The Mitchell Administration should give careful consideration to a motion filed by New Bedford City Councilor-at-Large Brian Gomes that could be a game-changer in the war against COVID-19 locally.

Gomes, who chairs the City Council Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods, wants Mayor Jon Mitchell and the New Bedford Health Department to establish a mobile unit to bring COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and information about the virus to otherwise hard-to-reach neighborhoods of the city.

The unit would schedule visits to neighborhoods where residents might not have access to the internet and may not be familiar with the process of scheduling an appointment to be vaccinated. Gomes says residents of some of the less affluent neighborhoods may not have transportation to mass vaccination locations. He hopes a mobile unit might have more success reaching immigrants, who often live in the shadows, by going where they live.

Gomes says the Mitchell Administration could use the city's Emergency Command Center as a mobile COVID unit and use federal emergency COVID relief funds for municipalities to pay for it.

The proposal is a sound one, and the Mitchell Administration should promptly adopt it. The mobile unit is a concept that should have been adopted from the beginning by the Baker Administration. Bringing help to where it is needed makes perfect sense.

Councilor-at-Large Ian Abreu has also filed a sensible motion for advancing the vaccination process. Abreu wants the Southeastern Regional Transportation Authority to provide free transportation to the mass vaccination centers for seniors. Federal relief funds are available for such a service.

Both proposals show leadership in dealing with the COVID crisis. Keep the ideas coming.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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