The four largest cities in Massachusetts now officially fall in the high-risk category for COVID-19 spread, based on the Department of Public Health's latest weekly metric.
Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Lowell are among 23 communities that are now coded red, the designation assigned to municipalities where the average daily incidence rate is more than 8 cases per 100,000 residents, in the data published Wednesday evening. While Worcester also was red in last week's report, Boston, Lowell and Springfield were not.
Earlier in the day, a frustrated Boston Mayor Martin Walsh gave his take on the factors behind his city's new case rate of 8.5. Walsh said Boston is contending with "small outbreaks due to parties, due to college students, due to, quite honestly, irresponsibility."
A total of 847 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts are "associated with higher education testing," the department said in its report, including 218 which are new from last week.
"I do get frustrated because here we are today laying down millions of dollars to open school, we have businesses on the verge of bankruptcy, we have restaurants that need to open up, we have arts venues that need to open up, we have people that have to come back to work and we're in the process of (being) concerned about do we have to shut everything down again because 25 here, 25 there, 25 people over here decided to get together and have a party and raise the number in Boston to get us to the red point," Walsh said.
The 23 communities coded red are: Attleboro, Avon, Boston, Chelsea, Dracut, Everett, Framingham, Haverhill, Holliston, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marlborough, Methuen, Middleton, Nantucket, New Bedford, North Andover, Revere, Springfield, Winthrop and Worcester.
The color system took on new heft this week, after Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced communities that had not been designated red in any of the past three weeks' reports would be able to ease some restrictions. The communities that cannot currently advance in the reopening process are Attleboro, Avon, Boston, Chelsea, Dedham, Dracut, Everett, Framingham, Haverhill, Holliston, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marlborough, Methuen, Middleton, Monson, Nantucket, New Bedford, North Andover, Plainville, Revere, Saugus, Springfield, Tyngsborough, Winthrop, Worcester and Wrentham, according to the Department of Public Health.
The department on Wednesday reported 510 new test-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 32 new deaths. The seven-day weighted average positive test rate remained at 1%, and the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by 6, to 438.
— State House News Service
Here are the latest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases on Cape Ann:
Gloucester: 300 confirmed cases on Wednesday, seven more than previous Wednesday, and 9,600 residents. At least 26 residents have died from COVID-19 and 299 have recovered.
Rockport: 87 confirmed cases Wednesday, same as Monday, and 2,317 residents tested. Forty-four of the confirmed cases are among residents of long-term care and congregate living facilities as of Monday. Sixty-nine residents among the 87 who contracted the coronavirus had recovered as of Monday. At least 14 residents have died of the virus.
Essex: 28 confirmed cases on Wednesday, three more than previous Wednesday, and 1,139 tested.
Manchester: 23 confirmed cases on Wednesday, same as previous week, and 1,747 tested.
Local hospitals: On Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Beverly Hospital, there were three suspected and confirmed cases of coronavirus, up one from Monday, and no patients in the Intensive Care Unit, same as Monday. There were no cases at Addison Gilbert Hospital.