The Winthrop Town Council met on Dec. 21, where it discussed what DPH Director Meredith Hurley called “a massive surge” in COVID-19.
Cases of COVID jumped from 81 to 158 in the two weeks leading up to the meeting, bringing the town’s percent positive rate to 5.2. Council Pres. Phil Boncore noted that the last time the rate was that high “we closed down the town.”
The Winthrop Board of Health issued an advisory urging residents to wear masks when indoors. With the upcoming New Years holiday, town officials encouraged residents to celebrate sensibly.
“We are in dire straits. You need to protect yourself, the people around you and even strangers,” said Pres. Boncore. “Enjoy yourself but please be aware that COVID is on the rise. Avoid kissing and hugging.”
“Drive down these numbers, get your boosters,” added Town Manager Terence Delehanty.
“Try to be careful and do the right thing,” urged Bill Schmidt, Chair of the Winthrop Board of Health.
Testing sites were scaled back when it appeared the pandemic was waning. Test kits are sold out in most retail locations. However, Winthrop received over 5,000 free tests to distribute to needy families. It is working on delivering those tests to food pantries, daycares and houses of worship.
The town’s volunteer-run vaccine clinics will not resume until the New Year. However, residents can receive vaccines at various out-of-town locations, such as the Chelsea Senior Center.
Outgoing Council Pres. Boncore, Councilor Peter Christopher, and Councilor Richard Ferrino all received citations for their service to the Winthrop Town Council. The men received praise and thanks from their colleagues and community members, and posed for photographs.
The Council voted unanimously to name Winthrop’s new dog park after community advocate Michael McDuffee, who passed away in 2019. There will be a dedication and a groundbreaking in the spring once the ground thaws.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Member John Morgan urged residents to clear and salt their walkways once the snow comes to make them safer for all pedestrians and not just the handicapped.
The Town has collected almost $700,000 in trash fees since the fee went into effect. It is monitoring its waste tonnage, and reports 50 tons (100,000 pounds) less waste than the previous year.
Town Manager Delehanty is pushing for the regionalization of the Winthrop Ferry, and hopes to develop a solution before the next season commences.
Midyear budget reviews are underway, and so far all town departments appear to be operating in the black.
The next meeting of the Winthrop Town Council will be on Wednesday, January 5, and not Tuesday, January 4.
There will be a swearing-in ceremony for all elected officials on Jan. 5 at 6pm at the Senior Center.
A special election for State Senator will be held on Jan. 11. A District-Wide election for the Northeast Vocational School will be held on Jan. 25. Precincts 1, 2 and 5 will vote at the Winthrop Gymnasium on Pauline Street. Precincts 3 and 6 will vote at the Senior Center, and Precinct 4 will vote on Golden Drive.
Check the Town’s website for holiday hours.