More than half the state’s cities and towns are now at high risk for coronavirus transmission for the first time as some local leaders believe they’re finally seeing the full effects of the Thanksgiving holiday.
See the weekly city and town numbers.
“The Thanksgiving gatherings have really created an increase, without question,” Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan said. “I’m fearful right now with Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. I’m just asking everybody to please just celebrate with immediate family. It’s not worth the risk.”
A record-shattering 187 cities and towns are in the high-risk “red” zone this week based on positivity and population-based incidence rates, jumping up from 158 last week and skyrocketing from just 16 when the state revamped its metrics in early November — a climb that’s left some local and state leaders increasingly alarmed.
The state’s average daily incidence rate rose to 65.1 cases per 100,000 people from over the 14-day period ending Tuesday, up from an incidence rate of 50 cases per 100,000 residents in last week’s Department of Public Health report. That uptick, combined with the state’s 6% positivity rate over the last two weeks, put Massachusetts at high risk under its own metrics just days after the statewide rollback to Phase 3, Step 1 of reopening went into effect.
Boston was designated as moderate-risk “yellow” this week along with 75 other cities and towns — with the Hub again avoiding the red zone despite worsening metrics. But some of the cities that joined Boston in rolling back to Phase 2, Step 2 of reopening for three weeks beginning on Wednesday — including Brockton, Lynn and Winthrop — fell into the high-risk category.
“This is really a collaborative approach to try to really limit the spread of this deadly virus,” Sullivan, the Brockton mayor, said. “If we can just for three weeks try to put a pause on things and get control of the surge — that’s really the game plan.”
There were glimmers of hope this week: Health care workers across the Bay State are receiving their first doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
And on Cape Cod, officials announced another expansion of coronavirus testing they hope will put even more of a “dent” in the peninsula’s “testing desert.”
New COVID-19 testing sites are now open in Falmouth and Hyannis. And Outer Cape Health Services plans to both double its testing hours in Wellfleet and Provincetown and add new testing at its Harwich Port location.
“The testing rate is improving on the Cape,” state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, said on a Cape Cod Reopening Task Force call with reporters Thursday. “But we continue to lag the state.”
158 Massachusetts cities and towns are now at high risk for coronavirus
97 Massachusetts cities and towns are now at high risk for coronavirus [+chart]
81 Massachusetts cities and towns at high risk for coronavirus, full effects of Thanksgiving likely not known until Christmas
62 Massachusetts cities and towns are now at high risk for coronavirus
30 Massachusetts cities and towns are now at high risk for coronavirus
16 Massachusetts cities and towns labeled high-risk for coronavirus after state changes metrics
Here are the 187 cities and towns at high risk for COVID-19 transmission:
Abington, Acushnet, Adams, Agawam, Amesbury, Andover, Ashburnham, Ashland, Athol, Attleboro, Auburn, Avon, Ayer, Barnstable, Barre, Bellingham, Berkley, Billerica, Blackstone, Boxford, Boylston, Braintree, Brewster, Bridgewater, Brockton, Brookfield, Burlington, Carver, Charlton, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Chicopee, Clinton, Cohasset, Concord, Danvers, Dartmouth, Deerfield, Dighton, Douglas, Dracut, Dudley, East Bridgewater, East Longmeadow, Easton, Edgartown, Everett, Fairhaven, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Franklin, Freetown, Gardner, Georgetown, Gloucester, Grafton, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Groveland, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Haverhill, Holbrook, Holden, Holyoke, Hudson and Hull.
Ipswich, Lakeville, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lee, Leicester, Lenox, Leominster, Littleton, Lowell, Ludlow, Lunenburg, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Mansfield, Marion, Marlboro, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Medway, Melrose, Mendon, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleboro, Middleton, Milford, Millbury, Millis, Monsoon, Montague, Nantucket, New Bedford, Newbury, Newburyport, Norfolk, North Andover, North Attleboro, North Reading, Northboro, Northbridge, Norton, Norwood, Oak Bluffs, Orange, Oxford, Palmer, Paxton, Peabody, Pembroke, Pepperell, Pittsfield, Plainville, Plymouth, Princeton, Quincy, Randolph, Raynham, Reading, Rehoboth, Revere, Rochester, Rockland, Rowley and Rutland.
Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Seekonk, Shirley, Shrewsbury, Somerset, Southampton, Southboro, Southbridge, Southwick, Spencer, Springfield, Sterling, Stoneham, Stoughton, Sturbridge, Sutton, Swampscott, Swansea, Taunton, Templeton, Tewksbury, Tisbury, Topsfield, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Uxbridge, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Wareham, Webster, West Boylston, West Bridgewater, West Newbury, West Springfield, Westboro, Westfield, Westford, Westminster, Westport, Weymouth, Whitman, Wilbraham, Wilmington, Winchendon, Winthrop, Woburn, Worcester and Yarmouth.
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