Covid cases hit all-time high amid winter surge

Jan 8, 2021

Covid is once again skyrocketing in Dartmouth, as the town reported a record 300 new cases on Jan. 8.

Cases are up 45% compared to last week as the winter surge continues. The town hasn’t seen weekly case numbers under three digits since mid-November.

State data currently lists Dartmouth as a “high risk” community, with the town’s 14-day average daily case rate at 88 per 100,000 people and a 13.25% positivity rate as of Jan. 7. 

Public Health Director Chris Michaud warned officials last month that the town will likely see widespread community transmission of the virus continuing through January. 

No residents have died from the virus in the past seven days, although there have been 55 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“The darkest part of winter is ahead,” Michaud said over the phone just before Christmas. 

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bonny Gifford announced that Dartmouth’s public schools would remain closed for at least another week.

Students were originally set to return to the hybrid model — with different cohorts attending school in person on alternate days — on Jan. 11. Now they will return Jan. 19.

“The next several weeks are likely to result in a rise in Covid cases,” Gifford wrote. “This impacts our ability to properly staff the buildings and contact trace effectively.” 

As of Jan. 8, Massachusetts has 87,384 active Covid-19 cases, with 12,708 coronavirus-related deaths reported. There have been 400,823 total confirmed cases in the commonwealth thus far, representing 5.9% of the population.