Coronavirus testing, tracing and treatment hubs will soon be created in areas with a high concentration of construction sites thanks to a first-in-nation collaboration with Boston’s building trade unions and Partners in Health.
“This is a historic initiative, and it’s the first of its kind in the United States of America. We’re setting the highest safety standards in the nation while making sure workers have the greatest access to testing tracing and treatment,” said Mayor Martin Walsh.
The collaboration, called “Construction Stops COVID,” will introduce the testing hubs across Boston along with a public awareness campaign to keep workers safe and minimize pressure on the health care system.
“This is how we’ll keep our economy strong and get back to normal faster. This is how we’ll help one another get through this,” said Walsh.
The initiative partners the Greater Boston Building Trades Unions and their industry affiliates with international non-profit Partners In Health, Harbor Health Services, and the City of Boston to forge a national model for coronavirus prevention.
The groups pledged their support during a Tuesday morning press conference.
Brian Doherty, general agent of the Greater Boston Building Trades Unions said, “Safety is always our top priority, both on and off the job, which is why we’re excited to launch Construction Stops COVID.”
Early in the pandemic, Walsh shut down construction projects, “‘I’m proud that we did the right thing and put a smart plan in place so that people can get back to work in a safe way,” he said.
He said construction will be a crucial part of the city’s recovery, and the new public health initiative will help to boost the economy and keep the industry open.
Public health experts who joined Tuesday’s press conference urged workers and residents not to let their guard down as we enter into the worst stages of the pandemic.
Dr. Claire-Cecile Pierre of Harbor Health Services said having “mini clinics” right there on constructions sites will help to remove access barriers for transportation and coordination.
Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners in Health said the best way to get back to work is to have administrative controls in place to keep workers safe.
“We can show the rest of the world, how not to just reopen the economy, but actually to put in the proper controls to give people comfort and safety for themselves and their loved ones,” said Mukherjee.
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