A Boston emergency room doctor warned this week that if steps aren't taken now, Massachusetts could soon face a second coronavirus surge and another round of shutdowns.
Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said in a series of tweets that he is concerned about the recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state.
He also tagged Gov. Charlie Baker, and urged him to ban indoor dining immediately. If that doesn't happen, Faust said, cases could skyrocket and a full shutdown might be necessary.
Massachusetts has reported more than 2,400 new coronavirus cases and over 80 deaths in the past five days alone.
There have now been 9,242 confirmed deaths and 129,753 cases, according to the state Department of Public Health. The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, remains at 1%, higher than the 0.8% that had been seen in recent weeks.
The state's latest weekly data, including the updated community-level risk assessment map, shows 23 communities considered at the highest risk for transmitting COVID-19, up eight from last week.
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Among the changes is Boston moving into the red zone for the first time since the state started tracking the town-by-town data, something that Mayor Marty Walsh had been bracing for since last week.
Other than Boston, the other high-risk communities in Wednesday's report are Attleboro, Avon, Chelsea, Dracut, Everett, Framingham, Haverhill, Holliston, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marlborough, Methuen, Middleton, Nantucket, New Bedford, North Andover, Revere, Springfield, Winthrop and Worcester.
Faust's comments come at a time when Brigham and Women's Hospital is dealing with its own COVID-19 outbreak. According to the latest update from the hospital, 33 employees and 12 patients have tested positive in connection with a cluster at Braunwald Tower.