The COVID-19 incident rate shot up dramatically in Amherst where UMass is attempting to tamp down on the virus’s spread.
The daily average COVID-19 rate in Amherst per 100,000 people was 26.6 last week, Feb. 4. As of Thursday, Feb. 11, Amherst’s COVID-19 rate is 78.8.
Meanwhile, daily COVID-19 new incident rates also went up in two more of the Pioneer Valley’s largest communities - Easthampton and Northampton.
On Thursday, Feb. 11, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released the weekly town-by-town COVID-19 rate report. The numbers showed declining cases in nearly all of the Pioneer Valley’s major communities went down, but three cities still remain in the so-called “red” category, Massachusetts’ way of saying that the communities are at high risk for the spread of COVID-19.
Red cities in the Pioneer Valley include Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee. Still, the COVID-19 rates in each city went down compared to last week.
Massachusetts's color-coded risk system has four levels. They are, from most to least risk, red, yellow, green, gray (low to no risk).
The uptick in infections comes on the heels of the University of Massachusetts Amherst shutting down its campus to stop the virus’ spread. The roughly 13,000-member student body has been asked to self-quarantine.
A spike in COVID-19 cases in Amherst has been linked to one or more “massive” frat parties thrown over the Feb. 6 weekend. As part of the fallout, UMass has placed Theta Chi fraternity on interim suspension pending an investigation into the party allegations.
Among the Valley’s three counties the average COVID-19 rates were:
- Franklin County 14 lower - 139
- Hampshire County 40,5 higher - 929
- Hampden County 47.8 lower 3,152
Here are the rates for some of the three county's largest communities
- Springfield 62.6 red, lower
- Chicopee 42.6 red, lower
- Westfield 30.7 yellow, lower
- Holyoke 65.7 red, lower
- Amherst 78.8 yellow, higher
- Agawam 26.3 yellow, lower
- Northampton’s 26.9 yellow, higher
- South Hadley 24.1 yellow lower
- Greenfield 14.2 yellow lower
- Easthampton’s 34.4 yellow, higher
- Whately 4.9, gray, lower
- Deerfield 18.8 green, lower
- Orange 9.7 green, lower.
For more information and to see data on your town, visit the MDPH COVID-19 website, mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting
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