City Council discusses the testing of first responders for coronavirus

Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti’s motion about the testing of Revere’s first responders for coronavirus drew considerable discussion at Monday’s City Council meeting.

While acknowledging that there is a shortage of medical testing kits, Visconti said, “I do feel that once they [the testing kits] become available, that testing for all first responders should be required. They are on our front line and we need to anything possible to keep them safe, keep our residents safe, and keep them from spreading the virus amongst themselves.”

Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo, a registered nurse, also noted the lack of testing kits. “My understanding is that some [police and fire] departments are doing the symptomatology, whether they have a fever or so forth – if they’re presenting, then they’re going to tell that person to stay home and self-quarantine, if that’s the issue.”

Mayor Brian Arrigo commended Visconti for the motion, adding that he had spoken with healthcare providers “who are looking to do exactly what Councillor Visconti’s motion” is trying to accomplish – which is to get Revere first responders and emergency medical personnel tested as soon as possible.

“There are still some details to be hashed out, but this is something that is on everybody’s radar and something that we want to make sure can be done,” said Arrigo. “There will be conversations and I will keep you all in the loop on those conversations.”

Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito asked for a clarification in the wording of the motion that calls for “eliminating the initial screening process for first responders so they could take the test immediately.”

Visconti explained that there are certain criteria that “in order to get tested, you have to have certain symptoms.”

“I would like to alleviate that and just get everyone tested when testing becomes available,” said Visconti.

Rotondo expressed his belief that the intent of Visconti’s motion was, “what he [Visconti] is asking to eliminate is the symptoms – if someone has a fever, if someone has a cough, to go and get them tested immediately to prevent further spread and protect and enhance the availability of staff.

“They are using symptoms in order to dictate who is going to get a kit,” added Rotondo.

Addressing the matter, Council President Keefe said, “I think everyone is trying to achieve the same goal and that’s nice to see. I think this motion requires more conversation.”

Keefe then called for a vote – which passed unanimously – for the matter to be brought before Mayor Arrigo’s Office so it can be discussed further with public safety officials. 

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