November 9, 2020
Mayor Donna D. Holaday
November 3 Election: I’d like to start by thanking City Clerk Richard Jones and his staff in the Clerks Office, the Board of Registrars, and all of our election and poll workers on facilitating a smooth election locally in such unprecedented times. Thank you all for your hard work and diligence. I’d also like to thank all the residents who came out and exercised their right to vote. 82% of our our local electorate voted.
COVID-19 Update: In the last few weeks we’ve witnessed a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases . On October 29th the state designated Newburyport as a high risk, red community but adjustments by the State last week moves Newburyport into a lower risk community. We currently have 37 active cases with a total of 220 cases to date.
Our Health Department continues to monitor active cases in Newburyport. Whenever a resident tests positive for COVID-19, the state notifies the Newburyport Health Department through the MAVEN Public Health Surveillance system. A Board of Health Official will then immediately reach out to the infected resident to confirm that they and their household are under quarantine and home isolation for a period of 14 days. They will then conduct contact tracing to determine when and where the individual may have contracted the virus, as well as determine whether others may have been in close contact with the individual since becoming infected. Our Health Department team will also periodically check in on households with positive cases to monitor their quarantine as well as reach out to the household when it’s safe to break quarantine.
We have asked residents who have tested position or if someone in their household tests positive for COVID-19 to proactively reach out to our Health Department to begin the quarantine and contact tracing process. We ask that all contacted be honest and forthright with our contact tracers.
Also, with the increase in recent cases, we have received many inquiries from concerned residents wanting information on the active cases in our community, including locations. By law, we cannot and will not share information on the active cases in our community, including locations, to the public. What we do share is that the virus is not in just one neighborhood or one sector, but all around us. Currently our Health Department has not determined a trend in our active cases as far as a specific sector. We can say that many cases are occurring through family contact within the household. Either parents or their children are becoming infected and bringing it home. That’s why it’s so important that we all do our part and follow the CDC and state guidelines and make smart decisions to limit the spread of the virus.
In-person learning opportunities was increased last Monday, November 2, for high school students. Our Board of Health and school nurses are working closely together whenever there are confirmed cases of students or staff. The school nurses have full authority to conduct contact tracing within the schools and community, and it’s important that everyone cooperates with our nurses and local public health officials if they are contacted by them during contact tracing. We have also brought on additional staff members in the Health Department to help with our contact tracing. These are part time temporary positions funded through our CARES Act funding.
Berm and Revetment Project with Rail Trail at Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF): The project is currently out to bid and an onsite pre-bid meeting was held today. Bids are due on November 17th and the project is still on schedule to break ground over the winter.
Safe Routes to School High Street Project: The project continues to progress. The contractor, Pacella, and its sub contractors will continue work through November and into December (weather permitting) on sidewalks, curbing, and driveway approaches. The project will then pick up in the spring with milling and paving of the roadway and final landscaping.
Complete Street Parker and State Streets Project: Our contractor Aqualine has commenced construction. They anticipate to make progress this month prior to shutting down for the winter, including completing drainage and curbing work, as well the foundation work and the assembly of the new mast arm for the HAWK signal. The work on the rail trail and final paving for the roadway and trail will occur in the spring.
Town of Newbury MassTrails Grant: The Board of Selectmen in Newbury voted unanimously for the Town to apply for a MassTrails grant to design the Parker St gap in the Rail Trail within the Town of Newbury. Thank you Project Manager Geordie Vining for facilitating this and getting the Town’s process going.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Alliance: I am happy to announce the members of our new DEI Alliance. We had a large pool of applicants with impressive qualifications. I envision the Alliance organizing greater opportunities for more of our residents to become involved in race and equity issues and we hope that all our applicants stay involved in our community’s efforts. It is important to hear the voices of our citizens.
The DEI will be meeting as a group starting in December. Tina Los in Youth Services will serve as the staff coordinator for the alliance. Thank you to Tina, as well as Dr. Ibrahim, Chair of the Human Rights Commission and Chief of Staff Matt Coogan for helping structure the Alliance and review applications.
The 24 members of the DEI are:
|Richard Banks||Donna Devlin||Myr. Donna Holaday||Cllr. Heather Shand|
|Jessica Baylor||Sandhya Douglas||Dr. Ahmer Ibrahim||Melissa Sills|
|Prince Boateng||Andrea Egmont||Martino||Dianne Steimel|
|Rev. Rebecca Bryan||John Feehan||Ayele Mazurane||Marianne Vesey|
|Frank Cousins||Spt. Sean Gallagher||Mshl. Mark Murray||Elizabeth Wilcoxson|
|MaryRose DeLorey||Jessica Harrington||Carol Sanchez||Sharon Woodard|