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City Manager Eileen Donoghue has announced that beginning Monday, August 16, 2021, masks will be required in City Hall and in all other City buildings. The policy will apply both to members of the public and to visitors. The decision comes in response to a significant increase in new cases of COVID-19 over recent weeks and following consultation with the Chair of the Board of Health. Lowell’s rate of fully vaccinated residents, which stood at 53.5% as of August 3, was also a factor in the decision.
As of August 11, there had been 283 new cases of COVID-19 among Lowell residents in a 14-day span, translating to an average of 17.2 new cases daily per 100,000 residents, marking a continued pattern of increased transmission. The City’s positivity rate among individuals tested for COVID-19 had increased to 3.09% as of August 5. Increasing transmission trends in the City resembles those observed across Massachusetts, and are thought to be attributable to the prevalence of the Delta variant.
The CDC currently recommends the use of masks in indoor settings, including by fully vaccinated individuals, in areas of substantial or high transmission, which includes Middlesex County.
Given the increased presence of COVID-19 in Lowell, members of the community are reminded that they should seek testing in any situation where they experience symptoms of the virus including: fever, shortness of breath, head, muscle pain, and loss of taste or smell. Free testing is available in Lowell through the state’s Stop the Spread program 5 days a week at Cawley Memorial Stadium, located at 424 Douglas Road. Appointments can be reserved online at: lowellma.gov/covidtesting. The site is slated to remain open through at least October 31, 2021. The City Administration has requested that the site remain open through the end of the year to ensure continued access to testing in the City.