Nantucket has highest COVID-19 rate in state

Baker eases restrictions on dining group sizes, bar eating

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER eased some restrictions on dining out Wednesday as COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis statewide continued to rise and the number of communities at high or moderate risk rose sharply.

The number of cases per 100,000 people statewide over the previous two weeks continued to inch up, rising from 4.6 a week ago to 4.9 on Wednesday. The 4.9 number is toward the lower end of the moderate risk category, which is defined as between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000 people. The Baker administration defines high-risk as more than 8 cases per 100,000 people.

Nantucket remained in the high-risk category for the second week in a row, having the highest number of cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks. Nantucket had 26.5 cases per 100,000, higher than Chelsea at 22.4, Lawrence at 22.1, and Revere at 18.1.

A total of 15 communities were in the high-risk category, two down from a week ago. Dedham, Lynnfield, Monson, and Plainville dropped out, while Marlborough and Holliston moved in.

Framingham, Wrentham, Everett, and Lynn were bunched in the 11 to 12 range, while Marlborough, Holliston, Worcester, Winthrop, Tyngsboro, Saugus, and New Bedford were bunched between 8.3 and 9.5.

The number of communities in the moderate risk category jumped from 36 last week to 63 on Wednesday. Boston continued its slow rise toward the high-risk group, hitting 7.9 on Wednesday. Lowell and Methuen were also at 7.9. Other communities above 7 cases per 100,000 included Attleboro and Fall River, both at 7.6, and Hingham at 7.5.

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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.

Gov. Charlie Baker said he plans to ease two restrictions on dining out on Monday, allowing restaurants to seat patrons in groups maxing out at 10 instead of six and allowing patrons to eat at restaurant bars as long as they are eating and socially distanced. Bars serving alcohol only remain closed.

“No standing around the bar, OK?” Baker said at a press conference at Mill City BBQ and Brew in Lowell.