Chelsea’s COVID-19 situation worsens; decision time for Rivera
Lynn spread slows while Somerville, Swampscott go yellow
OVERALL, the state’s COVID-19 status changed very little over the last week, but nevertheless there were some interesting stories tucked inside this week’s town-by-town breakdown.
The numbers indicate Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera has some decisions to make. He announced a crackdown on COVID-19 on August 14 in his community and vowed that if the state’s weekly numbers didn’t improve within two weeks he would push for more strenuous measures, including a rollback to an earlier stage of the state’s reopening plan. The state is currently in Phase 3, and Rivera said he would take Lawrence back to Phase 2 or Phase 1.
Despite Rivera’s call for a crackdown on noise and mask violations, a rollback in food service hours, and in-person educational visits to residents who travel outside the state, the situation in Lawrence is worsening, not improving. The number of cases per 100,000 people over the two-week period ending Wednesday rose to 10, up from 8.5 for the two-week period ending August 12.
An aide to Rivera said the mayor had not decided what action to take.
Lynn, where cases skyrocketed earlier this month, got a bit of good news in this week’s report. The number of cases per 100,000 people fell to 16.7 from 23.6 a week ago. That number placed Lynn just behind Revere, which reported 20.4 cases per 100,000 people.
Statewide, the number of cases per 100,000 people edged up slightly from 3.9 to 4, putting the state at the very bottom of the moderate risk category (between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000). The positive test rate (positive tests divided by total tests) remained low at 1.3 percent.
The number of high-risk, or red, communities (8 or more cases per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks) dropped from 10 to nine. Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, Everett (13.7 cases per 100,000), Lawrence (10), Winthrop (9.9), and Brockton (8.4) were holdovers. The two new additions, moving up from the yellow, or moderate risk, category, were Framingham (8.7) and Sutton (8).
The yellow group (between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000 people) remained steady at 30 members, but there was significant turnover within its ranks. Sixteen communities dropped out, including Framingham and Sutton, which moved up into the red category, and 14 others, including Fitchburg, Malden, Springfield, and Topsfield, that dropped into lower-risk categories.
Those 16 departing the yellow category were replaced by three communities that dropped from red to yellow (Salem, Saugus, and South Hadley) and 13 that moved up from the lower-risk categories.The newcomers included Somerville, where Mayor Joseph Curtatone has been an outspoken advocate for taking aggressive steps to curb the spread of COVID-19, and Swampscott, the governor’s hometown. Somerville had 4.7 cases per 100,000 people and Swampscott 5.7 cases.
The other 11 entering the yellow category this week were Agawam, Clinton, Dedham, Easton, Foxborough, Hudson, Lakeville, Norwood, Palmer, Swansea, and Westwood.