Mayor Brian Arrigo saw the “alarming trends” in the city’s COVID-19 data and acted boldly and decisively.
At a press conference held Thursday near the COVID-19 testing site at Revere, Arrigo announced that he would be suspending all city-sponsored and sanctioned events until the data improves. Some of the major annual events include the Fall Festival, the Pumpkin Dash, and all adult recreational programming. Arrigo also addressed the topic of the Revere High graduation that had been scheduled for Aug. 11 and the start of the new school year (see related story).
The City of Revere has seen its daily new case average triple in recent weeks as testing has increased by 55 percent. The City’s positive test rate was above 6 percent for the second consecutive week, nearly triple the state’s one-week average. As of press time, Tuesday, Revere has been named a “hotspot” in the State of Massachusetts.
“We are here today, unfortunately, because we have been monitoring some increasingly concerning COVID-19 trends in the City of Revere and we are taking a number of immediate actions to do what we can to reduce further spread in our City,” said Arrigo. “These are not decisions that I made lightly but it is my job as mayor to act in the interest of our residents’ health and safety. We must do our part here to insure that our small businesses and others that are affected by a complete shutdown are not in jeopardy of losing any more valuable business. Our goal to roll back some things and prevent a massive, drastic closure.
“Effective immediately, the City of Revere will be suspending all city events and programming,” said Arrigo.
Dr. Nathalee Kong, chair of the Revere Board of Health and a physician at Mass General Hospital, said the City is at a critical time in its efforts to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
“Our contact tracing teams have been working since the beginning of this pandemic to identify trends and stay ahead of the curve. Recently, they brought to our attention a real-live example of just how quickly we can become overwhelmed by this pandemic.
Kong said a Revere resident “recently contracted the virus at work and they ended up infecting at least 20 family members and friends at various social gatherings.
“We know that individuals can become super spreaders through any number of gatherings, so we must limit our exposure to others as much as possible,” said Kong, who encouraged residents to get tested, wear a mask, and social distance.
Joan Quinlan, vice president of Community Health at Mass General Hospital said, “On behalf of Mass General, I want to congratulate Mayor Arrigo for making these difficult decisions. I think we all know what we have to do – wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance – but we need our leaders to be telling us this and to be modeling this for us and Revere is lucky to have a leader doing that for them. Mass General stands ready to help in any way for we can.”
Mary Cassesso, chief community officer at Cambridge Health Alliance, also spoke at the press conference.
“It is my pleasure to be here to support the mayor in his steady leadership and his vigilant measures,” said Cassesso. “We all have to support these measures. We have to be vigilant in supporting the mayor and his commitment to take seriously all of these measures for the safety of the families in Revere.”
City Council President Patrick Keefe supported the mayor’s decision. “It’s a really tough decision but those are the ones when you’re the chief executive of a city, those are the hard decisions you have to make with guidance from the people he surrounds himself with and the information that he’s getting on the COVID-19 cases.” said Keefe.
Following the press conference, Mayor Arrigo took a COVID-19 test at the RHS testing site.
Free COVID-19 Testing Site Opens at Revere Beach
The City of Revere’s Emergency Response Team continues to monitor impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and develop policies and procedures to maintain public health and safety for all in Revere. As of August 10, the Revere Board of Health has been notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health of 2,143 positive and probable cases of COVID-19 in the City of Revere. The City is averaging 13.9 new cases a day.
Mayor Brian Arrigo and the Revere Board of Health announced a second free COVID-19 testing site to operate at Revere Beach from August 10 – September 12 as part of the Baker-Polito Administration “Stop the Spread” initiative. Testing will be available Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 12-4 PM and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3-7 PM at the Markey Footbridge along Revere Beach Boulevard. No insurance, no identification and no appointment is required. Results are made available to the individual within 72 hours.
The City’s existing testing site at Revere High School, open since July 27, will continue to operate and has been an effective resource for many. To-date, that site has administered more than 2,700 tests, with a positive test rate of 2.49%. Fifty percent of individuals tested have been Revere residents with the remaining tests provided to individuals from surrounding communities.
“Widespread testing and contact tracing is the best tool we have to stop the spread of the virus. We’ve chosen one of the highest traffic locations in the city for this second site because we want to test as many people as we can,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “This is a true partnership with the Baker Administration, DCR and the Massachusetts State Police and we know it’s going to have an impact, in particular in helping us identify asymptomatic individuals before they go on to spread the virus throughout the community. I’m encouraging everyone to take advantage of this free resource, especially if you feel you may have been exposed to the virus.”
Residents are reminded that if they test positive for COVID-19, to please answer the call when contacted by the Community Tracing Collaborative or Revere Board of Health. Any individual who needs a safe place to isolate can call (617) 367-5150 to access an isolation and recovery site at no cost.