(WWLP) – As COVID-19 cases rise again, two western Massachusetts counties are now listed as having a “high” level of community spread of COVID-19. Berkshire and Franklin Counties are now among the 79 counties nationwide with a high level of spread according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, while Hampden and Hampshire Counties are listed as having a “medium” level of spread.
The CDC advises all people in counties with a “high” COVID level to wear a mask indoors and on public transportation. People in areas with “medium” COVID levels are advised to wear a mask on public transportation, as well as if you have symptoms. They also advise you consider masking if you are at high risk for severe illness.
According to the CDC’s latest data, Franklin County has 218 COVID cases per 100,000 residents, with 500 cases per 100,000 residents in Berkshire County. The case rate in Hampshire County is 363 per 100,000 residents, higher than Franklin County’s, but Hampshire County also has a lower rate of new COVID hospital admissions than Franklin County, at 5.7 per 100,000 residents, compared to 12.3 per 100,000. Hampden County also has a higher case rate than either Hampshire or Franklin County, at 267 per 100,000, but has a hosptial admission rate of 5.7 per 100,000.
The number of counties with “high” COVID levels increased in this week’s report, with Worcester, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Barnstable Counties in Massachusetts also being added to that tally. In Connecticut, Hartford, New Haven, and Middlesex Counties also have “high” COVID levels, according to the CDC.