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Lynn matches single-day high with 196 new virus cases

LYNN — Lynn matched its previous single-day record Wednesday, with 196 new coronavirus cases reported over a 24-hour period. 

The increase matched the same single-day high that was seen Dec. 9, a record that city officials attributed to the post-Thanksgiving surge.

Two additional deaths were also reported to bring the city’s death toll to 156. Lynn has 11,322 cases, 1,958 of which are active and 9,208 people have recovered from the virus, according to city data. 

This time, Public Health Director Michele Desmarais said the significant spike is likely due to people gathering for pre-holiday parties and events, noting that post-Christmas numbers will probably not start showing up until Jan. 8, 9 or 10. 

Case numbers have been spiking in the city since Thanksgiving, culminating with Wednesday’s record-matching number, and Desmarais anticipates another large surge stemming from the Christmas holiday. 

“I think until the middle of January, we will see big numbers of positive cases,” said Desmarais. “People are not listening. People obviously got together. When they got together they stayed more than 15 minutes. 

“They might have not been wearing their masks, (and they were) sharing drinks, sharing food and not social distancing.” 

Desmarais said she has been trying to advise residents about the dangers of the virus and the importance of following COVID-19 protocols since March, but nobody is listening to that advice. 

In some cases, she said people are “non-believers” when it comes to the existence of the virus, but in some instances, people are simply experiencing COVID fatigue and are tired of following the recommended restrictions. 

Both instances result in people venturing out of their homes after they have been tested for the virus, which potentially exposes other people. And while the city has been continuing its contact tracing efforts, infected people are not often truthful about their close contacts or simply hang up the phone when they hear from city health workers, Desmarais said.

“People are tired of this,” said Desmarais. “People are tired of COVID-19 and not seeing their families and not being able to (go to) social gatherings and just not being able to have a normal routine, but we will never have a normal routine. 

“I think now if we let our guard down, which obviously we have, more and more people are getting confirmed positive.” 

Citing the rising case numbers, Desmarais anticipates the city’s rollback to Phase 2, Step 2, of the state’s economic reopening plan — which went into effect on Dec. 18 — will remain in place until after Jan. 6, the date that she and Mayor Thomas M. McGee are scheduled to determine the necessity of the rollback based on the post-holiday case numbers. 

“We still need to keep Lynn residents safe,” said Desmarais. “And we all need to be considerate of each other by wearing a mask, social distancing and staying in. A vaccine will be available and there is a light at the end of all this but the way that we’re going, it’s difficult to see.”  

All COVID-19 testing sites will be closed in Lynn on Thursday and Friday for the holiday. 

New virus cases were also reported in Lynnfield, Peabody, and Revere on Wednesday. 

Lynnfield (673 cases, 19 deaths) reported 14 new cases, Peabody (4,050 cases, 230 deaths) reported 143 new cases and two additional deaths, and Revere (6,820 cases, 121 deaths) reported 159 new cases. 

Numbers remained the same in Nahant (133 cases, six deaths) and were not updated in Marblehead, Saugus or Swampscott. 

As of Monday, Marblehead had 653 cases and 31 deaths, Swampscott had 550 cases and 11 deaths, and Saugus (2,138 cases, 48 deaths) has not provided updated numbers since last Thursday. 

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