Waterbury mayor says city is helping students, hospitals with tools they need during coronavirus outbreak

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — On Friday, officials said Waterbury Hospital’s drive-through test site will not be in operation this weekend. Saint Mary’s Hospital drive-through test site will be open this Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. daily.

Senior citizens in need of special assistance are encouraged to call 311 for help with: Prescription pick up and/or drop off, emergency transportation, supplemental food drop off, etc.

News 8 spoke with Waterbury state and city leaders Thursday about how the Brass City has responded to the outbreak developments.

State Representative Geraldo Reyes told News 8 the results of the virus spread have devastated the city of Waterbury.

Waterbury’s Mayor Neil O’Leary reported Thursday the city has three confirmed cases of the virus, “but quite frankly we expect that to go up exponentially because results of the tests are starting to kick in now.”

Most of those tests are being done at the drive up screening test sites outside both of the city’s hospitals: Waterbury Hospital and Saint Mary’s Hospital.

But there is now a new concern: with more people coming in contact with the virus, more are asking to be tested, and test kits are running low in Waterbury.

They’re starting to run short on those and they’re very very concerned so we’re going to work with the State Department of Public Health to see if we cant get some more test kits down here.

The volume of people that are going through the drive-ups at both Waterbury and Saint Mary’s has really risen over the last 48 hours.

– Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary

At Waterbury Hospital, they jumped from 15 cars coming through the testing line Friday, to 150 Tuesday.

The mayor said the city has been preparing for the virus since January by establishing a Coronavirus Task Force. “We had weekly meetings now we have daily meetings,” O’Leary explained.

Schools and students are in the mix, too, when it comes to coronavirus effects response.

Since schools have shut down over virus spread concerns, the school district has given packets of coursework for students to pick up. Additionally, the district has prepared and given out over 1,500 meals at ‘grab-‘n’-go’ sites across the city.

Sonjia Gomes, a Waterbury grandparent says she’s grateful for the meals so she can feed her children while they are out of school.

I think it’s very important. There’s a lot of families that are in need especially at a time of crisis.

– Sonjia Gomes/ Waterbury grandmother

There is concern in the city, but the mayor assures the public there is help going on.

The city is setting up a 311 hotline, answering 300 calls a day about the virus.

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