More Covid-related deaths in Dartmouth as cases climb

Oct 23, 2020

Covid-19 is once again claiming lives in Dartmouth, as the town has reported eight more virus-related deaths this week and 29 new positive cases. It marks the first time since mid-June that the town has reported residents dying from the illness.

Dartmouth has seen a total of 44 virus-related deaths reported since the start of the pandemic. The numbers — released by the town’s Board of Health on Oct. 23 — are climbing, with 22 cases reported the previous week. This is the highest number of new positive cases since this spring, which saw weekly cases of up to 78 in April

Just one day prior, on Oct. 22 Massachusetts released 14-day numbers showing Dartmouth out of the red for the first time in two weeks, meaning the town’s transmission rate did not put it at “higher risk” over that period.

Dartmouth Public Health Director Chris Michaud said that the discrepancy is likely due to different cutoff times for data gathering and publication.

Michaud urged residents to remain on their guard, noting that the state did not designate Dartmouth as a town with a cluster outbreak  meaning that the cases are not coming from one location or facility. 

“We are seeing very very active community spread transmission,” he said. “The last time we were that high, was end of May...While we went to yellow, don’t use that to relax and think all is well.”

According to the state’s data, although Dartmouth is now in the yellow, surrounding communities such as Westport, New Bedford, Acushnet and Fairhaven are all in the red.

Coronavirus cases are surging globally this fall, with transmission rates overwhelming hospitals across the country.

In Massachusetts, younger people are helping fuel the virus’ spread, with the state reporting 38 as the average age of those infected in the last two weeks.

“It’s disappointing, because people are getting very relaxed,” noted Michaud. “People are starting to break down some of these simple practices.”

He emphasized the importance of maintaining practices like wearing masks, social distancing, and regularly washing hands, and particularly staying home from work if you feel sick.

“We’ve got to do what’s right,” he said. “If you feel sick, stay home.”

As of Oct. 22, Massachusetts has seen 143,927 coronavirus cases or more than 2% of the population, with 9,589 deaths reported. There have been 11,334 cases in Bristol County since the start of the pandemic.