Mass. moves into high-risk COVID category

Red communities hit 158; Lawrence cases soar

THE STATE AS A WHOLE moved into the high-risk COVID-19 category on Thursday as 158 communities were colored red and case counts continued to mount precipitously in Lawrence.

The state as a whole reported 50 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks, its highest level since a new, more lenient metric system was implemented on November 6. The state’s positive test rate (positive tests divided by total tests) also hit a new high of 5.25 percent.

The number of high-risk, or red, communities totaled 158, up from 97 a week ago and 62 three weeks ago. There were 92 yellow, or moderate-risk, communities, and a total of 101 in the low-risk green and gray categories.

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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.

Lawrence reported 160.8 cases per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks and a positive test rate of 17.07 percent, up from 107.3 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of 14.7 percent a week ago.  Three other communities topped more than 100 cases per 100,000 people – Methuen (106.41), Nantucket (104.49), and Lowell (102.03).

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts rose from 420 in the previous two-week period to 520 in the current one, a gain of 27 percent. In long-term care facilities, where deaths are rising, the number of clusters increased  14 percent while cases jumped 28.5 percent.

The number of cases also continued to rise among younger people. In the 20-29 age category, where cases have concentrated over the last two months, there were 10,492 cases over the last two weeks, up 31 percent from last week’s report.