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Chelsea, Brockton, Randolph and Williamstown are the four Massachusetts communities with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to municipal-level data released by state health officials for the first time on Wednesday.
The town-by-town data, which reflects case information as of Tuesday, paints a new and more acute picture of how the dangerous and contagious virus has hit the state. The Department of Public Health on Wednesday also began posting a breakdown of where COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
"Having the ability to look at this virus through the lens of its impact on specific cities and towns will help us identify potential hotspots, inform the public health response, assist cities and towns working to slow the spread and help the state appropriately deploy resources," Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 29,918 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, and 132,023 people had been tested for the disease. The state's fatality count surpassed 1,000 for the first time, hitting 1,108 with 151 new deaths reported. Almost 48%, or 530, of those deaths were reported in long-term care facilities.
Boston, the state's most populous city, accounted for 16% of the total number of cases included in the municipal breakdown, with 4,609.
The rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 residents was highest in Chelsea, at 1,890. Chelsea, which had 712 individual cases, has been identified by state officials as a hotspot for the virus, and Gov. Charlie Baker has said the state is working with the city to increase testing capacity and provide meals and isolation space.
Statewide, the rate was 487.76 cases per 100,000. Canton, at 490, and Westfield, at 486, most closely mirrored the state rate.
Chelsea, Brockton (1,223), Randolph (1,072.5) and Williamstown (1,004) all had rates per 100,000 that were more than double the statewide case rate.
Williamstown, a Berkshire County community with a population of less than 8,000, is by far the smallest of those four municipalities, and reached its relatively high rate with 74 cases. Randolph reported 367 cases.
Brockton had the second-highest caseload of any community in Massachusetts, with 1,202.
Twenty-two of the 351 communities in Massachusetts, all small towns, reported zero COVID-19 cases: Alford, Aquinnah, Charlemont, Chesterfield, Chilmark, Gosnold, Heath, Hawley, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Salem, Plainfield, Rowe, Tolland, Warwick, Wendell, Windsor and Worthington.
For 59 communities with populations under 50,000 and fewer than five cases, the Department of Public Health did not provide exact case numbers or a rate, a move officials said was to preserve patient confidentiality.
Address information was unknown for 506 patients, and the DPH said that information was being obtained when the list was compiled.
The Department of Public Health plans to release updated municipal breakdowns each Wednesday.
At the county level, Middlesex on Wednesday remained the county with the highest caseload, at 6,681, followed by Suffolk with 6,279 and Essex with 3,984.
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