Everett could be seeing a flattening of the curve in the reports of new COVID-19 cases, Public Health Nurse Sabrina Firicano said on Tuesday.
The city has a total of 399 confirmed cases as of Tuesday at noon, but that was a slowdown from the amount of new cases that she had received from over the weekend. She said she is optimistic that the trend could represent a slowdown of cases in Everett, even as surrounding cities like Chelsea and Revere seem to continue surging.
“Today’s number is up 28 confirmed cases from Monday,” she said. “We’re seeing a little bit of a decline though from yesterday in new cases. From Sunday to Monday I had 37 positive cases, but from Monday to Tuesday that was 28. It looks like we’re either flattening out or slowing down the amount of new cases. I’m hopeful that we may have reached our peak, but we can’t say for sure.”
Everett’s numbers have routinely been lower than surrounding cities of Revere and Chelsea throughout the pandemic. Early on, it wasn’t certain what the reason for that was, but now it has consistently stayed that way.
With 399 cases reported on April 14, that was substantially lower than Revere’s 454 cases reported on April 13, and Chelsea’s 541 cases reported on April 13. It is reported that five have died of COVID-19 in Everett now.
Firicano said there is a good chance numbers have been lower because of the quick action taken by Everett to be the first to shut down schools and City buildings – as well as being early to shut down non-essential services.
“I think the mayor and superintendent made a bold statement in quickly shutting down the schools, City Hall and non-essential businesses,” she said. “I’m not sure what Revere and Chelsea did, but I think in Everett we made a bold statement doing things right away…Our inspectors have also been very good about going around to businesses and making a big effort to let non-essential businesses know they cannot be open. I think all of that does play a big role in cases. It could also be testing or some other factor, but I can say shutting everything down quickly is probably why we are where we’re at now.”
She said the City has also been very vigorously enforcing social distancing and taking many measures to get that message out to all audiences.
That said, the numbers coming out of Chelsea – which is just next door – are alarming. That city has one of the highest rates of infection in the state, and there has always been a lot of cross-over between Everett and Chelsea.
Firicano said it is a concern, and they are monitoring that closely.
“The cases in Chelsea are a concern,” she said. “The Chelsea public health nurse and I have spoken regularly because we do he residents that work in Chelsea and live in Everett – and vice versa. We’ve been talking about that and watching the numbers and educating the patients that are confirmed – telling them they can’t go back to work until they’ve been cleared. We watched everyone in the house too so the first positive case in a house doesn’t infect everyone else and drive our numbers up.
“It is definitely a concern because they are right next door,” she continued.
Right now, Firicano and a team of School Nurses are monitoring patients in Everett remotely, quickly reaching out to them once confirmed and if they return from treatment at a hospital. They trace their contacts and try to help them limit exposure to others. Though the cases are growing, she said they are keeping up with the demand and assisting patients who might need extra help.
As things do begin to trend towards an opening, it isn’t likely that will be at the May 4 date will be the time to ‘flip the switch.’ Firicano said any opening would likely be gradual and would come after a great deal of assessment.
It will also be done with care.
“It really depends on what gets opened up and when,” she said. “You can’t turn on the switch and say everyone can go back to normal activities. When you open, it will be the appropriate time and still practicing social distancing and hand hygiene. It’s not a light switch you’ll just turn on and go back to before.”