A Massachusetts state representative, who also works as an emergency room physician at a Boston hospital, says he supports Gov. Charlie Baker's decision to clamp down on travel into Massachusetts.
“I am thankful he is moving forward with this and I look forward to enacting more preventative practices so we can avoid a second surge here,” said Dr. Jon Santiago, who works at the Boston Medical Center and has represented the 9th Suffolk district since 2019.
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Santiago has filed similar legislation to the governor’s order.
Per Baker's travel mandate, all visitors and residents returning to Massachusetts from high-risk states must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test or face a $500 a day fine.
“My greatest concern is that we will be back in the position we were three or four months ago,” said Dr. Santiago, who was in the thick of the COVID-19 surge in the spring.
“I don’t want to go back to that,” he said. “I don’t want to see people suffering. I don’t want to see communities of color, nursing homes, these particularly vulnerable communities get hit the hardest by this.”
Santiago says from his perspective, the situation at Boston Medical Center has improved significantly. The number of patients with COVID-19 is now in the single digits.
“Over the course of the past couple weeks, things have down trended significantly,” he said.
As for schools reopening, Santiago says safety needs to be the number one goal.
“If we’re not prioritizing the health and safety of the children and of the school and staff members we shouldn’t be opening schools,” he said.
The doctor also thinks that Massachusetts will be better prepared to handle a second surge. He says people need to keep wearing masks and testing and tracing needs to remain a priority.