Rates Continue to Climb in Chelsea, as Cases Soar over 600 This Week

The numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chelsea continue to climb higher and higher this week, with a supposed infection rate of well over 100 per 10,000 residents – the highest rate in the state and hovering around rates seen in hard-hit areas of New York City.

On April 14, the City reported there were 618 cases in Chelsea, with 154 patients having recovered. There were 23 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the City as of April 14.

“It is true that Chelsea has the highest rate of contagion in the Commonwealth,” said Ambrosino. “The best advice I can give to the residents is stay at home unless you have essential reason to travel.”

This week, Chelsea took more strict measures when it came to wearing masks, making it mandatory to have a face covering even if going to the grocery store. Anyone who works in an essential business must have a face covering over their nose and mouth. Also anyone visiting an essential business, such as a grocery store, must have a face covering over their nose and mouth when they enter the business.

Under the City order, stores can actually stop one from entering if they aren’t wearing a face covering. Individuals also must keep a six-foot social distance in those businesses or at work, or they can also be removed.

“The City of Chelsea has the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in the state,” read a City statement. “We must do everything we can to keep everyone in our community safe. Because even people with no symptoms can still carry COVID-19 and infect others, it is a top priority right now that everyone wear masks or face coverings.”

One hot spot in Chelsea has been the Soldiers’ Home, where cases and deaths continue to mount. As of Wednesday, there had been 12 veteran resident deaths, with eight of them positive for COVID-19 and four negative.

There are 23 veteran residents with COVID-19 confirmed cases and 216 veteran residents that have tested negative for the virus. There are 49 staff who have had a positive COVID-19 test.

A spokesman for the Home said all residents had been tested, and their results received. Those who are positive have been isolated and their health is being monitored closely. The Home is also beginning to accept veteran residents back into the Home who had tested positive. They have all been medically cleared to return to the facility, but will stay in a dedicated ward where they will be monitored for any setbacks.

Additional isolated wards have been created for veteran residents who have tested negative, but appear to have symptoms.

Staffing levels continue to be monitored closely by the Chelsea clinical command and they are being augmented by recently established contracts with six agencies to fill open slots with contract staff. As staff testing results are returned, there are currently 42 staff who have tested positive and are therefore quarantined and out from work. Existing staff are being provided emotional support through the Employee Assistance Program.

Families can request updates on their loved ones by contacting the Home at  HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” \t “_blank” [email protected]

The climbing rates among low-income, communities of color, low-wage workers and those in nursing homes has underlined and shone a light on inequities that exist in society, Ambrosino said.

He said it has never been more clear how unfair things are in the country, particularly in places like Chelsea.

“I think there’s no question this pandemic has shined a very, very harsh spotlight on the inequities that exist in American society right now,” he said. “This pandemic has underscored the things that people in low-wage jobs, who are low-income and live in crowded conditions in places like Chelsea, Lawrence and Brockton face all the time. These are the people who are keeping this system running now. The grocery clerks, the food distributors. These people are doing essential work and provide work that keeps everyone going and they get by on dirt pay in when the economy is going well. They are essential now and are a group at a very high risk.”

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