Marlborough officials discuss city’s next steps while urging caution

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Thirty residents have died from COVID-19

Mayor Arthur Vigeant speaks during a press conference May 14.

By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Marlborough – Mayor Arthur Vigeant celebrated a surprise mask donation and charted Marlborough’s path forward in the COVID-19 fight, May 14, while still remaining cautious and stressing the continued threat of the virus.

Speaking at a press conference behind City Hall, Vigeant first touted the generosity of the unknown benefactor that shipped 12,000 masks to the city earlier in the week.

Organized through Mayor Arthur Vigeant celebrated a surprise mask donation and charted Marlborough’s path forward in the COVID-19 fight, May 14, while still remaining cautious and stressing the continued threat of the virus., the donation allows officials to now hand out that crucial protective equipment through its police department and its already sprawling food distribution program.

“We’re really excited,” Vigeant said.

As such protection proliferates, Vigeant and Health Director John Garside also both noted promising new data that, they hope, will allow the city to begin partially reopening soon.

The daily average number of new cases, Garside said, has been steadily decreasing over the last 10 days, signaling an end to last month’s case surge that he first noted at a previous appearance April 28.

“We’re in a lull here,” he said. “I think our social distancing measures have helped.”

As that data gives some sense of security, and as a state stay at home advisory is expected to lapse May 18, Vigeant said the city is looking into plans to partially reopen large open park space where visitors could still remain physically separate from one another.

“Everyone is looking for the opportunity to get back to as normal as possible,” he said. “…but it’s going to take some time.”

Indeed, the city is not out of the woods, officials unanimously agreed.

May 13 marked the single deadliest day since the COVID-19 crisis began, as the disease claimed eight local lives.

Thirty residents have now passed away due to the coronavirus while 298 remain actively ill according to Garside.

Knowing that, Garside had a simple message for city residents regarding social distancing.

“Take it seriously,” he said. “Do your part.”

Though that mandatory distance has largely scrapped many traditions across town, Vigeant noted prominently in his remarks that the city has worked hard to honor the high school seniors who have been particularly hurt by the loss of graduation and other traditional spring festivities.

“We’re so disappointed they can’t celebrate like they do every year,” he said. “This spring has been a little bit different, but we wanted to do something.”

Earlier this week the city did something, after all, as volunteers decorated the Walker Building lawn overlooking Main Street with signs individually recognizing each of this year’s Marlborough High School graduates.

As the city honored those students, Garside, finally, had words for the city’s first responders and medical professionals, many of whom continue to work on the frontlines of the coronavirus response at UMASS Memorial- Marlborough  Hospital , or in Health Department offices themselves.

“They have worked tirelessly over the last 2 months to protect us,” he said. “…I have a lot of thanks for them.”