BOSTON (WWLP) – There are only three western Massachusetts communities at high-risk for COVID-19 spread, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

State public health officials on Thursday, listed Springfield, Chicopee, and Southampton in the “red zone.” This is a big drop in the number of cities/towns in the “red zone”; last week, eight communities were listed, the week before that was 15 and prior to that, was over 20

DPH: 8 western Massachusetts communities at high-risk for COVID-19

A “red zone” means more than 25 COVID-19 cases were reported in those areas within the last two weeks. Health officials take population size into account when determining an area’s level of COVID-19 spread.    

Public health officials also reported on Thursday, 24 local communities at moderate risk (yellow zone) for spreading the virus: Adams, Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, North Adams, Northampton, Palmer, South Hadley, Southwick, Ware, West Springfield, Westfield, Wilbraham, and Williamstown.

A “yellow zone” means less than or equal to 25 COVID-19 cases were reported. Last week, state health officials reported 17 western Massachusetts areas in the yellow zone.

DPH: 23 high-risk communities in western Massachusetts

The number of low-risk (green zone) communities across western Massachusetts has dropped to three; Lenox, Pittsfield, and Sunderland. A “green zone” means less than or equal to 10 COVID-19 cases were reported in the last 14 days. 

Last week, there were five cities/towns listed in that category.

Regardless of the community you’re in, health experts are urging everyone to stay just as vigilant, in order for us to keep making progress.

“Everyone should be following masking, distancing, and limiting interactions but we do know that those communities that the rate of infection could be a little higher, people should be aware of that and monitor their activities perhaps just a little bit more so,” said Chief Medical Officer of Mercy Medical Center Dr. Robert Roose.

When it comes to restrictions for businesses, Dr. Roose told 22News there are no differences for communities that are in different color categories for infection.

Massachusetts reported 33 new COVID-19 related deaths and 1,928 new active cases. Overall, the state has reported 543,696 cases and 15,624 deaths since the pandemic started in March 2020.

Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report