Tuesday, December 8, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: 14 municipal leaders advocate rollback of -re-opening; MBTA sees rise in employees with COVID-19

From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin:  

Rollback of reopening is imperative amid new surge
"MASSACHUSETTS FINDS ITSELF in the eye of a storm. As municipal leaders, we have grown increasingly concerned as we see COVID-19 cases spiking across the state. In some communities we are already seeing the rising prevalence of this virus cause week-long turnaround times for COVID tests as contact tracers are unable to keep up with the sheer volume of new cases.  

We have been warned by medical and epidemiological experts for months that a winter surge is coming. Now our public health infrastructure is starting to show signs of strain and will be overwhelmed if we continue on the same trajectory. There is no mystery what follows these record case numbers: a severe rise in hospitalizations for people who require intensive care and a frightening number of lives lost.  

There is expert consensus that we are entering the most dangerous phase of the pandemic. But why accept the worst–case scenario as inevitable? In March, faced with an existential test as a society, we banded together and rose to the occasion. We found that with collective sacrifice and government action led by Gov. Baker, we were able to avoid the worst of what the catastrophe might have been.  

We face another defining moment today, and we know that we can once again rise to the occasion and do what is necessary to meet this extraordinary challenge. If we act now to reverse the trend of community transmission, we can minimize the toll of human suffering ahead of us. This will require targeted, temporary rollbacks of the state’s reopening plan, with a focus on reducing activities that are sources of transmission, especially those that allow for gatherings of people from outside our households. "

63 MBTA employees infected with COVID-19

"MBTA GENERAL MANAGER Steve Poftak said on Monday that 63 of the agency’s employees currently have COVID-19, up from 50 last Wednesday. 
Poftak said for every worker with COVID-19 there are usually two others affected, mostly because they came in contact with the infected individual and have to quarantine while they await the results of a test. “This begins to have workforce impact,” he said. 
Jeffrey Gonneville, the deputy general manager of the T, said the last time the T had 63 infections was during the first COVID-19 surge in April. The peak number then was about 108. 
To deal with the vacancies caused by the disease, Gonneville said the agency is slightly adjusting travel times on the T’s subway lines to free up employees who can be used to substitute for workers out because of COVID-19."
Continue reading the article online

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