By Beth David, Editor
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker paused the Phase III reopening of the state due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases and an increase in the positive test rate to just over 2%.
The Governor also tightened up some of the restrictions that had been loosened. Public gatherings are now capped at 50, not 100, and private gatherings are capped at 10.
The state has also created a COVID response team that will help local communities enforce restrictions such as gathering sizes and mask wearing, especially at bars and restaurants. Local and state police are now empowered to enforce mask wearing and other measures.
The governor said on Tuesday, 8/11, that the “vast majority” of communities in the state have a low number of cases, and are trending in the right direction.
No hospitals in the state are using surge capacity.
There are, however, several “High risk” municipalities. In those places, he said the state is asking people to avoid large play dates and large gatherings.
“People need to step up,” he said, and be aware of the spread in their own communities. Although the state has made progress, he said they are seeing the effects of too many people relaxing their vigilance.
Gov. Baker stressed that this is “not a permanent state of life.”
It will not be this way forever, he said, but it is the way it is now.
He said if people show up for big events, such as Plymouth’s 400-year celebrations, but are wearing masks and making a good effort to maintain social distance, then it’s “okay.y”
“I can’t gell you how important face masks are,” said Gov. Baker.
In Fairhaven, the School Committee voted to nearly double the pay of substitute teachers. The hope is to limit the number of people entering the buildings this fall. The rate went from $85/day to $165/day for certified substitute teachers, and from $75 to $115 for non-certified substitutes.
The school committee was scheduled to meet on 8/12 to discuss details of a reopening plan that so far looks like it will include a hybrid model. Students will attend a combination of in-person learning in the building and remote learning.
The state has also released a new color-coded map to easily show which municipalities are low, moderate, and high risk based on case rate per 100,000. Visit https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-average-daily-incidence-rate-august-11-2020/download
Municipalities in Greater New Bedford are all in the white or green ranges, meaning they are low risk. Four communities in Mass., Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, and Revere, are in the red zone. Twenty-nine communities, including Boston, were in the moderate category as of 8/11.
As of 8/11, the state had 112,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 296 confirmed cases on 8/11, with 10 deaths on that day. The state has had a total of 8,529 deaths from COVID-19.
For more information visit https://www.mass.gov/
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