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Boston Coronavirus Cases Surge, City Added To 23 ‘High Risk’ Zones

KEY POINTS

  • Boston and 10 other Massachusetts cities have been listed as coronavirus red zones
  • State health officials reported more than 8 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days
  • 23 municipalities in Massachusetts are considered “high risk” for COVID-19 infection

Boston and 10 other Massachusetts cities have been listed as red zones or “high risk” areas as of Wednesday night as a sudden spike in the number of cases bring the state’s total to 128,753.

According to Boston News, health officials from the Department of Public Health reported more than eight cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. They also confirmed 32 new COVID-19 casualties, which brings Massachusetts’ death toll up to 9,242. 

In all, 23 municipalities in the state are considered “high risk” for coronavirus infection. The new communities joining Boston on the list are Attleboro, Avon, Dracut, Haverhill, Lowell, Lynnfield, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, and Springfield. 

Health officials also moved three communities—Saugus, Tyngsborough, and Wrentham—to moderate risk as their infection rates continue to experience a drop. 

Before the release of the report, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city was not moving into the second step of its three-phase reopening plan due to the surge of coronavirus cases. 

“We expect to be in the red zone very soon, and it is likely to happen this evening. That means we’ve been seeing more than eight new cases per day per 100,000 people population,” Walsh said Wednesday.

During a press conference, Walsh noted that half of the new cases reported in the city involved people aged 29 and younger. He also said the city would maintain its coronavirus restrictions to curb the virus’s spread, WBUR reported.

Food courts may continue to operate, and movie theaters may go to a 50% capacity and limit their audience to 250 people. Gatherings will be limited to 25 people for indoor events and 50 for outdoor affairs. 

According to WCVB, public school students in Boston will begin returning to classrooms Thursday, depending on their grade level and academic needs. The highest-need students will be the first to transition using a hybrid model. 

Pre-schoolers and kindergartners would be required to report to school in the second week of October, while first- and third-graders would follow the week of Oct. 22.

Under the hybrid model, students are to learn in-person for two days a week and switch back to remote-learning the other three days of school. Families are given the option to keep their children remote. 

Madrid has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in Spain's second wave Madrid has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in Spain’s second wave Photo: AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO

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Bed-Stuy ZIP Code Added To City Watchlist For Coronavirus Growth

BED-STUY, BROOKLYN — A ZIP code covering Bed-Stuy has been added to a list of areas where city health officials are worried about an increase in coronavirus cases, the health department said Wednesday.

The 11205 ZIP code — which stretches over Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and an eastern portion of Bed-Stuy — is one of seven neighborhoods where the coronavirus test positivity rate has been on the rise, and recently reached between 2 and 3 percent.

The seven neighborhoods were added Wednesday to the Health Department’s areas of concern, though they have not yet reached the “alarming” rate of 10 New York City neighborhoods where positivity rates have spiked above 3 percent.

Those 10 Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, now including Fresh Meadows/Hilcrest, are part of coronavirus clusters that have prompted a ramp up in testing and enforcement of coronavirus rules in the last week.

The city’s overall 14-day positivity rate was at 1.43 percent Wednesday. The daily New York City rate had spiked to a months-long high of 3 percent on Tuesday, largely because of the neighborhood-level upticks.

In the Bed-Stuy ZIP code, the positivity rate’s 14-day average reached 2.07 percent Wednesday, which includes an increase of .3 percent from the previous day.

The Health Department has already tripled the capacity of COVID Express testing sites in Fort Greene and Crown Heights, another newly-added ZIP code to the watchlist, the department said.

The city has also started fining New Yorkers who refused to wear masks after being offered one and have started checking up on private schools throughout the areas of concern.

Here are the 14-day average positivity rates for all 17 neighborhoods of concern as of Wednesday:

10 Neighborhoods With Rates Above 3 Percent

  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway (11691): 4.74%

  • Gravesend/Homerest (11223): 6.9%

  • Midwood (11230): 5.62%

  • Borough Park (11219): 6.51%

  • Bensonhurst/Mapleton (11204): 6.31%

  • Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/ Sheepshead Bay (11229): 4.13%

  • Flatlands/Midwood (11210): 4.66%

  • Kew Gardens (11415): 3.29%

  • Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok (11367): 3.68%

  • Fresh Meadows/Hillcrest (11366): 3.08%

Seven Neighborhoods With Rates Between 2 and 3 Percent

  • East Williamsburg/ Williamsburg (11211/ 11249): 2.06%

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (West)/Clinton Hill/Fort Greene (11205): 2.07%

  • Kensington/Windsor Terrace (11218): 2.79%

  • Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay (11235): 2.97%

  • Crown Heights (East) (11213): 2.30%

  • Rego Park (11374): 2.66%

  • Hillcrest/Jamaica Estates/Jamaica Hills (11432): 2.69%

This article originally appeared on the Bed-Stuy Patch

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