Mayor: National Guard Helping with COVID-19 Testing at Haverhill Nursing Homes

Mayor James J. Fiorentini during a June 11, 2019 City Council meeting. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The coronavirus was again the primary topic of discussion at Tuesday night’s Haverhill City Council meeting, where the mayor discussed using the National Guard to help test at nursing homes.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini began with the latest statistics, noting there have been 219 cases of COVID-19 in the city and two deaths associated with the disease. He said he had spoken with Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday who told him this week would likely be the most critical yet and for that reason he emphasized the need to stay indoors as much as possible.

The mayor expressed particular concern about those living in nursing homes. He said, however, that conversations with the city’s public health nurse, Mary Connolly, have convinced him that everything is being done to protect these most vulnerable citizens.

“They’ve isolated the patients, put the patients who are ill in the hospital and they’re doing everything they can to protect the patients there. The National Guard will come in and do testing. They were at Penacook Place today and they will go in and they will test an entire floor. They’ll do mass testing or they will come in and they will test all of the staff, whatever is needed,” he told councilors.

Fiorentini also raised new rules the Board of Health has recommended about wearing masks whenever stepping outdoors.

“We strongly encourage everyone when they leave their house to wear a mask in public. The mask won’t protect you. It will protect everybody else and if everybody else is wearing a mask, then you’re protected too,” he said.

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