COVID-19 UPDATE: Health Director Concerned Wilmington’s Cases Doubled This Past Weekend (7 to 14), Seeing Lots Of Mask Noncompliance At Playgrounds

WILMINGTON, MA — At Monday night’s Selectmen Meeting, Wilmington Health Director Shelly Newhouse and Wilmington Fire Chief Bill Cavanaugh provided a brief COVID-19 update to the board and community.

“I’m not happy about [our numbers],” began Newhouse. “We went up over the weekend, from 7 [positive active ] cases on Friday to 14 on Monday. We have 7 additional [residents] in quarantine. That’s quite a jump… Our Community Risk Level could be affected on Wednesday.”

“I’m seeing lots of people out with no masks at the playgrounds. I wish people would really think about wearing masks. I’m also seeing construction crews with no masks. We all need to put our masks on and think about what we’re doing,” she continued.

Newhouse noted she received complaints about a couple of the gyms in town and had to make site visits to speak with the managers. She noted she hasn’t received “too many” complaints about other businesses or establishments. The bulk of the complaints, according to Newhouse, involve kids and people at parks and playgrounds not wearing masks and properly social distancing.

In response to a question, Newhouse said the town’s 14 active positive cases aren’t “really linked.” She noted the only connections were 2 positives are in 1 household and 2 positives are in another household. There’s no trend in demographics, saying it’s “all over the map” in terms of ages.

In response to a suggestion from Selectman Caira that signs be put at parks and playgrounds, Newhouse noted that signs are put up weekly to wear masks and she believes they’re being torn down. She stressed kids playing, whether at Yentile, Rotary or elsewhere, need to be wearing masks.

Selectwoman O’Mahony noted that, while at a recent soccer game at Yentile, she noticed all the players and spectators were wearing masks and properly socially distancing, but most of the kids and parents at the playgrounds were not. She called it disappointing.

“The numbers are going up as we’re trying to get kids back to school,” O’Mahony noted.

“Little kids are super spreaders. They’re asymptomatic and running around, taking advantage of an extra long summer. We need to make sure they wear masks,” responded Newhouse.

Wilmington Fire Chief Bill Cavanaugh noted he continues to track reimbursable expenses for CARES Act funding. He also encouraged residents to wear face coverings.

“When you’re not taking the time to wear the masks, you put public safety personnel at risk,” said Cavanaugh. “Please do your best to social distance, wear a mask, and follow the guidelines. Let’s get this back under control.”

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