Out of the red: No communities meet threshold for COVID-19 ‘red zone’ this week

Cases have been on a mostly steady downturn since earlier this year, but vaccinations have accelerated the decline.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff, file
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After months of tracking the communities in the state at highest risk for COVID-19 transmission each week, this week there aren’t any communities in the so-called “red zone.”

It’s a steady decline that began earlier this year, though in January there were well over 200 communities calculated to be high risk. By March 1, the red zone had ebbed considerably, though there was a brief increase in early April when residents under age 40 starting making up the majority of new COVID cases.

There are just seven communities currently left with a yellow designation, calculated to have a moderate risk of COVID-19 spread. They include Brockton, Edgartown, Fall River, Lawrence, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Bridgewater. 


The majority of the state – 273 communities – has a grey designation, meaning the city or town had less than 15 or 10 new cases (depending on its size) in the last two weeks. Meanwhile, 71 communities are in the green.

A community receives a red-zone designation based on a few factors. Small communities with under 10,000 residents are placed in the red zone if they have more than 25 cases total over the last two weeks. For communities between 10,000 and 50,000 people, a red-zone designation is given if the community has 10 or more average daily cases per 100,000 residents and if the positivity rate is greater than or equal to 5 percent. For communities over 50,000, they need a daily average of 10 or more cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 4 percent or higher.

Towns given a yellow designation meet one of the criteria noted above for red-zone communities, but not both. Green towns fall below both of those benchmarks.

Nearly 3.7 million people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19; 4.3 million have received the first dose. The state is planning to close down mass vaccination sites, and turn toward community efforts. These include pop-up vaccination sites at Market Basket supermarkets in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities.

A map showing the risks of COVID-19 spread in each Massachusetts community. – Massachusetts Department of Public Health


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