Framingham battles ‘lax’ behavior behind COVID-19 spread

Framingham battles ‘lax’ behavior behind COVID-19 spread

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Framingham is among the handful of communities seeing more COVID-19 transmissions, and over the past three weeks, the increasing number of infections have landed the city on a “red alert”, according to the state’s community-level data map.

Gatherings have been the main reason city officials tell Boston 25 the cases are on the rise.

On August 12th, Framingham’s daily case rate per 100,000 people was 5.6, as of Sept. 9th, the number has risen to 10.1, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.

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“It’s people having barbecues, family picnics, these are the things that are causing folks to get infected with the virus,” said Yvonne Spicer, Mayor of Framingham.

In recent weeks, the city has taken steps to slow the spread by closing down a skate park, removing backboards from basketball courts, and gotten more aggressive with messaging around masks and social distancing guidelines.

“It doesn’t matter if your gathering is within the limit of the state standards,” said Samuel Wong, Health Director. “Now is not the time for any gathering outside of your immediate household."

City leaders say younger residents are causing the spike by hosting and attending large gatherings.

Wong said there have been verbal warnings but no citations written for those hosting large public gatherings.

Over the past fourteen days, the highest rate of COVID-19 cases by age group per 100,000 people is in those 20-29.

When examining new confirmed cases by age, those 20-29 and in the 30-39 groups account for 37% of the 107 cases, over the most recent two-week span ending on September 9th.

“I think people need to take some time to think about others,” said Casey Paravano, who recently moved with her husband and three-month-old to Framingham. “If they thought about the three-month-old, or they thought about the grandparent, if they empathize like that, they would get it a little bit more.”

This weekend, multilingual outreach teams from the state will be coming to Framingham to speak with community members about health guidelines.

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