‘People Are Letting Their Guard Down': Saugus Among 6 New COVID-19 Hot Spots in Mass.

The town of Saugus has reported a total of 690 cases, including 36 new cases over the past two weeks

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Saugus has been added to the list of coronavirus hot spots in Massachusetts, designated as one of 17 cities and towns with the highest risk of coronavirus transmission.

In the last two weeks there have been an average of nine cases each day per 100,000 people, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Public Health. The town has reported a total of 690 cases, including 36 new cases over the past two weeks.

Town Manager Scott Crabtree believes heavy traffic coming in and out of town along Route 1 could be contributing to the number of cases. Crabtree is encouraging everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.

"I think that the psychology of this is that people all over the country are becoming COVID-19 fatigued," Crabtree said. "I think people are letting their guard down. I keep reminding people that nothing's changed from the virus six months ago. We're in desperate need of a vaccination."

There are now 17 cities and towns in the highest COVID-19 risk category, shaded red on the latest map.

Local gym owner Joseph Videtto said it's been a challenge to make clients comfortable with coming back. He added new barriers and safety precautions after being shutdown for three months this year during the pandemic.

"We’re following all the precautions necessary," Videtto said. "As far as people being exposed to it, I think clients are doing a good’s kind of all up in the air right now."

Massachusetts on Wednesday released its latest weekly data on the coronavirus pandemic, including an updated version of the state's new community-level risk assessment map.

A new metric, released last month, shows the number of cases detected on average each day over the last two weeks in each of Massachusetts' communities. More than 8 cases per 100,000 translates to a high risk, between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000 is moderate risk, and any less than that is low risk.

The high-risk communities in Wednesday's report are Chelsea, Dedham, Everett, Framingham, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Monson, Nantucket, New Bedford, Plainville, Revere, Saugus, Tyngsborough, Winthrop, Wrentham and Worcester.

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