WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Fire Chief Bill Cavanaugh, Chair of the Town’s Emergency Management Committee, held a brief press conference at the Public Safety Building tonight to inform the public about the latest developments around the cluster of COVID-19 cases at AdviniaCare on West Street after 84 patients tested positive, 7 of which have since passed away.
Cavanaugh began by expressing his deepest sympathies to the patients who have lost their lives and noted he shared the concerns of family members of the facility’s current residents who can’t be by the side of their loved ones during this trying time.
Cavanaugh recognized the work of Town Manager Jeff Hull, Health Director Shelley Newhouse, Board of Selectmen Chair Greg Bendel, State Senator Bruce Tarr, State Rep. Dave Robertson, State Rep. Ken Gordon, and the Town’s Emergency Management Committee for their work on this matter. Cavanaugh noted the officials have been successful in attaining resources from multiple state agencies to assist with the situation at AdviniaCare.
Specifically, Cavanaugh announced that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will be providing staffing to fill immediate needs at AdviniaCare. Point Care Group, the facility’s operator, will also be redeploying staff to fill personnel shortages.
These moves came after the Town’s Emergency Management Committee wrote the following email to the state’s COVID-19 Command Center, DPH and MEMA last night:
“The Town of Wilmington and our legislative delegation are appealing in the most strenuous way possible to your agencies to conduct an assessment of the operational and clinical capabilities at AdviniaCare on 90 West Street in Wilmington. In light of the escalating number of patients and staff testing positive for COVID-19 and the recent report of seven (7) COVID related deaths, there are very serious concerns that the facility lacks adequate resources with respect to staffing, including skilled medical staff, to provide the level of care required in this current state of emergency.
It is our strong collective belief that determining the types of resources that are required to supplement resources currently available to AdviniaCare and providing those resources is both critical and time sensitive. We await your timely response. Thank you.”
Cavanaugh noted that state officials appear to be responding to the team’s requests, but promises to continue to “aggressively” monitor the situation.
“Currently, the concerns we’ve raised are being met and addressed appropriately at this time. If we feel that’s sliding, we’ll get ahold of the state again,” Cavanaugh said.
The Fire Chief also expressed a frustration with the communication between AdviniaCare and town officials.
“In all honesty, communication has been inconsistent,” revealed Cavanaugh, noting the company has been sending information to the press — which subsequently gets posted to social media — before the town is properly notified through appropriate channels.
Cavanaugh said the town felt it was necessary to step in as the situation turned dire.
“We’re doing all we can to advocate to the residents there. They are a part of this community,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can to make sure [COVID-19] doesn’t spread and the residents at AdviniaCare get all the help they need.”
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