Is Massachusetts heading for a potential second wave of COVID-19?

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Health experts predicted we’d see a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the fall or winter and it may already be starting.

Massachusetts had 986 new confirmed cases on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to nearly 144,000. And this comes as more western Massachusetts communities get moved to the state’s red high risk category for COVID-19.

7 western Massachusetts communities at high-risk for COVID-19, DPH map shows

The data the state tracks on COVID-19 is all going in the wrong direction. Positive test rates, hospitalization rates and number of deaths are all up compared to a week ago.

22News spoke with local doctors who are blaming the rise in cases on people ignoring the guidelines and having large gatherings at home.

“If you look at most of the new cases, especially in Hampden County, mostly all of them can be tracked to private gatherings at people’s houses,” said Dr. Esteban DelPilar, an Infectious Disease specialist at Baystate Health.

Dr. DelPilar said mask wearing will be crucial in preventing the spread this winter when the weather keeps people indoors.

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