HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thirteen cities and towns across Massachusetts reverted back to Phase 3, Step 1 due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

A number of places will have to downsize, or even shut their doors again. Holyoke is one of the municipalities that will be taking a step back in the state’s reopening plan, forcing indoor performance venues and certain indoor leisure activities to close again.

Capacity at gyms will be cut from 50 percent to 40 percent, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people again. The same goes for arcades, lower-contact indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, driving/flight schools, libraries, and museums. Indoor theaters and performance venues must close, as well as roller skating rinks, trampoline parks, obstacle courses, laser tag, and escape rooms.

The rise in cases is leaving many concerned and on edge.

Springfield resident, Michael Bushey told 22News, “There’s more people at the grocery store, people seem to be in more of a panic they are racing around getting what they need, so I think it might go back to how it was in March or April.”

If you live in Holyoke or surrounding towns, you may have received an emergency alert on your phone Monday.

“MAGovt Alert COVID19 is a serious threat in [city/town name]. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Do not share food drinks utensils. Stay home if sick. Get a free COVID test. Stop gatherings with family and friends. Protect you and your loved ones. For more info visit mass.gov/stopcovid19.” 

The emergency alerts were sent to the phones of residents and neighboring towns in the high-risk, red color-coded communities from the COVID-19 Command Center as a way to warn residents about persistently high coronavirus threat. Springfield is the only other local city that is in Phase 3 Step 1.

Emergency Alerts for High-Risk COVID-19 Communities

  • Acushnet
  • Attleboro
  • Boston
  • Brockton
  • Chelmsford
  • Gloucester
  • Holyoke
  • Hudson
  • Kingston
  • Leicester
  • Lowell
  • Malden
  • Marlborough
  • Methuen
  • Middleton
  • North Andover
  • Plymouth
  • Randolph
  • Springfield
  • Waltham
  • Webster
  • Woburn

Step 1 of Phase 3

Communities may not move forward to Step 2 until the Department of Public Health weekly data indicates the community is no longer considered a “high risk” community. The communities that have been designated as high-risk for three consecutive three weeks include Acushnet, Brockton, Chelmsford, Holyoke, Hudson, Kingston, Leicester, Malden, Plymouth, Randolph, Waltham, Webster and Woburn.

Holyoke Testing Sites

WALK UP COVID-19 Testing Site in Holyoke

A walk-up COVID testing site opened in Holyoke at 323 Appleton St.  Testing hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2pm to 6pm.

DRIVE UP COVID-19 Testing Site in Holyoke

A Stop the Spread test has opened at Holyoke Community College.

  • The site will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 7am – 11am. Tuesday and Thursday 2pm -7pm.
  • Turnaround time for results is typically 4 days or fewer.
  • This test site is first come, first serve. There are no appointmentsPlease do not call the Health Department or Holyoke Community College to make an appointment.
  • The test site at Holyoke Community College is a drive-through only test site. Please do not get out of your vehicle. Signage and Campus Police will be readily apparent to help you access the site easily.
  • To help speed up the process, please have your information ready. They will ask for your full name, address (you must be a Massachusetts resident), phone number and email address.
  • There is no cost for the testing. You do not need a referral, nor do you need to be symptomatic.
  • The test style will be the less invasive swab in the lower nostril. The older style that required further insertion of the swab will not be used.
  • If you have previously tested positive, DPH and CDC guidelines do not recommend getting retested at this time.
  • If you are acutely symptomatic, particularly if you have a high fever, consider scheduling a test with your Primary Care Physician.

Springfield Testing Sites

  • AFC Urgent Care: 415 Cooley Street, Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (appointment only, register online)
  • American Medical Response: Eastfield Mall, Daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 1-833-267-2684 (drive-through, no appointment necessary but pre-register here is encourage)
  • American Medical Response: 595 Cottage Street, Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 1-833–267-2684 (appointment only, pull up curbside testing)
  • Baystate Health:
    • 298 Carew Street, Call to make appointment Monday – Friday 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. 413-794-0012
    • Brightwood Health Center: 380 Plainfield Street, Call to make appointment Monday – Friday 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. 413-794-0012
    • Reed Village: 49 Lionel Benoit Road, Tuesday 10/27 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Call to register 413-785-4535
    • Riverview: 82 Division Street, Wednesday 10/28 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Call to register 413-737-7696
    • Forest Park: 25 Barney Lane, Friday 10/30 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Call to register 413-785-4551

State public health officials reported 1,216 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide to 148,336. A total of 20,086 new tests were performed with an overall of 5,723,873 molecular tests administered.

Credit: Mass DPH

Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

The Stop the Spread program is intended to provide low barrier, free, and easy to access testing to all Massachusetts residents.

  • Open to all Massachusetts residents
  • Testing is not restricted to residents of the cities where sites are located
  • You don’t need to have any symptom(s)
  • No cost to you
  • Out-of-state residents are not eligible for free testing under the Stop the Spread program