor Neil Perry said the two people there have been isolated. He also announced plans to issue a daily report of Methuen residents impacted by COVID-19. The data, which will be released by the Methuen Board of Health at approximately 5 p.m. each day, will be based on the official reporting to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Names of individuals were not released for privacy reasons.

Haverhill’s count does not include Director of Health and Nursing Services Katie Vozeolas, who does not live in the city. Vozeolas reported Friday she tested positive for COVID-19 and has only mild symptoms and is resting at home.

Vozeolas was in WHAV’s studios last Tuesday for a live, on-air interview. The radio station was informed early Friday night and its studios and offices will be closed Monday for cleaning. Staff is working remotely until further notice.

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, which plans to open a center in Haverhill this summer, also reported Friday a worker at its South Clinical Site, 73D Winthrop Ave., Lawrence, has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member has been quarantined and other members of that team were also quarantined and undergoing testing. The South Clinical Site was closed until it is professionally cleaned by a Department of Health-sanctioned cleaning company. The Health Center is asking patients and members of the community to call the Center before visiting. The number is at 978-686-0090.

All local Social Security offices remain closed to the public for in-person service. The federal agency suggests residents go online to apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits; check the status of an application or appeal; request a replacement Social Security card; or print a benefit verification letter.

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