FCS Diaper Drive, COVID-19 Care Kit Distribution Day, MHCE weighs in on MA reopening, & more | May 14, 2020

Tune in at 3pm every weekday on our Government Channel or Facebook page for an update from city officials. Past updates can be found by clicking here. At 2pm & 8pm we are also airing Gov. Baker’s press conferences.

See other COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.
See our running list of announcements for Lynn by visiting bit.ly/LynnCOVID19.


COVID-19 Care Kit Distribution Day this Saturday

The City of Lynn, in partnership with North Shore Medical Center, is hosting a COVID-19 Care Kit Distribution Day on Saturday May 16th from 9:00AM-2:00PM in the Lynn Tech Parking Lot.

The Drive-Up pickup entrance is at Neptune Boulevard and the walk-up entrance is from Blossom Street. Care Kits Include: masks, COVID-19 education material, sanitizer & personal care items.

 


Family & Children’s Service launches diaper drive campaign & hotline

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable families in North Shore cities, especially Lynn and Chelsea, are struggling to access basic necessities like food, cleaning supplies, and baby care items. Food pantries are helping to fill the critical need for food, but they do not provide baby essentials like wipes and diapers. In addition, residents are fearful of going to crowded distribution sites where they worry about contracting COVID-19.

To address this critical need, Family & Children’s Service is launching a Diaper Drive campaign from May 14th  to June 28th.  The campaign will rely on a hybrid of funding sources: individual cash gifts, diaper donations, business donations, and  United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley which has agreed to match every dollar that is donated up to $5,000. A Diaper Hotline will be established for families to request diapers and wipes by telephone and online. Family & Children’s Service staff and volunteers will then deliver baby care items directly to their doors. The goal is to supply 100 families each week with essential baby items.

According the National Diaper Bank, 1 in 3 U.S. families experience diaper need. Also, babies without clean diapers are exposed to more potential health risks and are less likely accepted to daycare centers, leaving parents unable to work.

Associate Director, Ruben Montano commented, “Three years ago we expanded our services beyond Lynn to include Chelsea and other harbor area communities. This pandemic has confirmed that our services indeed focus on the communities that are the most vulnerable. Both Lynn and Chelsea are experiencing high rates of COVID-19 infections and are in need of as much support as possible. Family & Children’s Service is trying to respond to this and we really need your help. We recognize that we will not be the only agency meeting this need, but with public support, we can make a difference.”

There are 4 ways that people can help:

  1. Donate money at fcslynn.org
  2. Donate diapers and wipes

Drop off hours at Family & Children’s Service 111 North Common Street, Lynn location are Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. from May 14th to June 24th. All sizes and brand of diapers and wipes are requested

  1. Volunteer to help receive diaper donations and deliver them to local families.

Contact sarcher@fcslynn.org for more information.

  1. Shop Amazon Smile and select a Wish List item to have shipped

 

About Family & Children’s Service:

Family & Children’s Service is a community-based nonprofit organization that supports underserved and socially vulnerable populations to build stable, productive, and healthy lives. We strengthen the life skills of families, children, and individuals of all ages through a range of programs offered directly or in collaboration with other organizations in our community.


From Mayor McGee’s office: The Lynn Public Health Department has confirmed that as of today, the number of active, confirmed positive COVID-19 cases is 2,165 with 22 new cases today. 660 Lynn residents have recovered and 79 have died. The total number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Lynn since March 21, 2020, including those who have died and recovered, is 2,904. The data including a breakdown of the ages of the active confirmed cases and deaths will be released once a week moving forward.

We will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 through the City website (www.lynnma.gov), social media, and the Smart 911 emergency notification system (sign up at www.smart911.com).


Docs and Health Experts Say Objective Measures and Hardest-Hit Communities  — not CEOs — Should Determine Ending Massachusetts’ Stay-At-Home Advisory

BOSTON, MA –  Physicians and nurses from dozens of leading Massachusetts hospitals and health centers are joining with community advocates to demand that science and equity guide Massachusetts’ plans to relax the public health safeguards that are currently in place.

As the May 18 deadline projected end of the stay-at-home advisory approaches, physicians employed by Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine, UMass Medical School, and many more, say that Governor Baker is risking thousands of lives by prematurely opening the Commonwealth, by packing his Reopening Advisory Board with CEOs, and by leaving out health experts and the essential workers who make our economy run.

The physicians and nurses have been joined by over 400 other healthcare professionals, public health and community leaders in issuing an open letter to Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders outlining three overarching recommendations to the Governor that they say will allow for the state to reopen safely. Originally known as Massachusetts Healthcare Workers for Equity, the expanding Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity (MCHE) has repeatedly called on Governor Baker to address the crisis of inequity that is sweeping Commonwealth, criticizing disparities in the crisis standards of care and emphasizing the importance of essential workers’ perspectives in plans to reopen the Commonwealth.

“Massachusetts residents have been waiting for two months to go back to work, and the economy needs to be restarted. But the conditions to do so safely are currently not in place. Residents of the Commonwealth should not have to choose between earning a living and protecting their lives,” said Dr. Regina LaRocque, a physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity (MCHE).

Massachusetts has suffered 5,108 deaths – higher than the death toll for all of Canada. Working people, many of them people of color, have been subject to the highest infection rates, the highest death rates and the greatest loss of jobs and economic security during the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts. These are the people who are most at risk as plans are being made to reopen the Commonwealth. Workplace regulations have been outlined in general terms, but no safeguards or oversight have been put in place to ensure that workers are, in fact, safe.

“A strong Massachusetts economy cannot be rebuilt on rising numbers of the dead, sick and disabled,” said Dr. Julia Koehler, a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a member of MCHE.

Testing in Massachusetts has not achieved the benchmark set by Governor Baker’s own advisors. The Massachusetts High Technology Council’s recent briefing to Governor Baker’s Reopening Advisory Board stated that sufficient testing would be indicated by a 3% positive test rate, but as of May 11 Massachusetts had a 14% positive test rate — indicating testing capacity is still too low and that there are still too many new infections.

The lack of sufficient testing capacity is dangerous in itself, but this deficiency is amplified by the lack of trust in affected communities. “People are scared to participate with contact tracing,” said Dr. Lara Jirmanus, a co-convener of MCHE, primary care physician in Revere and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The hardest-hit communities do not trust government agents enough to share details about their close contacts.”

The failure to control the pandemic in Massachusetts hardest-hit communities has deep roots. Over his six years in office, Governor Baker has signa led to undocumented workers that his administration collaborates with ICE, and he has linked policing for public safety to immigration enforcement. To date, the state has implemented insufficient measures to enable the infected to quarantine or shelter in place; low-income essential workers currently must choose between the risk of infecting others at work when they feel sick, or having food for  their children. A dangerous illusion is that continued viral transmission among low-income communities does not pose a risk to all communities in the state.

Conditions in the state’s nursing homes are also a concern to the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity. “The death toll among our state’s elders and residents of long-term care facilities is an affront to our humanity,” said Colin Killick, Executive Director of the Disability Policy Consortium and a member of MCHE. More than half of the dead in Massachusetts are nursing home residents, but staff at these facilities still lack the resources required to protect themselves and their patients. Nurses, patient care assistants and home health aides are not represented on the Governor’s Reopening Advisory Board.

“The people who are making the decisions about the path forward for our state are not the people most at risk,” said Dr. Henry Wortis, Professor of Immunology, Tufts University School of Medicine, one of the hundreds of medical professionals who have united through MCHE in recent days.  “It’s overwhelmingly business owners and politicians who live in affluent neighborhoods and suburbs.”

The Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity now calls on Governor Baker to place health experts at the forefront of the state’s reopening plans, to appoint representatives of affected communities to the decision-making team, and to provide evidence-based objective benchmarks to guide the reopening of the economy.

Importantly, as the state rolls back the safeguards currently in place, MCHE leaders advise Governor Baker to define a clear trigger for when we reverse course. Germany has successfully managed its coronavirus outbreak and has committed to reverse its re-opening for a trigger of 50 new infections over 7 days per 100,000 residents of a district.

Once Massachusetts has a 3% positive test rate, and once a threshold is in place for opening or re-closing, for example, below 50 new infections per week and 100,000 residents of a district, an equitable advisory board can provide ongoing recommendations that are necessary to proceed with safe and effective re-opening.

About Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity:

The Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity is a growing coalition of over 400 physicians, nurses, public health advocates, and community leaders united in their demand for a comprehensive and equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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