Town Covid cases nearly back up to spring heights

Nov 7, 2020

The number of Covid-19 cases in Dartmouth continues to climb as the town’s Board of Health reported 61 new cases in the week ending Nov. 6 — up from 52 the week before, and nearly as high as the 78 cases reported at the worst of the spring outbreak in May.

No new Covid-related deaths have been reported in town this week.

Coronavirus cases are surging globally this fall, reaching nearly 10 million cases in the US and 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.

Yet the state has dropped Dartmouth from the “red zone” in its traffic light system down to yellow this week, due to a change in reporting.

The traffic light system used to be based solely on a municipality’s average daily case rate per 100,000 of population.

Now, however, it is based on the percentage of positive tests as well, with different requirements for communities of different sizes.

According to the state’s data released on Nov. 5, Dartmouth has a fairly high average daily case rate of 20 cases per 100,000 people, twice the required rate of 10 for the red zone and well above the rate of 11.4 reported the previous week.

But in the new system, the town would only reenter the red zone if it also reported a positive test percentage of 5% or higher. The state currently puts Dartmouth at 3.15% positive.

At a recent flu shot clinic, Dartmouth Public Health Director Chris Michaud said he’s noticed residents have become more relaxed with remembering pandemic practices.

To best mitigate any further resurgence, Michaud urged residents to remember to keep their social distance from each other as much as possible and to avoid large indoor gatherings.

“The risk for transmission does not go away in your home if you have a gathering,” he said. “If you decide to have 40 people and they’re not keeping their distance or wearing masks, that’s a very risky event.” 

Most of all, Michaud stressed that if you feel sick, “stay home.” 

As of Nov. 7, Massachusetts has 20,720 estimated active Covid-19 cases, with 9,903 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths reported. There have been 13,876 cases in Bristol County since the start of the pandemic.