When Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced last week that he was tightening restrictions on residents due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, he cited several recent large gatherings as contributing to his decision.
"In the past few weeks we have seen an uptick in COVID-19 in some communities here in the Commonwealth," Baker said. "There have been several reports of big parties in places like Falmouth, Chatham, Winthrop, Wrentham, and Cohasset, to simply name a few. There have also been reports about illegal sports camps and private boat charters where clusters of new cases have quickly developed. And just yesterday, it was reported that a 300 person wedding was held in Gardner that is being investigated and will likely result in fines."
The state Department of Public Health said it was unable to provide additional information on community-specific clusters. The governor has said these can be as few as two or three people.
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So what do we know about these incidents being investigated as possible COVID clusters? Here's a quick overview, by town:
Baker has said one of the possible COVID clusters being investigated stems from a crowded Boston Harbor Cruise on July 25.
The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards issued a cease and desist to the Bay State Cruise Company two days later after a photo was shared on social media.
The photo of the Provincetown II, a three-deck vessel run by the company, raised questions about coronavirus safety as Massachusetts officials continue to push social distancing measures.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called the mass gathering "a serious threat to public health." A manager for the cruise company, however, said the cruise had sailed at just 33% capacity, falling within the company’s COVID-19 operating limits of 44%.
Thirteen people tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a July 21 house party in Chatham.
Between 30 and 50 people who work together in the restaurant industry attended the party and were apparently not wearing masks, town officials said.
Town officials said some individuals who tested positive contacted their employers and a few of those restaurants temporarily closed. Those restaurants followed state health guidelines to deep-clean before re-opening.
The governor said a high school graduation party in Chelmsford was one of the possible coronavirus clusters under investigation.
Police there said they responded to a house party on July 25 involving between 15 to 20 teens. No further information about the party was available. But Chelmsford health officials said they weren't sure if this was the incident referenced by Baker.
Baker cited a 90-person prom party in Cohasset as one of the potential clusters under investigation. The Patriot Ledger said there were about 29 students and parents at the July 25 party, which prompted the cancellation of Cohasset High School's graduation.
Town Manager Christopher Senior said town officials were made aware of the party, and that students and parents were not following social distance guidelines or wearing face coverings.
Eight town lifeguards in Falmouth tested positive for the coronavirus after allegedly attending a party with other staff members in July.
The lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19 after attending with other beach staff members. A supervisor allegedly told a lifeguard not to make the positive result public in a text message exchange.
State officials have slapped $2,400 in fines on the Massachusetts hotel accused of hosting two events last weekend that violated COVID-19 safety standards, including mask requirements and the 100-person limit for outdoor events.
The penalties against the Colonial Hotel in Gardner were handed down shortly after Baker pointed to its events Friday as one reason his administration would begin cracking down harder on gatherings that flout coronavirus regulations. Baker has cut the maximum capacity for outdoor events to 50 people, among other new restrictions.
The hotel was the site of a wedding on Aug. 1 that had 240 guests and 70 staff members. The following day, the hotel was the site of yet another event with 190 guests.
The Colonial has now been fined a total of $3,000 for the events. Gardner city officials had fined the wedding venue $600 on Thursday.
Weymouth school officials recently canceled graduation due to concerns stemming from an unauthorized football camp in South Weymouth attended by children from 17 communities.
School officials said the camp was not permitted by the Weymouth health officials and had no affiliation with Weymouth Public Schools. It was reportedly attended by students from multiple communities, including Weymouth.
A coronavirus cluster at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield was cited by Baker as one of the reasons the number of cases in the state was on the uptick last month.
An employee of Baystate Medical Center reportedly traveled to a state that is a hot spot for coronavirus and upon his return did not wear a mask. Twenty-three employees and 13 patients tested positive for COVID-19 as a result.
Baker mentioned Winthrop on Friday as one of several locations where big parties had been held, potentially leading to the spread of the coronavirus.
The state said Monday it did not have information on local clusters, and a request for information from the Town of Winthrop was not immediately returned.
The governor cited Wrentham on July 31 as another town where a large party had been held, leading to a possible cluster.
Wrentham health officials declined comment when reached by the Attleboro Sun Chronicle. The newspaper reported that the daughter of a nurse in Norfolk went to a party and apparently exposed her mother and others who attended the party to the virus. At least 20 people reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The exact location of the party has not been made public.