BOSTON (State House News Service) — Gov. Charlie Baker defended the state's response to a coronavirus hotspot that emerged in the city of Chelsea, offering any further aid the community needs while also asserting that local officials turned down previous overtures.
City leaders have repeatedly requested help in recent weeks as the outbreak grew worse.
According to town-by-town data on confirmed COVID-19 cases state officials published for the first time Wednesday, Chelsea has the highest rate of infection at about 1,890 cases per 100,000 residents, nearly four times the statewide rate of about 488 cases per 100,000 residents.
In response to Chelsea officials who argue the state should have caught the situation sooner, Baker said his administration has been in contact with local leadership "almost every day for the last month" and established several isolation sites.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders also said the administration was working to expand COVID-19 testing in community health centers that serve communities of color.
Baker said that if the city needs additional help, "all they've got to do is ask."
"There's a number of things we offered to the city of Chelsea they said no to," Baker said during his daily press conference. "We try to be respectful of what locals, the folks who are on the ground who know their communities best, believe are the most important things for us to do."
Asked what the administration offered that Chelsea rejected, Baker only replied, "We offered them a variety of things" before fielding a different question.
By Chris Lisinski, State House News Service