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City of Worcester, MA

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COVID-19 Update for Sept. 17; 6,132 Cases

For Immediate Release: 9/23/2020 2:18 pm

As of Sept. 17, there were 6,132 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Worcester, 106 new cases since the report one week prior.

Positive case counts in surrounding towns:
Shrewsbury: 387 (+5)
Holden: 152 (+3)
Grafton: 113 (+1)
Leicester: 174 (+2)
Millbury: 286 (+2)

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently designated the City of Worcester as one of 17 “high risk” communities in the Commonwealth for COVID-19 transmission. This designation puts the city in the “red zone” as having average daily cases greater than 8 per 100,000. Over past 14 days, Worcester has been at 9.49 average daily cases per 100,000.

The positivity rate for the week of Sept. 6-12 was 5.59%, the highest since week of June 14-20 (4.79%); however we are still below 10% overall positivity and have been since the week of May 31-June 6.

City residents can expect additional state support to help reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 including an Enforcement and Intervention Team to address compliance of social distancing, masks and other safety protocols. The Stop the Spread campaign (free community testing sites) has been extended through the end of October. Testing sites will be announced.

As of Sept. 17, the City had held 10 community testing clinics in coordination with UMMHC which resulted in 4,914 tests and a positivity rate of under 2%. AIDS Project Worcester has conducted 2,750 tests with 33 positive cases.

The Worcester Division of Public Health is working closely with the colleges on their reopening plans and contact tracing while Inspectional Services conducts frequent inspections of restaurants and retail establishments.

Overall, the Worcester community has done a tremendous job making the impossible seem possible; however, the importance of masking up and maintaining social distance, avoiding large gatherings and sanitizing surfaces cannot be understated. While an increase in cases during this extended and gradual reopening period is not surprising, it is concerning, particularly as we head into the seasonal flu season.

More than 40,000 positive cases of influenza were reported to MDPH in the 2019-2020 flu season, with 55,000 ER visits and 6,600 deaths. The Flu Season could significantly compound the threats already posed by COVID-19 and place additional strain on hospital resources.

The Worcester Public Library announced free online tutoring for all students K-12 and adult learners from 2 to 11 p.m. daily with a WPL library card. Available in English and Spanish. Get online help with HelpNow’s expert tutors seven days a week from 2 - 11 p.m. Services include: live homework help, writing experts, skill building, language labs, create flashcards, practice tests, and more! This is perfect for students of any age, whether you are doing remote, in-person or hybrid learning this school year. Find more at 

Get a free Worcester Public Library card at: mywpl.org/get-library-card.

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