With a rise in COVID-19 cases and a huge outbreak within the last couple of weeks, Malden has officially entered the Red Zone. Most cities in Massachusetts have high-risk levels for the virus. Gary Christenson, Mayor of Malden, had a few opinions of his own about this announcement. To him this is “disappointing but not surprising,” he was shocked that Malden did not get red-zoned earlier.

One of the reasons he believed this is because Malden is home to lots of essential workers who are putting themselves at risk. A city being defined as red-zoned can have a few definitions. According to an article by Fast Company, being red zoned means a district “experienced more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people during the last week.” 

According to another article by 10 Boston, to be able to “qualify for the red category,” a neighborhood that has below 10,000 people must have more than 25 cases. For mid-size communities that have between 10,000 and 50,000 people, they have to have “more than 10 cases per 100,000 people and have a positive rate of larger than 5% total.” Bigger communities that have over 50,000 people “must have more than 10 cases per 100,000 and a positive test rate of more than 4%.”

Malden was working very hard to prevent being put into the red category. However, Christenson is still focusing on the positives. The increase in numbers is encouraging more people to get tested, which he saw as an “important step” to slowing the spread. In addition, there have not been as many deaths in this wave as there were in March and April when COVID began to affect the city. 

Ultimately, this is a sign Malden’s medical professionals are beginning to understand how to manage the virus which will dramatically decrease the number of deaths. From here students need to spread the message that the city is coping and handling “a marathon, not a sprint.”

Most importantly, Christenson wanted people to stay safe and do whatever they can to keep the virus stable and decrease the number of cases. He expressed that the city is all in this together and Malden needs to keep itself and the community healthy. According to the Department of Public Health’s metrics, Malden remains in the red high-risk category for the second week in a row.

Before this was reported by the Department of Public Health, Malden had been in “persistent and continuous conversation with health professionals.” Malden had a conversation with state professionals and their own Board of Health. They wanted to discuss how they could “combat the virus” as a district. The Board of Health had been keeping up with schools and businesses to make sure they were following the guidelines to keep the community safe.

As the virus continues to spread, people seem to pay less attention and are not as observant of the rules and regulations in place. Christenson stated that public education “remains [the] main priority” right now, as one of the city’s goals at this moment is to find alternative ways to communicate the significance of wearing a mask and social distancing when in public or with large groups of people. It is also very necessary to remember to wash your hands when you get home from wherever you were, especially because you do not know who may have touched it. The Mayor cannot stress enough that people should “limit interactions with groups outside of our own household.” 

The city is working to translate information into a variety of languages in order to be more accessible. They are also displaying important information across social media and on Malden Access Television (MATV) which is Malden’s Media Center. Malden is giving out flyers and handing out free masks as well. When taking a look at how many ways the district is trying to get the word out, residents really need to listen and be cautious. While it is hard to tell what is in store for the next couple of months, whatever can be done, should be done. Christenson wants everyone to stay healthy and safe through this virus and through the holidays coming up.

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