62% of cities and towns now high risk

Number rises by 29 in latest state report

THE NUMBER of communities considered high risk for COVID-19 resumed its upward climb on Thursday, as 29 municipalities were added to the list, bringing the total to 219, or 62 percent of all cities and towns in the state.

Even as the number of communities colored red on the state’s color-coded map increased, the number of new cases over the last two weeks held steady, dropping 1.3 percent to 59,545.

The number of communities with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people dropped from 12 to 10 over the last two weeks. Ayer topped the list at 172 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Lawrence (130.9 cases), West Boylston (118.4), Gardner (115.4), and Fall Fiver (112.5).

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The state as a whole remained high risk, with 61.1 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate (positive tests divided by total tests) of 7.71 percent. Both measurements were up slightly compared to a week ago.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday said recently implemented restrictions on how many people can go inside restaurants and other businesses will remain in place until at least January 24. They had been intended to expire on January 10. The restrictions limit the number of patrons at restaurants, stores, and churches to 25 percent and restrict social gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

The state’s vaccination dashboard indicated Massachusetts has received 328,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and 141,108 of them have been administered, including 1,213 that were second doses. State officials have blamed the big gap between deliveries and actual shots on timing and reporting issues.