Officials in Red Zone Communities Aim to Curb Spread of COVID-19

There are now 62 Massachusetts cities and towns in the highest risk category for coronavirus

NBC Universal, Inc.

As more communities are designated high-risk for coronavirus transmission, cities and towns are working to deal with the rising case numbers.

The weekly health report more than doubled the number of cities and towns in the red since last week, going from 30 to 62. Framingham is one of those cities on the list, and the mayor said officials are doing everything they can to combat the spread.

"Being in the red means that we have an opportunity to control this a little bit better," Framingham mayor Yvonne Spicer said.

The city of Framingham was briefly in the yellow zone after the state changed its metrics, but with a positive test rate topping 4%, the city is back to being considered high-risk.

"We're doing more testing. We're stepping our game in terms of sanitizing. We have to be smart. If everyone does the right thing, we will get through this," Spicer said.

The red zone status has those who work at Terra Brasilis, a restaurant in Framingham, worried an end to indoor dining could be coming.

"If dine-in stops, our clientele will definitely go down, and we are already struggling," manager Amanda DeOliveira said.

Sam Scarpino, an expert in epidemiology at Northeastern University, said it is not too late to take more aggressive action to get towns out of the red and avoid a total shutdown.

"We should've taken some proactive measures earlier to avoid this," Scarpino said. "My personal opinion is we should have paused indoor dining a few weeks ago."

He said for now, everyone needs to assume they are at risk, no matter where they live.

"Because, of course, individuals are moving between yellow, red and green zones to work, shop and attend religious services," Scarpino said.

The line at the walk-up testing site on Bishop Street in Framingham started forming hours before it opened Friday.

The mayor said she is worried the long lines shows many plan to travel or gather this Thanksgiving, which will only cause the virus to spread. She is begging residents to celebrate only with their households.

Contact Us