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COVID-19 Update for March 24; 19 Positive Cases

For Immediate Release: 3/24/2020 5:35 pm

The City of Worcester has released the following COVID-19 update for March 24:

  • There are 3 new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the City of Worcester. There are now 19 overall confirmed positive cases in Worcester. All 19 individuals are being monitored by the Worcester Division of Public Health and are in isolation.

  • Individuals that have been tested and received a positive result, regardless of where they were tested, MUST call their Department of Public Health and report it to a Public Health Nurse. Worcester residents can call WDPH at 508-799-8531.

  • Today, the Baker-Polito Administration filed An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and School Districts Resulting from COVID-19, which would provide administrative relief to state and local government entities impacted by COVID-19, including modifying local permitting processes, enabling municipalities to extend tax and finance deadlines, and extending deadlines for certain education requirements.

  • The City Manager visited the Worcester Police Department today where he was briefed on plans and protocols relating to impacted police officers and how the City can ensure continuity of operations. He was also briefed on protocols relating to the cleaning of vehicles.

  • Several working groups and task forces, made up of City personnel, social service agencies and members of the faith-based and business sectors, have been established to help address varied needs. Caring for the public in a time of crisis requires partnership and collaboration to ensure the necessary resources and assistance is delivered to those in need, especially those in our most vulnerable populations. Working groups include: Housing, Elder Affairs, Food Security, Volunteerism, Well-Being and Mental Health and Worcester Together.

  • The Cannabis Control Commission has issued a cease and desist order to all adult-use marijuana operators effective at 12 p.m. today, and lasting until 12 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. This order does NOT apply to medical marijuana operations.

  • The Worcester Regional Transit Authority is taking several steps in dealing with the COVID-19 virus to protect employees and passengers: All buses are cleaned, disinfected and aired out on a daily basis. Each bus posts recommended passenger practices for social distancing in selecting seats. The Hub Lobby/Customer Service window is restricted to 10 people at a time. Public restrooms at the Hub have been closed and the Dunkin Donuts’ at that facility has been closed indefinitely. The cleaning/disinfecting schedule at the Hub has been increased and each bus is equipped with a driver protection shield. The driver space, fare boxes and fare card processing equipment are disinfected daily. Personal protection equipment and sanitizing wipes/lotions are available to all drivers. The current fare-collection system employed by the WRTA minimizes driver-passenger contact. Drivers do not make change, and there is no contact between drivers and passenger in fare collection. There has been a decrease in ridership that will require changes to scheduling and availability of buses but the WRTA will be providing additional information on any changes in the coming days.

  • City of Worcester  first responders are taking advantage of priority testing that has been set up by the federal government. A total of 26 first responders were tested today.

  • To donate to the Worcester Together fund, please visit the City of Worcester COVID-19 page at: worcesterma.gov/coronavirus. Berkshire Bank donated $50,000 to the fund today. A text line has been established for donations. Text “worcestercovid19” to 243725, then click on the link you’re sent and follow the instructions to donate.

  • Through the Worcester Senior Center, the City has made outreach to 759 seniors to date. A total of 135 outreach phone calls were made to seniors today. A total of 1,387 meals were delivered to seniors today in Worcester by Elder Services of Worcester Area.

  • The City of Worcester COVID-19 information line can be reached at 508-799-1019. This service is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Albanian. We have an option for individuals to speak live with a nurse, Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm. The line has received more than 1,600 calls with more than 160 connected to a live nurse.

  • Daily media briefings will continue at 5 p.m. everyday at City Hall.

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