NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Respiratory care professor, residents react to new COVID rules

As Massachusetts COVID-19 cases rise, Governor Baker imposed a curfew and updated mask mandate as of Nov. 6.

The Department of Public Health made a statement on their website saying, “The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 related hospitalizations and COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) census have more than doubled over the past 2 months. Social gatherings are contributing to these increases. Left unchecked, the current COVID-19 case growth poses a risk to our healthcare system. Intervention is warranted to moderate case growth and preserve hospital capacity. It’s more important than ever to follow guidance from local, state, and federal officials on how to stop the spread of the virus.”

Donald Bellerive, a professor of Respiratory Care at NECC, said in an email conversation: “COVID is in charge, and while we may be tired of COVID, it is not tired of us. Lawrence has spent 12 weeks in the Red Zone as cases continue to rise not only here, but across the country.  Mayor Dan Rivera has issued an Emergency Order that is essential to saving lives confronting this extreme rise in person to person transmission. Many of my colleagues at UMass work in the COVID Unit and experience the pain, suffering & grief horrified by how this virus takes lives of all ages. There are faces to every COVID case that is unmatched in scale to anything we have ever seen. We can adjust to simple non-invasive interventions like curfews, a mask mandate and keeping our gatherings to 10 folks or less to mitigate the outbreak and reduce critical illness. We can be smart; it is painless and easy to keep ourselves and our families safe by doing the right thing which is what our students support every day.”

Elvis Acosta, a Lawrence resident and former NECC student, said in a conversation, “Personally I feel that another lockdown is way overdue. Lawrence has been in the red zone for more than 10 weeks; the cases just keep coming. I have noticed so many people do not take the fact that they must wear masks seriously, especially in fast food places and retail stores. A curfew can happen if we have a full lockdown, public places cannot remain open if the state expects everyone to make it home by 10 pm.”

Keva Samataro, a registered nurse who works at Lawrence General Hospital, shared her opinions, “My opinion as a nurse is that we should be wearing the masks to protect ourselves from those that refuse the masks. The 10pm curfew is something that I do not agree with. I mean does COVID-19 NOT come out before 10pm?! It is just going to make those people who break the rules more apt to have parties in their homes after 10pm. I think no large groups and safe face coverings is best, and hand washing, hand washing, hand washing.”