BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Thousands of people living in communities marked as high-risk by Massachusetts state Covid-19 guidelines have received text messages reminding them that the virus is a serious threat.
The message was sent by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. It read, "COVID19 is a serious threat. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Do not share food drinks utensils. Stay home if sick. Get a free COVID test. Stop gatherings with family and friends. Protect you and your loved ones." It also included a link for residents to seek out more information.
The high-risk communities that received the alerts on Monday evening include Chelsea, Revere, Lawrence, Everett, Worcester, Nantucket, Winthrop, New Bedford, Framingham, and Lynn.
In the most recent data for high-risk communities reported by the Department of Public Health, the list of cities and towns jumped from 40 to 63 over a one-week period from Sept. 27 to Oct. 10.
According to Tory Mazzola, the Communications Director of the Massachusetts Covid-19 Command Center, the message is part of a broader campaign to remind people that the pandemic is not over.
"COVID is persistently high risk in these communities," Mazzola said in a press release. "And this alert is another important message to remind residents to remain vigilant."
Some Massachusetts residents used social media to criticize the alerts, tweeting that the virus is a daily hazard, not an imminent threat and that the messages should have been sent out earlier. Others argued in favor of the messages, saying that they are proud the state is doing outreach.
Officials said the Commonwealth will also be using field teams, advertising and other channels of communication to inform residents about best practices to protect themselves and others throughout the pandemic.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports: