SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield is now a high-risk area for COVID-19 and according to the State Department of Public Health, the city is the only community in western Massachusetts to get this label in the past week.
Mayor Domenic Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris held a news conference Thursday morning discussing the high-risk situation in Springfield.
Mayor Sarno said this high-risk status means businesses in the city must continue to operate under the regulations of phase three-part one. That includes not expanding restaurant table seating capacity or opening up indoor performance venues.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced two weeks ago that as of Monday, September 28 restaurants can expand seating up to 10 people per table indoors and outdoors.
Springfield Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said there have been 51 cases reported in just the last three days and 26 cases in the city on Wednesday alone. She says she’s confident the risk level will be able to come down but city residents need to take precautions for this to happen.
Just last week, Springfield was deemed as a moderate risk. In the last two weeks, the city has had 183 new cases with a positive testing rate of nearly two percent.
Chicopee, Holyoke, and Wilbraham also saw an increase in cases, but they remain at moderate risk.
The state DPH also said there were 218 new COVID-19 cases associated with college campuses in the last week. As for the rest of the state, there are 510 new confirmed COVID-19 cases overall.
46 of those cases are in western Massachusetts.
More than 14,000 people were tested, for a positive testing rate of three and a half percent. There have been nearly 130,000 cases in the state since the start of the pandemic and 32 more people have died of the virus. Two of them are in Hampden county for a statewide total of more than 9,200 deaths.
Aside from the rise in these numbers, for the first time in three days, the total number of hospitalizations fell by six patients.
The number of ICU cases also dropped by 18 which is the most since July.
22News Reporter Katrina Kincade will look into what this means for public health, and how will it effect re-opening plans on 22News at 5 p.m.