Quincy ArtsFest Postponed To May, 2022

The City of Quincy and the Quincy Art Association announce the annual Quincy ArtsFest show in Merrymount Park has been moved to May, 2022.  The postponement will allow for entries from Quincy Public School students who have not had art classes since the start of the pandemic.

“The inclusion of our student-artists is an integral part of our show,” said Commissioner of Natural Resources Dave Murphy. “We want to make sure that the students and art teachers have the proper time to prepare and participate in this fantastic community event.”

The show was originally scheduled for late September.  Due to the lack of children’s art and conflicts with other community events, organizers decided the best course of action was to postpone the show in order to maintain a quality and level of participation commensurate with the twenty-plus year history of the event.

Organizers are preparing for a great show in mid-May that will feature art displays, activities, crafts, children’s art activities, great live entertainment, and much more.

Added Murphy: “September is a beautiful time to be in Merrymount Park but we want to make sure we maintain the quality and reputation that’s been established over two decades.  As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we are gearing up for one of the best shows in ArtsFest history. “

State Health Officials Announce Seventh Human Case of West Nile Virus In MA

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Thursday (Sept. 16) an additional case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. WNV infection was identified in a woman in her 30s who was exposed to WNV in Bristol County. This is the seventh human case of WNV this year.

Previously, since Sept. 1, DPH has announced six human cases and one animal case of WNV in Massachusetts. Twenty-seven communities in Essex, Middlesex, Brookline and Suffolk counties are at high risk and forty-nine communities are at moderate risk. Based on mosquito findings and the new human case, eleven additional communities are being raised to moderate risk. Those communities are: Fall River and Seekonk in Bristol County; North Andover in Essex County; Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, Halifax, and Plympton in Plymouth County; and Blackstone, Hopedale, Milford, and Millville in Worcester County. As overnight temperatures get cooler, mosquito activity right around dusk and dawn may be more intense.

“This is our first West Nile virus case this year in someone under the age of 50,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “This is a reminder that although people over the age of 50 are at greater risk from West Nile virus, all ages can be affected. Risk from West Nile virus will continue until the first hard frost and people should remember to take steps to prevent mosquito bites anytime they are outdoors.”

In 2020, there were five human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts.

WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], or IR3535 according to the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs should be flushed out to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the DPH by calling 617-983-6800.

More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/MosquitoesandTicks or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

Andronico Seeks Update On Quincy’s ARPA Money

By SCOTT JACKSON

Ward 2 Councillor Anthony Andronico wants an update from city officials on how the federal stimulus funds Quincy received earlier this year have been spent to date, and also wants the administration to gather public input to determine how the remaining money should be used.

Mayor Thomas Koch in March announced Quincy would be receiving $46.3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion federal bill signed into law earlier that month. Communities have until December 2024 to use their ARPA money on eligible initiatives.

In May, Koch announced the city would be using a portion of the city’s ARPA money and part of the $10.7 million earmarked for Quincy College – which was awarded separately from the funds the city itself received – to purchase the Munroe Building and a nearby parking lot in Quincy Center for $15 million.

Andronico will introduce a resolution seeking a full accounting of the city’s ARPA spending to date at Monday’s City Council meeting. The resolution also asks the administration to seek public input on how the remaining funds should be spent, using either an online survey or public hearings.

“The people of Quincy deserve an opportunity to provide direct input into how federal COVID-19 relief funds are spent,” Andronico said in a statement. “Although the Mayor’s Office has final say on how these funds are allocated, I believe the Administration should take the same steps followed by many other municipalities that have a mayoral form of government and solicit input from residents.

“To this point, the Council and the public have only been informed through the news of where federal relief funds are headed and an accounting update on remaining relief funds would allow the public to understand which shared priorities we may be able to invest in moving forward.”

In his resolution, Andronico wrote that “Fall River, Lowell, Newton, Pittsfield, Springfield, Weymouth and Worcester have either had public meetings or created online surveys for residents to submit feedback on how ARPA funds in their community should be spent.”

In addition, he noted the Quincy Public Schools “recently held an online information and feedback session to review with stakeholders potential plans for their Elementary and Secondary Education Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds from the ARPA.”

Cahill Tops Ballot In School Committee Preliminary; O’Donnell Out Of Race

By SCOTT JACKSON

Making her first bid for elected office, Tina Cahill topped the field in Tuesday’s School Committee preliminary election.

The preliminary race featured seven candidates, the top six of whom advanced to the final election on Nov. 2. The three candidates with the most votes in November will win four-year terms on the committee.

Cahill, a Grenwold Road resident, garnered 2,330 votes en route to her first-place finish. Incumbent committee member Emily Lebo of Highland Avenue was second with 2,216 votes. Courtney Perdios, a Ruggles Street resident who in February was appointed to an open seat on the committee, finished third with 1,984 votes.

Placing fourth in the preliminary was political newcomer Liberty Schaaf of Howe Street, who netted 1,915 votes. Incumbent Douglas Gutro of Arnold Street came in fifth with 1,777 votes, and first-time candidate Liz Speakman of Merrymount Road finished in sixth place with 1,351 votes.

Finishing in seventh place, and eliminated from the race, was first-time candidate Ellen Patterson O’Donnell of Hatherly Road with 857 votes.

Cahill was the top vote getter in three of the city’s six wards, topping the ballot in Ward 5, where she resides, as well as Wards 4 and 6. Cahill finished second in Wards 2 and 3 and third in Ward 1.

Lebo was the top vote getter in Ward 3, her home ward. She finished second in Wards 1, 4, 5 and 6 and fourth in Ward 2.

Perdios topped the ballot in Ward 2, her home ward, and came in third in both Wards 3 and 6.

Schaaf was the top vote getter in Ward 1, her home district. She finished third in the voting in Ward 4.

Gutro was the third-highest vote getter in Ward 2, where he resides, and Ward 5, which he formerly represented on the City Council.

Speakman and O’Donnell polled sixth and seventh, respectively, in all six wards.

Turnout in the preliminary election was 8.11 percent, with 5,169 of the city’s 63,755 registered voters casting ballots. Ward 1 had the highest turnout in the city at 12.84 percent, followed by Ward 5 (9.44 percent), Ward 6 (8.47 percent), Ward 3 (7.57 percent), Ward 2 (6.03 percent) and Ward 4 (4.51 percent).

The Nov. 2 election will also feature four contested City Council races. All city councillors are elected to two-year terms.

Four candidates are running for the three at-large spots. All three incumbents – Noel DiBona of Chickatabot Road, Nina Liang of Grand View Avenue, and Anne Mahoney of 12 Ferriter Street – are seeking reelection. Joining them on the ballot is William Burke of Rice Road, who ran unsuccessfully for state representative in 2018 and had run for Congress two years prior.

There will also be races for three of the six ward seats on the council.

In Ward 1, incumbent David McCarthy of Whitney Road will face off against Joseph Murphy of Macy Street. McCarthy, who formerly served on the School Committee, is seeking his third term on the council. This will be the third time McCarthy and Murphy have run against each other.

In Ward 2, incumbent Anthony Andronico of Endicott Street and Steven Perdios of Ruggles Street both qualified for the ballot. Andronico, who had been serving on the School Committee, was appointed to the Ward 2 seat in January following the resignation of longtime councillor Brad Croall. (Courtney and Steven Perdios are married, and this is believed to be the first time a wife and husband have both appeared on the ballot together in the city’s history.)

In Ward 5, incumbent Charles Phelan Jr. Fenno Street is opposed by Stephen Christo of Standish Avenue. The two ran against each other for an open seat in 2019.

The remaining incumbent councillors – Ward 3 Councillor Ian Cain of Forbes Hill Road, Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci of Cross Street and Ward 6 Councillor William Harris of Ashworth Road – are running unopposed.

There is no mayoral election in Quincy this year. Mayor Thomas Koch was reelected to a four-year term in 2019.

The deadline to register to vote ahead of the final election is 8 p.m. on Oct. 13. The deadline to request to vote by mail in the final election is Oct. 27 and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon on Nov. 1.

Early voting will take place ahead Election Day from Oct. 25 through Oct. 29 at City Hall, 1305 Hancock St. Early voting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on those dates.

Marshall School Student, Parent Struck By Car

A second grade student at the Clifford Marshall Elementary School and their parent sustained non-life-threatening injuries after being struck by a car Tuesday morning, school officials said.

“This morning, one of our Grade 2 students and their parent were struck by a car while walking to school,” the school’s principal, Nicholas Ahearn, said in a letter to the school community. “While the student and the parent sustained injuries, the injuries are reported to be non-life threatening and both have been transported to local hospitals.  I know the thoughts and support of the whole school community will be with them during their recovery.

“Our concern also extends to several students who were waiting at a nearby school bus stop and may have witnessed the accident.  School administrators and guidance staff have spoken with the students and contacted their parents.

“We have not shared this information with the other students at Clifford Marshall as this might be upsetting and cause unnecessary emotional distress.  As always, our administrative and guidance staff are available to assist you or your student if you are in need of any support.  Please feel free to reach out to me (nicholasahearn@quincypublicschools.com), Assistant Principal Heather Patch (heatherpatch@quincypublicschools.com), or Guidance Counselors Colleen Jackson (colleenjackson@quincypublicschools.com) or Deborah Parrish (deborahparrish@quincypublicschools.com) via email or at 617-984-872.”

Polls Open At 7 AM Tuesday In Quincy

By SCOTT JACKSON

Voters in Quincy will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the School Committee preliminary election.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m. The same polling places used for last November’s presidential election will be used this fall.

Absentee and mail-in ballots must be received by the time polls close Tuesday to be counted.

The preliminary election features a seven-person race for three seats on the School Committee. The top six vote getters in the preliminary will advance to the final election in November.

The seven candidates running in the preliminary, by order of appearance on the ballot, are:

Emily Lebo, 354 Highland Ave; Ellen Patterson O’Donnell, 6 Hatherly Rd.; Courtney Perdios, 86 Ruggles St.; Liz Speakman, 129 Merrymount Rd.; Douglas Gutro, 85 Arnold St.; Liberty Schaaf, 28 Howe St.; and Tina Cahill, 51 Grenwold Rd.

Gutro, who previously served on the City Council, is concluding his first four-year term on the committee; Lebo has served ten years on the board; and Perdios was appointed to the committee in February to fill a vacant seat. Perdios had finished in fourth place in the 2019 school board election.

The remaining four candidates are all making their first bids for elected office. O’Donnell, Schaaf and Speakman had been nominated for the open seat Perdios was appointed to during the February joint convention.

The top six finishers in Tuesday’s preliminary will appear on the ballot on Election Day, Nov. 2. The top three vote getters in November will win four-year terms on the School Committee.

In addition to the School Committee race, the November election will also feature contested races for city councillor at-large and the Ward 1, 2 and 5 seats on the council. City councillors are all elected to two-year terms.

There is no mayoral election in Quincy this year. Mayor Thomas Koch was reelected to a new four-year term in 2019.

City Clerk Nicole Crispo is forecasting a turnout of 10 to 12 percent for the preliminary election. That would mean between 6,375 and 7,650 of the city’s 63,756 registered voters will have cast ballots by the times polls close.

North Quincy, Quincy Win Football Openers

 

North Quincy senior captain Matt Ryan scores the first Raider touchdown of the 2021 season on a 63-yard run in North Quincy’s 48-6 victory over Somerville Friday night at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium. Quincy also won its opener Friday night defeating Archbishop Williams on the road in Braintree, 39-34. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth
Senior linebacker Brian Rodrigues (left) and teammates celebrate in the endzone after Rodrigues picked off a Somerville pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown in the Raiders’ 48-6 win over Somerville Friday night at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium. The Raiders will host Westwood Saturday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at the stadium. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth
North Quincy junior linebacker Grant Murphy sacks Somerville quarterback Aidan Slattery in NQ’s dominant 48-6 season-opening win over Somerville Friday night. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth
North Quincy Raiders emerge from the tunnel at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium waving American flags in memory of the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. A moment of silence was also observed before kick-off. Among those who perished that day 20 years ago on Sept. 11 was Quincy native Susan (McAleney) MacKay, a 1975 graduate of North Quincy High School. She was among the passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. More coverage in the Sept. 16th issue of The Quincy Sun. Quincy Sun Photos/Robert Bosworth

FoxRock Unveils Ross Lot Development Plans

TWENTY-STORY building with a combined 325 hotel rooms and apartments is part of FoxRock Properties’ plan for the former Ross Lot in Quincy Center, along with a 150,000-square-foot office building and a 490-car garage. The new high-rise would be the tallest in Quincy, surpassing the 15-story Chestnut Place building on the Dennis Ryan Parkway elsewhere in the downtown district. This view is from Granite Street looking south; General McConville Way is to the left of the building in this picture and Burgin Parkway to the right. Renderings courtesy FoxRock Properties.

By SCOTT JACKSON

A Quincy-based company has unveiled formal plans to redevelop part of former Ross Lot in Quincy Center, including a 20-story tower housing a combined 325 hotel rooms and apartments, a 150,000-square-foot office building, a two-story building with a restaurant and other amenities, and a 490-car garage.

FoxRock Properties pitched the proposed redevelopment, known as SwitchPoint Quincy, to the Planning Board during its meeting on Sept. 8. FoxRock is seeking two separate approvals from the board; the first is a certificate of consistency for the overall project and the second is a special permit to build the hotel and residential structure 20 stories high.

The board did not vote on the proposal that evening and will take up the matter again on Nov. 10. It has not been determined whether November’s meeting will be held remotely like the Sept. 8 session was or in-person.

FoxRock’s development would be located at 37R and 86 Parkingway, which is within the former Ross Lot in Quincy Center. The roughly triangular parcel – which is bounded by General Dunford Drive to the south, Granite Street to the north, General McConville Way to the east and the MBTA tracks to the west – contains 117,366 square feet of land and is located within the Quincy Center Zoning District-15, where buildings can be constructed 15 stories tall by-right and 20 stories high with a special permit.

The developer hopes to begin construction on site in the spring of 2022 and complete the project by early 2024.

FoxRock and Mayor Thomas Koch had negotiated a land disposition agreement, which the City Council approved in June 2019, allowing the company to acquire that portion of the Ross Lot from the city and to redevelop it. That LDA also allowed the company to buy out the city’s right of reverter at 114 Whitwell St., formerly home to Quincy Medical Center, freeing it up for a residential redevelopment. The developer agreed to pay the city $4.25 million as part of the pact.

The new office building would be located at the south end of the parcel, abutting General Dunford Drive. The hotel and residential tower – which, at 20 stories, would be the tallest building in Quincy – would be located at the north end of the site, separated from Granite Street by a new outdoor amenity area. The garage would be located in between those two buildings sitting behind the two-story commercial building on General McConville Way. The office building and 20-story tower would both have retail space on the ground floor as well.

“The project aims to create a vibrant streetscape through programming active uses along the ground floor with both lobbies, retail spaces and a series of outdoor spaces of different scales and type,” Josh Kleinman, FoxRock’s director of design and construction, told the board.

“We’ve located loading docks and back-of-house facilities away from McConville Way to truly create a pedestrian-centric city block.”

David Bois, principal at the design firm Arrowstreet, the master planner for the project, said the various uses included in the proposal would create an active site.

“We’re really looking to create an active, 18-hour environment with office, retail, hotel and residential,” he said.

The 150,000-square-foot office building would be located at the corner of General Dunford Drive and General McConville Way. A FoxRock official told the Planning Board the building has been designed for medical use. The building would also include ground-floor retail space.

In February 2019, Koch announced that FoxRock had struck a deal with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and South Shore Health System, the parent organization of South Shore Hospital, to lease space within the proposed office building.

At the Sept. 8 board meeting, Kleinman said the office building had been designed for medical uses. Ed Hodges, principal at the architectural firm Dimella Shaffer, said the office building would have a “robust infrastructure to handle a variety of tenants that may come along.”

View of FoxRock’s proposed 20-story residential and hotel building as seen from Hancock Street. Mayor Thomas Koch unveiled plans for the new public park seen in the foreground earlier this year, along with the two buildings on either side of it.

The 20-story tower at the north end of the site would have 125 hotel rooms on the lower five floors and 200 apartments on the upper floors, with separate entrances for the hotel and the residences.

FoxRock’s initial plans for the Quincy Center site, as unveiled in 2019, included 110 units of workforce housing. Following the Sept. 8 meeting, a spokesperson for the company told The Sun “The project will have to go in front of the affordable housing trust which will determine the affordability requirements for the project.”

The garage, which will be located between the two larger buildings, would have space for 490 vehicles. FoxRock plans to include 20 charging stations for electric vehicles when the garage first opens, with capacity to add more charging stations in the future.

In addition to the 490 spaces FoxRock would construct in the garage, the city will set aside 300 spaces to the south of General Dunford Drive for the developer in accordance with the 2019 land disposition agreement. A new municipal garage has been proposed for that area to replace the garage formerly on the Ross Lot.

A 490-car garage is included in FoxRock’s proposal for the former Ross Lot, along with the two-story commercial building in front of it. The building would house a ground-floor restaurant with second-floor amenity spaces for the hotel next door.

A two-story commercial building would sit between the new garage and General McConville Way. Bois said the ground floor would house a 6,000-square-foot restaurant – with additional space for outdoor dining – and the second floor would feature amenity and meeting space for the hotel next door.

Karlis Skulte, the applicant’s engineer, said the city has upgraded utilities – such as sewer and water mains – in the vicinity of the former Ross Lot in recent years to prepare the area for future development.

“Throughout the years, McConville Way as well as this area have been redeveloped and the city has spent a good amount of time and energy into improving the utilities within McConville Way,” Skulte said.

“As a rule of thumb, we are tying into all of the utility services and the design elements that have been installed essentially to facilitate redevelopment in this parcel as well as others in the area.”

Members of the public were invited to comment on the project during the Sept. 8 meeting.

Greg Baryza, a resident of the nearby Cliveden Place development, said he was in favor of the proposal.

“I am not speaking to object to any of this stuff – as a matter of fact, I am in favor of it,” he said. “My wife and I sold our house in the suburbs of Boston. We decided to live in a downtown area, we wanted to live close to public transportation, and we didn’t mind being part of a development district.”

In a letter to the board, which was read into the record during the meeting, Baryza raised concerns about the impact construction nearby would have on his building. He said his building “experienced regular and significant shaking” when the buildings formerly on the Parkingway were demolished and new infrastructure was installed in the area.

“I submitted pictures of furniture that had moved as a result of the shaking, movies of water sloshing back and forth in bottles, and potted plants quivering from the vibrations. My wife’s antique glass collection was put at risk because pieces were sliding to the edge of shelves in their display case,” Baryza said. “This occurred periodically, often multiple times per day, multiple days per week, over the past two years.”

Matt Warner, a Bigelow Street resident, said that “development is a thing that is going to happen – it’s not a bad thing,” but added he was “a little bit surprised and disappointed” that FoxRock was proposing to construct a 20-story building on site rather than a 15-story one. Warner also questioned how people would be able to access the medical office building if they had to park in the 300 spaces the city would be providing on the opposite side of General Dunford Drive.

Ward 5 Councillor Charles Phelan Jr., in whose district the site is located, said the Planning Board should take steps to protect nearby residents from construction impacts as part of the permitting process.

“Whether it is noise mitigation, vibration mitigation, I’m not sure how you do that, but I think we have to take a look at that,” Phelan said.

“The residents, they are living there, they are going to be living there through this and this is a lot to go through. What I think is going to happen afterwards is they are going to have a beautiful backyard, but for now, the next couple of years when they are doing the development, we have to take them into consideration.”

Following the public comments, board chairperson Richard Meade said he and his fellow board members would need time to consider the application.

“I think we need some additional time obviously to get through the information to digest it. What I would suggest is that the board put this on its agenda for November – not October,” Meade said.“I’m not suggesting we’re going to be in a position to vote it up or down in November, but…we will have an opportunity to discuss it further and digest it a little more.”

David Mahoney, the attorney representing FoxRock at the hearing, said he agreed with the decision to schedule the matter for the November meeting.

State DPH Confirms Two New Human Cases Of West Nile Virus; Individuals Exposed To Virus In Middlesex County

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Thursday (Sept. 2) announced two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. Both individuals are male, one in his 50s and the other in his 70s and both were exposed to WNV in Middlesex County.

On Wednesday (Sept. 1), DPH announced the first human case of WNV identified in Massachusetts this year was also likely exposed in Middlesex County. The Greater Boston area and several towns in Bristol and Worcester counties are already at moderate risk for WNV. There have been no deaths this year associated with WNV.

Based on the three human cases, recent increases in WNV findings in mosquitoes, and weather favorable for mosquito activity, the WNV risk level of an additional 38 communities is being raised from low to moderate. These communities are: Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott and Wenham in Essex County; Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Springfield and West Springfield in Hampden County; Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Lexington, Lincoln, Natick, North Reading, Reading, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston and Wilmington in Middlesex County; Dedham, Needham, and Wellesley in Norfolk County; Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop in Suffolk County; and Grafton and Upton in Worcester County.

“These are the second and third human cases of West Nile virus infection in Massachusetts this year and we are seeing significant expansion of virus activity in mosquitoes,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Risk from West Nile virus will continue until the first hard frost. As we enjoy the unofficial last weekend of summer and then head back to school and work, it is important for people to remember to continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.”

In 2020, there were five human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], or IR3535 according to the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs should be flushed out to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the DPH by calling 617-983-6800.

More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.