Dartmouth remains in the red as state reports more Covid cases

Oct 15, 2020

Dartmouth remains firmly in the red for Covid-19 cases as the state released a weekly report on Oct. 14 showing a higher average daily incidence rate than the previous week.

According to Massachusetts data, over the past two weeks the town has seen an average of 9.7 new coronavirus cases each day per 100,000 people — higher than the 8.1 daily case average rate reported on Oct. 7.

However, according to town data released Oct. 9, cases in Dartmouth are slightly down. The town saw 19 new cases in the week ending Oct. 9, down from 22 new cases the week before.

The difference is due mostly because the state’s data is a population-based rate averaged over a 14-day period, while Dartmouth’s Board of Health data is the number of new cases over a seven-day period.

Communities with a rate of more than eight cases per day on average are listed “in the red,” meaning they are at higher risk for Covid-19 infections. If Dartmouth stays in the red through next week, it will have to return to Step 1 of Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan.

Currently, the town is on Step 2 of the third phase, which allows fitting rooms in retail stores to open, a 50% capacity up to 250 people for both indoor and outdoor performance venues, and a 50% capacity for gyms, museums, and libraries, among other loosened restrictions.

Regardless of status, for all communities a maximum of 25 people is currently allowed at indoor gatherings, with a maximum of 50 people allowed at private outdoor gatherings.

In lower-risk communities, there is a maximum limit of 100 people gathered at outdoor events and in public settings, while higher-risk communities (those still in Step 1 of Phase 3) are limited to 50 people maximum at outdoor events.

Both Dartmouth and the state of Massachusetts — along with the rest of the country — are experiencing a resurgence of coronavirus cases this fall after the count remained low in the Northeast over the summer.

The latest map shows 63 communities in the state are now in the red, up from 40 last week. New Bedford was listed as higher risk in early September, followed by Dartmouth and Acushnet last week and now Fall River and Fairhaven as well.

Despite the red-zone status, the Board of Health said on Oct. 14 that Halloween trick-or-treating can continue with social distancing and other safety guidelines in place.

Dartmouth public schools are continuing with plans to welcome students back to school this month for hybrid learning. A member of the high school community tested positive for the virus on Oct. 4.

The town has one of the highest testing rates in the state, with 2,942 tests conducted over the 14-day period and 58 positive results.

Massachusetts has seen 138,083 Covid-19 cases as of Oct. 14, affecting more than 2% of the population, with 9,429 deaths among confirmed cases. Bristol County has seen 10,777 cases to date.