Cases surge: Chelsea leaders plea for social distancing

Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino reported that confirmed cases in Chelsea have grown quickly to 17 cases, with many more likely being monitored who had contact with those folks.
That comes only one week after the City confirmed three cases, and as surrounding communities have reported anywhere from three to five cases this week. It has brought about an appeal by Ambrosino for residents to take precautions and listen to the advice for social distancing and staying at home.
“As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday we had 17 confirmed cases,” he said. “My comment to that is always that there are already probably more cases. You have to assume there are multiple times the number of people infected with the Coronavirus in Chelsea and every surrounding community. In some sense the numbers reported are irrelevant. We are at high risk in Chelsea given how densely people live and how crowded some of our housing units are. I would say that Chelsea is at high risk for the spread of the virus.”
That is the uneasiness that caused Ambrosino and the City to issue a phone alert on Monday to urge people to keep the proper distancing from one another.
“We’re trying our hardest to get the message out so that people absolutely understand to physically distance yourself from other people as much as possible,” he said. “It’s really just messaging because it’s dependent on voluntary compliance. We are not a police state. The National Guard is not patrolling the streets and we aren’t putting people in jail who do not comply. That would be counterproductive anyway given we’re telling people to stay away from one another. It is imperative right now that people comply.”
Ambrosino said it’s not the virus that scares the medical community, but the idea that so many could get it all at once – which would tax the health care system and prevent people from getting care.
“At some point, large numbers of people will get the virus,” he said. “But if it’s spread out over time, the health care industry can keep up with the cases. If everyone gets it at the same time, the health care system can’t handle that volume. It’s not that this virus is so dangerous that the health professionals are terrified of it. They’re terrified of the volume coming all at once.”
Right now, the City is convening every day at 4 p.m. for a conference call between department heads, public safety officials, non-profit leaders and medical professionals.
All of them are marshaling resources and bouncing ideas off of one another.
Ambrosino said they believe that the peak of infections will hit in three or four weeks.
“The expectation is there will be a lot of people infected over the next three to four weeks,” he said. “We’re far from the peak right now. We’re probably three to four weeks from the peak, we believe.”
•Volunteers Needed
Ambrosino called on all people who are healthy to volunteer for the efforts in Chelsea, no matter what one might have as their talent.
Anyone who wants to volunteer should call 3-1-1 Call Center and declare their interest in volunteering.
“3-1-1 is the connecting point for volunteers,” he said. “We will get you to volunteer in the right spot depending on your talents. It could be for deliveries, gathering supplies or even counseling people to make them feel better over the phone. There are all kinds of things that are needed right now.”

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