Communities at high-risk for COVID-19 grow
Situation worsens in Lawrence, despite weeks of effort
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER talked up the state’s progress in dealing with COVID-19 on Wednesday, but the latest data using the administration’s most closely watched metric showed the situation worsening on several fronts.
The number of cases per 100,000 people statewide over the last two weeks continued to rise, going from 4.2 a week ago to 4.6 on Wednesday. That increase put the state at the lower end of the moderate risk category, which runs from 4 to 8 cases per 100,000 people.
The number of high-risk communities, those with 8 or more cases per 100,000, expanded from 8 to 13. Chelsea remained the highest, with 25.4 cases per 100,000. Despite strong state and municipal efforts to tamp down the spread of COVID-19 in Lawrence, the cases per 100,000 there rose from 14.9 to 20.5, putting the municipality in second place.
Revere and Everett came in third (18.5 cases) and fourth (18), followed at a distance by Lynnfield (11), Framingham (10.1), New Bedford (10.3), Dedham (9.7), and Lynn (9.5). The remaining four high-risk ncommunities – Chatham, Methuen, Monson, and Winthrop – were all between 8 and 9.
Over the last week, the state has been channeling resources, information, and law enforcement help into the five of the state’s hardest-hit communities – Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Lawrence, and Lynn. Of the five, only one, Lawrence, saw its cases per 100,000 people rise over the last week. Baker said Framingham would be added to the group of communities receiving special attention starting this weekend.
The number of communities in the moderate risk category held fairly steady overall this week. The total increased from 48 to 49, with turnover among roughly a third of them. Somerville kept inching toward the high-risk category, moving from 5.8 cases per 100,000 last week to 7.7 this week. Others toward the high end of the moderate risk category were Saugus and Merrimac (7.8 cases per 100,000), Boston and Worcester (7.5 cases), and Malden (7.4).The data were released in the evening, well after Baker’s State House press conference where he trumpeted the second lowest positive test rate (positive tests as a percentage of all tests) in the nation and a sharp increase in testing. He said the vast majority of communities in the state are doing very well.
“We’re continuing to see excellent progress across the Commonwealth,” he said.