Some communities are still high risk, despite the state’s new COVID metrics

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts is seeing more COVID-19 cases, just like the rest of the country.

Four western Massachusetts communities are now designated as high-risk COVID-19 communities according to the state.

West Springfield, Holyoke, Springfield, and Chicopee are now all in the red. Before, risk assessment was done strictly on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents over two-week spans.

The state’s new community risk assessment now takes into consideration population size. But even with that consideration, four communities in western Massachusetts, including West Springfield are in the red.

West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt says, “What we’re seeing really is the clusters. Folks are getting sick at work or are sick at home and going to work, spreading it like that. Also spreading it within the household.”

Communities with between 10,000 and 50,000 people, like West Springfield and Holyoke have to hit more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents and hold a positive test rate of five percent or higher.

Mayor Reichelt is looking into doing a town-wide testing before Thanksgiving. Cities with more than 50,000 people, like Chicopee and Springfield, must see 10 cases per 100,000 people and a four percent positive test rate to be considered high risk.

Since the beginning of the second wave, Springfield has been doing outreach in heavily impacted neighborhoods after seeing some spikes from gatherings.

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