Mayor Neil Perry wishes to provide the following statement in response to the state’s designation of Methuen as a high risk community for COVID-19.
“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has identified Methuen as a high risk community for COVID-19, which it does when communities surpass an average daily case rate of eight cases per 100,000 residents.
“The Inspectional Services Division is working closely with state officials, and has been continuously responding to complaints for violations of the large gathering and mask rules. The division also continues to work collaboratively with the Methuen Police Department to identify and disperse large private gatherings and outdoor events that are beyond the Governor’s permitted limitations.
“While we still consider fines and citations a last resort for enforcing appropriate public health actions, it may become essential to stop risky behaviors that are having a negative impact on our entire community. Large gatherings where mask-wearing and social distancing are ignored are especially concerning as they will contribute to the spread and will keep Methuen trending in the wrong direction.
“Without progress in the fight against COVID-19, we will need to reevaluate our approach to how we go about our daily lives. The Superintendent, School Nurse Leader, the city Board of Health, and I met yesterday as part of our established protocol to discuss the current data and the impact to school opening plans. Superintendent Kwong sent home a notice last night to inform parents of any changes to opening plans at this point, and we will continue to meet on this weekly.
“We also will be paying close attention to the data, which will inform further actions related to youth and adult sports and activities, additional requirements for our business community, restrictions on public and private gatherings and enforcement of mask requirements.
“We have not won the fight against COVID-19 by any stretch. In fact, we are on the precipice of the next phase of the fight, as life continues to return to the normalcy we enjoyed before this deadly pandemic reached our state and our city.
“That means that we need to enhance our efforts, rather than let our guard down. We must work both individually and as a community to ensure that we’re doing absolutely everything we can to eliminate the risk of COVID-19 in Methuen. This designation by the state is a clear indication that we have to work harder to bring this virus under control.
“Here’s what we know we need to do:
- Practice social distancing. Keeping 6 feet away from those outside our own households severely limits the virus’ ability to spread.
- Avoid taking part in large gatherings, and stay home as much as you can.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth face covering when out in public. Doing so prevents those who may be sick but not know it from spreading the virus.
- Get Tested. Methuen is fortunate to have ample access to free testing right here in our community, and every resident should be taking advantage of that resource. Getting tested, regardless of whether you feel ill or believe you may be sick, allows us to identify where the virus is in our community and keep it from spreading further.
“School, recreational activities and businesses are important elements of our way of life, but maintaining and enjoying those things are a privilege that comes with a shared commitment to limiting the spread of the virus and keeping our family, friends and neighbors safe. That is why I am calling on every person in Methuen to redouble their efforts to fight this virus.”
Free Stop the Spread testing is available in two locations in Methuen.
AFC Urgent Care, 380 Merrimack St.
- Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Those getting tested need to register in advance and schedule an appointment by visiting AFCUrgentCareMethuen.com.
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, 147 Pelham St.
- Monday-Friday: 3-6 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m to noon
Walk-ups are welcome. For more information call 978-685-7663.
Residents are urged to regularly check the city’s website at cityofmethuen.net, Facebook page at @methuenmassgovt and Twitter page at @cityofmethuen for regular updates about the status of the virus in the community.