Massachusetts reports 1,137 new COVID-19 cases; Bristol County cities remain in high-risk category

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) – Coronavirus cases are on the rise for much of the nation, and in New England too, as Massachusetts reported another day with more than 1,000 positive cases.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 1,137 new cases were reported Wednesday along with 36 new COVID-19-related deaths.

More than 70 cities and towns in the Bay State are considered high-risk for the spread of coronavirus, some in Bristol County. In Fall River, the city has been in the high-risk category for a few weeks along with New Bedford.

Fall River’s health department reported 54 new cases Wednesday, bringing the city’s total case count to 2,590.

“We know everybody’s weary, we’ve been at this a long time, since March,” said Mayor Paul Coogan. “We also know what a COVID fatigue is and it’s definitely hitting some people.”

Coogan said the city is seeing cases rise among all types of people, unlike in the spring, when spikes were pinpointed to certain demographics.

“I think the numbers now are bubbling up, but they’re bubbling up like a tide. Like I said, they’re coming up across the board; Age groups, demographics. It’s everywhere. It’s young, it’s old. It’s people working, it’s people not working.”

He’s been in contact with other Massachusetts leaders who are in the same spot.

“I talked to the mayor of New Bedford. He’s experiencing a similar thing. I looked at the numbers out of Springfield, very similar. It’s just a long, steady rise.”

Coogan said in a press conference last week that the health department is having difficulty getting residents to comply with the regulations. He said some people are not staying home after testing positive, and are not cooperating with contact tracing.

“There’s a whole system set up to chase these people and sometimes people are not complying and it ends up leading to more cases. We’re asking them to help us and we need their help, but it’s very difficult.”

Coogan said it’s too soon to make a call on the topic of reversing the city’s reopening plan, including closing schools, but every day he discusses the numbers with the health department and the superintendent.

“At this point, we haven’t seen any kind of a major cluster in the schools. There are a few cases. We want to make sure we keep an eye on the numbers and let science guide us,” Coogan said.

Due to the rising cases in Massachusetts, the state has been added to Connecticut’s travel advisory list. Anyone from Massachusetts who enters Connecticut must quarantine for 14 days or provide a negative coronavirus test.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, Fall River, Massachusetts, News, Regional News