SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield moved back into the high-risk “red zone” Thursday, due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the community.
According to a news release sent to 22News from the City of Springfield, Mayor Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris have been notified by the state Department of Public Health that Springfield will be moving back into the “red zone.”
The city’s positive test rate is now over the four percent mark. City leaders are reminding everyone to follow proper CDC guidelines; wash your hands, keep your distance, and wear your mask.
“It’s going to take all of us,” Caulton-Harris said. “Neighborhood council, civic associations, parents, institutions of a higher party, I am calling on you.”
It was just two weeks ago, on March 18, that Springfield moved into the moderate-risk category, or the yellow zone, for the first time in nearly a year. The increased positivity rate is a setback, but not unexpected.
Communities all across the Commonwealth are seeing a spike in COVID case numbers.
“We still weren’t clear when everything started to open back up and stuff like that,” Damaris Marti of Chicopee said. “So I think we still need to just be a little bit careful.”
Alex Bokalidz of Springfield said, “Pay attention to the precautions man because that’s what they’re there for.”
The city is ramping up efforts to get people vaccinated. The first of four pop-up clinics at the Raymond Jordan Senior Center was fully booked, with about 200 people getting their shot.
Mayor Domenic Sarno is calling on local businesses to better enforce mask-wearing and social distancing. Full statement below:
“I have just received word from DPH that we are moving back in the Red. Again, Helen and I have stated continuously we must stay ever vigilant and continue to follow all COVID-19 public health personal and business guidelines. Please do not get me wrong, for I deeply appreciate our residents and business community for their continued patience, understanding, and efforts. I know it has been frustrating, but some are now becoming very lax. We must stay ever vigilant and double down on all our prevention efforts. Working together we will once again move to yellow, then green as we move to defeat this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.”
“COVID-19 is a highly contagious transmittable virus as evidenced by the fact that the city of Springfield’s status has returned from yellow to red in just under two weeks. This virus can have lasting chronic health impacts and even lead to death. I implore our residents and businesses to take COVID-19 seriously as it is a killer virus that has claimed the lives of over 550,000 Americans,” said HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris. “I have every confidence that our status will change quickly back to yellow and then green. Wear face coverings; practice good hand hygiene; socially distance by at least 6 feet; stay home if you’re sick.”Domenic Sarno, Springfield Mayor
Also back in the red locally were Granby and Ludlow. In all, a total of 11 communities in western Massachusetts are in the red category.
Greenfield is in the green zone, but they marked a grim milestone of more than 100 COVID-19 deaths. The mayor there is reminding everyone to stay vigilant.