Meals on Wheels Halts Deliveries Briefly After Two Drivers Test Positive for COVID-19

Joan Hatem Roy, chief executive officer of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, during a WHAV Open Mic Show appearance. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill and Lawrence residents who rely on Meals on Wheels were asked to use their supplied emergency meal pack as deliveries were temporarily halted when two drivers tested positive for COVID-19.

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore CEO Joan Hatem-Roy said Wednesday a volunteer delivery driver in Haverhill tested positive late on Oct. 15, and, in an unrelated case, a volunteer driver in Lawrence tested positive Monday morning. Both drivers, and all other drivers they had contact with, were asked to quarantine. She said, “no one went without a meal” and deliveries of five-day meal packs continued beginning Tuesday.

“The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and the people we serve is our priority, so out of an abundance of caution we have asked all our volunteer drivers in those communities to quarantine and talk to their health-care providers,” said Hatem-Roy.

All affected families were contacted. Despite the two positive cases, the agency said there is only “minimal opportunity” for any exposure to consumers.  In a statement, Elder Services said, “All of our volunteer drivers have been trained on COVID-19 contract precautions, wear masks at all times during contact with consumers and sanitize between deliveries. In most instances, the driver leaves the meal at the door after receiving verbal confirmation from the resident inside the home. In cases where there are mobility issues, the driver does enter the home briefly and leaves the meal inside, but do not have meaningful contact with the resident.”

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