The state announced Sunday that the death count from the coronavirus pandemic had crossed 9,000 as two communities responded to large parties of young people they fear could threaten their control of the virus’s spread.
In Sudbury, a large party involving 50 to 60 Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School students broken up by police Saturday night prompted officials to delay in-person learning at the school, according to Bill Murphy, the town’s director of public health.
Although no COVID-19 cases have yet been linked to the gathering, police reported that students were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, and he said the potential impacts of the party are unclear because many of the students fled when police arrived and some provided false names.
“Due to lack of information of who attended the event and the inability to consult directly with those students, the risk to the school community cannot be adequately assessed,” he said, bringing officials to delay a plan to return all students on Tuesday.
The school district did not respond to requests for comment Sunday, and it was not immediately clear when in-person classes would begin.
In Dedham, two parties involving young people, one involving high schoolers, were blamed for an uptick of COVID-19 cases there last week, and the town also delayed the start of in-person learning. The increased rate of infections brought state officials to dub the community “high risk” and deployed a free mobile testing site, which was operating over the weekend and will be available through Thursday.
“We are urging as many people as possible to get tested at the site this week, and hope that the additional hours added on Wednesday and Thursday will ensure that more people will come to get tested,” said Town Manager Leon Goodwin in a statement Sunday.
The Massachusetts death toll from the virus rose to 9,001 after the state reported 14 new confirmed deaths Sunday. The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reportedly grew by 267 to reach 122,904.
However, the three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients and the number of hospitals operating at surge capacity both declined slightly over the weekend, with the average number of patients at 325 and only one hospital operating at a surge level, according to public health officials.
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