CDC: 7 counties in Mass. have ‘high’ COVID levels; Boston says it’s ‘critical’ to mask up indoors

BOSTON — There are new concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts and new urgings to mask up inside public spaces.

The Centers for Disease Control says that as of Friday, seven counties in Massachusetts have “high” levels of community spread.

The counties are Suffolk, Norfolk, Barnstable, Middlesex, Worcester, Franklin, and Berkshire.

The CDC is urging people to wear a mask while indoors in public and to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.

That sentiment is being echoed by the City of Boston, which is part of Suffolk County.

COVID testing is available in Boston at community health centers, hospitals, and pharmacies.

There is no mask mandate in Boston. That was lifted, effective March 5. Mayor Wu and city health officials noted improving COVID metrics when making the decision.

Even then, the city urged continued masking.

“While masks are no longer mandated in certain indoor settings, the Boston Public Health Commission recommends masking in these settings if you are at high risk for severe illness or if you will be around individuals who are. There are many people in Boston who are vulnerable to COVID-19, including individuals who are immunocompromised, seniors, and those who are unvaccinated, including young children” according to a statement from the City of Boston.

The seven-day positivity rate in Massachusetts as of Friday afternoon was 6.17% - the highest since February - with a reported 547 people hospitalized and 45 patients in the ICU. Of those 547 hospitalized, 201 were primarily hospitalized for COVID related illness according to state health officials.

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