Wareham sees uptick in coronavirus cases over past week

Oct 6, 2020

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Wareham, calling the town’s lower risk status into question, according to Town Administrator Derek Sullivan.

 Sullivan discussed the recent uptick during the October 6 Board of Selectmen meeting.

According to Sullivan, the town now has 14 active cases, with nine new cases being reported in the last week. 

He added that there have been a total of 25 new cases reported in town since September 1. 

Sullivan said that the recent uptick in cases could potentially jeopardize Wareham’s status as a lower risk community, which would force the town to revert back to Phase 3, Step 1 of the state reopening plan. 

The current Phase 3, Step 2 went into effect on Monday October 5 for “lower risk” communities, as designated by the Department of Public Health. 

It allows for the use of fitting rooms in retail stores, and an increase to 50% capacity in gyms, museums, libraries, and performance venues (with a maximum of 250 people.) 

Each week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health releases data on the count and rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in each town and city in the state. In recent weeks, the report has designated communities into green, yellow, and red categories based on the average daily case rate over the last 14 days. 

Green represents an average daily case rate of less than four per 100,000 people. Yellow represents a rate between four and eight per 100,000, and red indicates a rate higher than eight per 100,000 people.

The state defines lower risk communities as cities and towns that have not been in the red category in any of the last three Department of Public Health reports. 

There are sometimes discrepancies between town and state reporting. Sullivan said that for example, if employees of a Wareham business tested positive, but do not actually live in town, different sources may report that data differently. 

The next Department of Public Health report is scheduled to be published on Wednesday, October 7, but until then, Sullivan said it is unclear whether Wareham will retain its lower risk status in light of the recent uptick. 

Sullivan stressed the importance of continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing, even though it may be frustrating with no definitive end in sight. 

“We’ve all gone through a lot in the past seven months,” Sullivan said, but he added that it is important to stay diligent because while one person may be asymptomatic, another person in the same household could be severely impacted by the virus.