A New Bedford resident has tested positive for COVID-19, Mayor Jon Mitchell announced today.

"New Bedford now has its first presumptive positive test for Coronavirus, and the individual is now self-quarantining and we hope for a speedy recovery," Mitchell said this morning on Twitter.

At a subsequent press briefing, Mitchell confirmed that a male individual tested positive for the disease at a Southcoast Health medical facility, and contracted the virus via community transmission. The mayor declined to give further details, citing HIPAA concerns.

The news comes one day after Mitchell ordered all personal care businesses – hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, barbershops, and massage parlors – closed. The city's full guidance is available on the city's website.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts now stands at 525, up from 413 on Friday. There are now 14 confirmed cases in Bristol County, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

New Bedford healthcare facilities are continuing to prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases, Mitchell said.

Southcoast Health, with its hospitals in New Bedford, Fall River and Wareham, recently procured 500 more coronavirus test kits from the state, he announced. Previously, the hospital group only had 200.

"We will see many more positive cases in New Bedford," the mayor said. He remarked that just because Bristol County is not yet showing the numbers seen in Boston or New York does not mean that people should be complacent.

"The virus is coming. It's already here," said Mitchell. "We have to be disciplined."

Mitchell repeated that all members of the community must practice social distancing and good hygiene to lessen the rate of transmission of COVID-19. Some old habits -- such as hugging, shaking hands, or even letting children play together in large groups -- must be broken for now, he said.

"Just say no," said the mayor. "And you've got to say no to your kids, too."

The mayor said that communities across the state are concerned about hospital capacity and the availability of medical equipment, including masks, should the disease surge.

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