Attleboro added to list of “red” COVID-19 communities

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3D illustration of coronavirus

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Following a report of 60 additional COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, Attleboro has joined a list of cities and towns that have exceeded what is considered a safe rate.

According to a social media post by Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux, the town was designated a “red” community earlier this week by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This means that the case rate has exceeded what the state considers a safe one, roughly 8 per 100,000.

Our rate is now 9.3 people per 100,000. Attleboro has about 45,000 people in the city,” wrote Heroux. “We have had 60 new cases over the last two weeks.”

Recently, the town saw a number of cases among members of the Attleboro Fire Department and students in the city’s schools. Heroux wrote that the blame cannot be placed on the firefighters that have tested positive, that they are no more or less a part of the total number.

Heroux will be meeting virtually with the Mass DPH to discuss next steps for the city. This will include the city health agent, the city nurse, the fire chief, the police chief, the city personnel office director, the school superintendent, the school nurse, and a chief doctor from Sturdy Hospital .

Heroux reminded Attleboro residents that they need to wear face masks, practice social distancing, avoid large crowds, wash hands, and be careful to avoid cross-contamination.

As I learn more information about what are the expectations for us as a community from the state, I will let you know,” Herou wrote. “Please stay patient as information is constantly evolving. There is no playbook.”

Other communities labeled “red”

Near the end of September, both Plainville and Wrentham were added to this list as well, following double-digit increases over a two-week period. Plainville’s increase of 11 cases involved multiple family members. It was noted that due to Plainville’s small size and normal case rate of 0-2 a week, even a small increase can make it a “high risk” town.

In a statement posted to the Town of Wrentham’s web site, it was said that the cases are tied to a single cluster in a nursing home. That designation has since dropped down to “yellow.”

Despite the nature of the cluster we experienced in town, we have still urged our residents to remain vigilant in their prevention efforts over the past few weeks, just as we have since the pandemic began,” Wrentham Town Administrator Kevin Sweet said. “We are pleased to see our status drop to ‘Yellow’ and hope for continued encouraging results as part of the weekly data shared by the state.”