BoH hears of plans for rat control

By Journal Staff

The Revere Board of Health held its regular monthly meeting this past Thursday, June 27,  in the City Council Chambers. Chair Dr. Drew Bunker and fellow member Kathleen Savage were on hand for the session, as were Director of Public Health Lauren Buck, Health Agent/Director of Inspectional Services (ISD) Michael Wells, and Board of Health Clerk Paula Sepulveda.

Buck presented the monthly Communicable Disease report.  She noted that the influenza and COVID numbers have decreased significantly, as would be expected in the summer months. She presented updates about seasonal items such as how to prevent deaths from extreme heat, noting that certain medications can increase the possibility of heat stroke. Other vulnerable groups include senior citizens, infants, those with chronic medical conditions, the very young, athletes who train outdoors, and those who are pregnant.

She noted that the Dept. of Health will be conducting a summer heat program every Monday through Thursday on the American Legion lawn from 12-3 that will offer free lunches for children and misters and water.

Buck warned citizens not to leave pets and infants in vehicles even on cool days or with a window cracked. Buck also reminded residents that Revere’s beaches have their water quality tested every Tuesday and that the city’s web page will post a banner alert when swimming is unsafe.

She finally noted that opioid-related deaths declined in Massachusetts by 10 percent in 2023 and the decline is continuing in 2024, though the same decline has not been seen in certain ethnic and racial groups. She also noted that Narcan boxes are located in seven locations throughout the city.

Wells presented the monthly summary of the ISD’s work during the past month. He noted that the department issued 45 Certificates of Fitness for residential dwellings, conducted 39 reinspections, and responded to nine interior complaints. In the food department, there were 42 routine food inspections, 10 reinspections, and four complaint inspections.

ISD agents issued 80 citations for the accumulation of litter, trash, and debris, 64 for improperly discarding of bulky items, 304 for improper placement of trash, and 161 for unclean or unsanitary land, which includes overgrowth of vegetation.

“Please make sure that your grass is maintained so as not to attract rodents to high vegetation,” said Wells. He also noted that yard sale signs cannot be posted on any public property, such as light poles.

The board heard from Nada Abou Hadiba, the city’s Community Outreach Liaison, and Yvonne Vu, a Data Analyst for the city, who made a presentation about the city’s rodent control program. Hadiba said that two companies have been hired to respond to complaints of rodents. Property owners who call 311 must sign a waiver and can expect an exterminator to come out within 14 days. She noted that through June 1, 327 property owners have signed the waiver.

Exterminators will treat burrows and place bait stations. There can be a maximum of six visits per property per year. Hadiba also noted that information about rodent prevention is available on the web site.

Vu presented some informative data, noting that through April, there have been 784 exterminator visits in the city, a level that is a sharp increase over 2023, but is consistent with 2022 levels.

Savage asked a question about how to distinguish between rabbit and rat burrows and was told that exterminators are able to do so if they come to your property. Savage also asked about dogs and exterminators, and was advised to keep dogs out of the yard when burrows have been treated (so that the dogs will not dig up the treated areas), though that is not a concern for bait boxes.

Bonny Carroll, the Director of the 6-City Tobacco Initiative, informed the board of a second violation of the laws forbidding the sale of tobacco products to minors by Shirley Ave. Variety at 65 Shirley Ave.. Carroll said the first offense occurred in March of 2022 when a clerk sold Marlboros to a minor and the second occurred on June 9 when a clerk sold a tin of Zin nicotine pouches to a minor.

Carroll recommended that the board impose the state-mandated fine of $2000 and a seven-day suspension of its license to sell tobacco products.

The owner of the establishment, who owns multiple convenience stores in the city and licenses to sell tobacco products, told the board, “This was a mistake. But it’s very hard. We did not intentionally sell cigarettes to a minor. But a violation is a violation.”

Buck suggested that in order to avoid another problem going forward, the business must check the ID of every potential buyer of a tobacco product. Although the owner asked the board to consider reducing the fine, the board voted to uphold the suspension and fine based on state law and the city ordinance.

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