No longer in COVID ‘red zone,’ Fall River launches vaccine hotline, website

SE Mass

BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — The number of Massachusetts cities and towns considered at high risk for coronavirus transmission continues to plummet.

The state Department of Public Health said Thursday the number of high-risk communities was 13, down from 26 the previous week.

It has declined for four consecutive weeks and peaked at 229 in mid-January.

The so-called “red zone” municipalities include Springfield and nearby Chicopee; the Merrimack Valley communities of Lawrence, Haverhill, Lowell and Dracut; New Bedford; and Brockton.

Fall River is one of the cities removed from the red zone, despite previously having one of the state’s highest infection rates and lowest vaccination rates.

In an effort to get more residents vaccinated, Mayor Paul Coogan and city health officials launched a new resource website on Friday, along with a multilingual call center open seven days a week.

“Between technology barriers, misinformation and the rise of mobile clinics, we know it can be hard for residents to find accessible information about vaccines in Fall River,” Coogan said. “There was a need for a reliable, one-stop shop for vaccine information.”

The 1-833-8VAXNOW hotline and are meant to help answer vaccine questions and assist residents seeking appointments, which are now available on almost a daily basis for everyone ages 16 and older, the mayor said.

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