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ANOTHER VIRUS RECORD IN LYNN: 191 NEW CASES

BY GAYLA CAWLEY| December 3, 2020

LYNN — For the second straight day, Lynn has set a record for coronavirus cases reported in a 24-hour period.

Lynn reported 191 new cases on Thursday, which easily broke the high the city reported a day earlier, when 169 cases were reported, according to city data.

Before this week, the previous one-day high had occurred on Nov. 18, when 117 new cases were reported.

Public Health Director Michele Desmarais said she is “so discouraged” by the skyrocketing case numbers over the past two days, which appear to be connected to social gatherings held last week for Thanksgiving.

Ahead of the holiday, Desmarais, Mayor Thomas M. McGee, and medical professionals had advised people against gathering with friends and family outside of their households.

“People had Thanksgiving dinner together — no masks, no social distancing and they went outside of their household,” said Desmarais. “The contact tracing is showing that it’s all related to social gatherings.

“This virus is very dangerous and very contagious. For everyone’s own personal safety and that of their loved ones, I encourage everyone to follow the protocols. As we can see from the case numbers, consideration for each other is not being followed.”

Desmarais said she was hopeful that people would follow the COVID-19 protocols outlined by the city’s public health division, McGee and Gov. Charlie Baker before the holiday season. Although she anticipated a surge after Thanksgiving, she did not expect the numbers to be so high in the city, she said.

“I’m so discouraged,” said Desmarais. “From these high numbers, everyone can see how social gatherings cause this virus to just be spread everywhere. It’s only the start of the holiday season and there are more holidays coming, more opportunities for ‘social gatherings’ and the risk is much too big right now.”

With the 191 new cases reported on Thursday, the city’s caseload has climbed to 8,064. Of that total, 1,391 cases are active, 134 people have died, and 6,539 have recovered from the virus, according to city data.

As of last Friday, the state Department of Public Health reported Lynn’s positive test rate had climbed to nearly 10 percent, a number that Desmarais anticipates will be nearly doubled when updated town-by-town data is released this week. The city’s positive test rate has soared to almost 20 percent, she said.

Lynn is not alone in experiencing what appears to be a post-Thanksgiving surge, according to the Boston Globe, which reported that the state on Wednesday reported the highest one-day total of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic.

Dr. Abraar Karan, an internal medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Medical Center told the Globe that it is too soon for Thanksgiving-related infections to show in hospitalizations and death rates, but Wednesday’s record case count could be a reflection of people exposed to the virus during holiday gatherings last week.

“If people had transmission happen over Thanksgiving week, median incubation period is about five days, so presumably if people came in and got tested … we would start to see a rise in the cases around now,” Karan told the Globe.

A significant spike was also seen in Revere, another COVID-19 hot spot, on Thursday. A total of 131 new cases were reported, a single-day record throughout the pandemic, which brings the city’s numbers to 4,660 cases and 114 deaths, according to the city website.

Peabody did not provide an update on Thursday, but reported 170 new cases on Wednesday, which were compiled over a 48-hour period. As of Wednesday, Peabody had 2,454 cases and 210 deaths, according to the health department.

In Lynnfield, 23 new cases were reported on Thursday, which now has 331 cases and 15 deaths, according to the town website.

Numbers remained the same in Nahant (96 cases, six deaths) and were not updated in Marblehead, Saugus or Swampscott on Thursday.

As of last Friday, Marblehead had 390 cases and 30 deaths, Saugus had 1,195 cases and 45 deaths, and Swampscott had 262 cases and 11 deaths.

In Lynn, McGee announced on Wednesday that city buildings would only be open to the public on an appointment-only basis starting Monday. But Desmarais does not favor shutting down businesses like last spring when cases were spiking at the beginning of the pandemic.

“The numbers don’t reflect on the businesses. They only reflect on social gatherings,” said Desmarais. “People need to stay within their own households. The businesses shouldn’t have to pay for residents not following a protocol.

“Everyone should take a step back and reevaluate wearing a mask, social distancing and staying in your own home. I think that’s the only way to try to decrease the numbers.”