Massachusetts’ top health official has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel confirmed Friday night that she received the results earlier in the day.
“As the public health commissioner and an essential state employee, I have been vigilant about practicing social distancing from my colleagues and members of the public,” Bharel said in a statement. “My symptoms so far have been mild. I have notified my appropriate close contacts and will rest and recuperate at home, while continuing to carry out my work responsibilities remotely”
Bharel was tested Thursday night. She has been working closely with Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials as the Bay State has responds to the ongoing pandemic.
Baker released this statement Friday night: “Lt. Governor Polito and I wish Dr. Bharel a speedy recovery and are glad she is recuperating at home. Dr. Bharel is doing exactly what everyone should be doing, which is staying home if you feel sick and taking this virus very seriously.”
NBC10 Boston has reached out to Baker’s office about whether he needs to isolate himself as well, given his contacts with Bharel.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced visitors to the state must now self-quarantine for 14-days amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The offices at the Department of Public Health will be cleaned thoroughly this weekend, Bharel said.
“I hope everyone will continue to take seriously the threat of COVID-19,” she added.
More than 3,200 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus across Massachusetts, with 35 coronavirus-related deaths confirmed so far, the Department of Public Health said Friday.
Top officials have not been immune to COVID-19 as the pandemic has spread around the globe. On Friday morning, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he tested positive.
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