With COVID-19 Cases Increasing, Fiorentini Tells Council He Wants to Open Another Testing Site

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (WHAV News file photograph.)

As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, Haverhill is looking for ways to slow the spread and to open a new testing facility within the next week.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini broke down the numbers at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

“It’s been a very tough week. The nationwide post-Thanksgiving surge certainly trickled down to us here in Haverhill. Over the past seven days, we had 480 new cases in our worst week ever,” he said.

The mayor said contact tracing has shown that 210 of those infections are the result of family gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday and, once again, stressed the need for residents to practice social distancing and to wear masks whenever they go out.

The mayor went on to say there are currently 16 COVID-19 testing sites in the general area and he is hoping to get another site operational in Haverhill in the next few days.

“We’re working now with a group, Urgent Care AFC Methuen, to see if we can bring some more testing to the city and we hope to have that up and running within a week,” Fiorentini explained.

The mayor said the city is using what remains of federal Cares Act money it received earlier this year to fund the project but said that money dries up as of Dec. 30.

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker announced plans this week to roll back the state’s reopening plan as a result of the coronavirus increase. The roll back to step one of phase three reduces indoor capacity levels for facilities such as health clubs, arcades, stores and places of worship from 50 to 40 percent while outdoor events will be limited to no more than 50 people.

Fiorentini said, for the most part, the cutback will not affect Haverhill residents because the administration elected not to move to the next level several weeks ago as the city was on the cusp of moving into the red zone at the time.

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