Attleboro elevated to ‘high risk’ level for COVID-19 outbreaks

Coronavirus

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has continued categorizing communities by risk level to determine where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring in the state.

On Wednesday, the state released a new map showing Attleboro is now in the “high risk” category for COVID-19 outbreaks. This means the number of average daily tests is greater than eight per 100,000 residents.

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Courtesy Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Mayor Paul Heroux said with a situation like this, there is no playbook to follow, but he will keep residents informed every step of the way. He expects to have a Zoom call with the Department of Public Health on Thursday or Friday to talk about what this means for the city moving forward.

According to Heroux, the state looked at data from Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. to Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. and found 60 additional cases.

In a community of about 45,000, the positivity rate came out to about 9.3 per 100,000, putting the city in the red zone for the first time.

“I’m not sure yet what that’s going to mean for the businesses now that we’re a red community,” Heroux said. “It’s assessed every week or two weeks so we could quickly slip out of that again but it could have an impact on the school, we could go all remote, the school department is not under my jurisdiction, that’s under the school committee and the school’s superintendent but I know they are thinking and talking about that anyway.”

Heroux says that he plans to include the superintendent, fire chief, and other department heads in the city on the Zoom call so they are all on the same page.

He made it clear that the city being moved to the red zone is not because of a recent cluster among firefighters in the city.

New Bedford also remains in the “high risk” category after being placed in the red zone last month.

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