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23 Massachusetts Communities, Including Springfield, Now At High Risk For COVID-19

color coded map
Massachusetts DPH

The three largest cities in Massachusetts are now all considered at high risk for COVID-19 infections according to data released by the state’s health department. 

Boston, Worcester, and Springfield have recently seen their biggest jumps in new daily cases in several months. 

All three cities are now designated “red” on the state’s color-coded map that shows incidence rates for COVID-19.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno called the spike in cases “unfortunate.”

"This is a wake up call," said Sarno. "This is a dangerous dangerous virus."

The city recorded a new death from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a month.

As a result of the high risk designation, Springfield and about 30 municipalities in central and eastern Massachusetts are banned from going to the next part of the state’s phased reopening on Oct 5.

Contact tracing and community outreach are being used to try to reverse the sudden surge in new COVID-19 cases in Springfield.

Springfield has seen more than 175 new cases in the last week and a-half. 

Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said there are clusters in four residential neighborhoods. Some appear to have resulted from social gatherings over the Labor Day weekend. 

One has been traced to people who traveled to the city from Florida.

"We have found positive cases not only  in that home -- which were substantial -- but also in neighboring homes that the individuals visited,"  Caulton-Harris said.

Massachusetts requires travelers from Florida, and all but nine low risk states to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result.

Violators risk a $500 fine.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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