Even as the state’s overall rate remains low, in recent weeks spikes in COVID-19 cases have been seen in several communities, many of them in the Greater Boston area.
Wednesday’s latest report had nine Massachusetts cities and towns listed in the red category, meaning more than eight cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people. Those cities and towns included Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Framingham, Lawrence, Lynn, Revere, Sutton and Winthrop. And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday that although the city as a whole has a relatively low rate of coronavirus cases, in East Boston the rate is now 11.4%.
Here’s a closer look at six of the key coronavirus hot spots in Greater Boston and what those communities are doing to stop the spread:
Chelsea has been one of the hot spots in Massachusetts since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Wednesday’s Department of Public Health report, the rate of positive cases has jumped to 6.07%, just below Lynn as the highest rate in the state. A total of 189 people have tested positive in the last 14 days alone, bringing the city’s total to 3,309.
The city has been the focus of increased testing and public awareness campaigns since the start of the summer in an effort to bring the situation under control.
Attorney General Maura Healey helped distribute baby supplies and other essentials in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where she explained the bevy of complaints that her office has received throughout the crisis, including issues with landlords and workers’ safety concerns.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday that a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the city’s East Boston neighborhood could result in additional restrictions, up to and including a curfew.
In the past week, 127 East Boston residents tested positive for COVID-19, a rate of 11.4%. That’s five times higher than the citywide positive test rate of 2.3%.
Marty Martinez, chief of the city’s Office of Health and Human Services, said Boston is looking at a “multi-pronged” approach including community outreach and education and increased testing. Depending on what they find about where the new cases are coming from, he said additional restrictions could also be recommended.
For now, Walsh said the city will focus on mobilizing teams to provide safety materials and education to residents and businesses in East Boston. The city is also moving its mobile testing team to East Boston starting on Tuesday, and city officials are talking with the state about finding temporary isolation housing so people can quarantine away from their families if they test positive.
Boston mayor Marty Walsh laid out even more plans in the city’s response to the pandemic.
Everett currently has the fourth-highest rate of coronavirus cases in the state, at 4.62% over the past 14 days. There have been 103 positive tests in that period, bringing the city’s total number of cases to 2,025.
Earlier this month, the City of Everett began requiring everyone over the age of 2 to wear a face mask or face-covering in all public places, including both indoor and outdoor spaces, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Anyone who doesn’t follow the rules could face a $300 fine.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he realized his new policy sounded extreme, but he said it was necessary.
Public locations include, but are not limited to, parks, businesses, outdoor spaces and all public spaces, according to the mayor’s statement. People visiting restaurants are permitted to remove their masks while consuming food or drink, but must wear a mask while entering, exiting or moving about the establishment.
If you’re caught without a mask in Everett, it’s going to cost you.
Lynn has recently emerged as a major new coronavirus hot spot, with a rate of more than 6% over the past two weeks, nearly three times the state average. According to this week’s state Department of Public Health report, Lynn had the highest rate of percent positivity in the last 14 days and reported 320 new positive tests. Overall, the city has now had more than 4,000 cases.
The bulk of the new coronavirus cases in Lynn have been in people age 18 to 40.
Officials said close living quarters for residents and a large percentage of essential workers, combined with people letting their guard down and holding large gatherings like birthday parties and barbecues, are seen as contributors to the rise in cases.
The city said it plans to crack down on violators with fines and are planning more outreach and testing to residents.
The coronavirus numbers are continuing to rise in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Revere has the third highest rate of coronavirus cases in the state, at 5.51%. Over 200 new cases were reported over the past 14 days, bringing its total to 2,275.
An expanded campaign to spread awareness about the coronavirus began earlier this month in Revere due to the high rate of cases.
Officials hoping to lower these figures focused their efforts on providing outreach at certain public hot spots, including Revere Beach. The city gave out fliers and masks and provide public health messages over a broadcast system in both English and Spanish.
That came just days after Mayor Brian Arrigo announced he had cancelled upcoming city events, including the scheduled high school graduation ceremony.
At public parks, Revere police established additional patrols to encourage visitors to maintain social distance. The city also stepped up efforts to disinfect playground equipment and extended free COVID-19 testing through Sept. 12.
A spike in COVID-19 cases in Revere is prompting city leaders to issue new guidance to stop the spread.
Town officials in Winthrop are urging all of their residents to be tested for the novel coronavirus amid a spike in positive cases. It also reactivated its emergency response center.
The town’s average daily COVID-19 incidence rate per 100,000 residents was 11.37 between Aug. 2 and Aug. 15, marking an increase over the previous testing period and prompting state health officials to deem it a “high-risk” community.
The town said pop-pup testing sites will be available as well.
Factors contributing to the spike include people not wearing masks, graduation parties and the fact that Winthrop is surrounded by other high-risk communities.
Winthrop, now considered a high-risk community, is reactivating its emergency operations center.