Chelsea identified as coronavirus hot spot; officials implore residents to stay home

CHELSEA, MASS. (WHDH) - A new problem area is emerging in the coronavirus fight in Massachusetts — Chelsea is dealing with an alarming cluster of cases.

Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino said his community is one of the state’s top hot spots for COVID-19, confirming nearly 400 reported cases as of Wednesday and acknowledging that there may be many more.

“Well, it’s not pleasant. It’s obviously causing a great deal of pain here in Chelsea,” he said.

With the death toll at 10 so far in the city, Ambrosino said he has an important message to share with all of his residents.

“Stay home,” he implored. “Stay home all hours of the day unless you have an essential reason to leave your house.”

Infection rates are high due in part to the dense living conditions in the city, Ambrosino explained.

While most construction is shut down, work continues on housing projects.

“We’re trying to bring as many housing units online as quickly as we can in case there’s a need for housing for this COVID-19 crisis and I can tell you right now there absolutely is,” Ambrosino said.

Congressman Joe Kennedy spoke online with Chelsea leaders Thursday and acknowledged the city needs help.

“This is obviously a critical issue for the people of Chelsea and literally a matter of life and death,” he said.

The city of Chelsea is about 70 percent Latina and Ambrosino said he is glad to hear the state is now collecting racial and ethnic data on COVID-19 patients.

“Cities like Chelsea need resources and resources should be deployed where the need is greatest,” he said. “I can tell you right now the need is greatest here in Chelsea, Massachusetts.”

Click here for more coronavirus coverage.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)