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The City Council marked the beginning of its Monday meeting with a moment of silence for Xavier Louis-Jacques, a 19-year-old Cambridge resident who was fatally shot Saturday morning near the Rindge baseball field and basketball courts.
Councilor Quinton Y. Zondervan said he has been “struggling” with the shooting all weekend.
“This issue is very personal to me, this young man went to school with my son,” he said. “This could’ve been my son, and that’s just really deeply painful to realize.”
He also pointed out how these tragedies do not seem to be going away.
“The fact that these types of tragedies continue to happen in our city over and over again, and that we’re just not resolving the root causes, is deeply troubling,” he said.
The council unanimously adopted a resolution to go on the record in formally “expressing its deepest condolences'' to Louis-Jacques’ family. Councilors also passed a policy order to schedule a “Safe Streets, Safe City” meeting as quickly as possible.
The initiative, which convenes the Cambridge Police Department and other city leaders, will work to combat and prevent violence in Cambridge, especially during the warmer months when incidents of violence tend to increase.
Cambridge Chief Public Health Officer Claude Jacob also delivered the weekly Covid-19 pandemic response update to the council at the meeting.
Similar to Massachusetts as a whole, the city is experiencing a spike in cases driven primarily by infections among young people, according to Jacob.
“When we drilled down to look at the nature of the spike, we noticed that it was greatest among young adults in their 20s with around 53 percent of the new confirmed infections last week among residents ages 20 to 29,” Jacob said.
According to the Cambridge Public Health Department, more infectious Covid-19 variants such as the B.1.1.7 strain also played a role in the rising case counts in Cambridge and in the state at large.
Cambridge remains in “Phase 3” of its Covid-19 reopening plan, despite the statewide move to “Phase 4” last week. Jacob attributes the rise in cases across Massachusetts and in the city to the relaxation of public health restrictions with the progression of reopening levels.
“Pandemic fatigue is real, which may be compounded by loosening restrictions which we've heard about across the Commonwealth and across the country,” Jacob said. “As I've stated before, we are not out of the woods yet.”
As the city continues its vaccine rollout plan, 24 percent of all Cambridge residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine as of March 23, according to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.
On April 5, the city will enter the final stage of “Phase Two,” which expands vaccine eligibility to include individuals age 55 and older, as well as those with one underlying medical condition.
Individuals age 16 and older in Massachusetts will be eligible to receive the vaccine after April 19, when the state enters “Phase Three” of its vaccination program.
—Staff writer Ryan S. Kim can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer David R. Shaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davidrwshaw.
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