Published November 11, 2020


WAKEFIELD — Based on new metrics health officials are using to determine risk levels in communities, Wakefield has gone from a red (higher risk) to a green (lower risk) designation, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio reported at Monday’s Town Council Meeting. The new criteria dropped the number of Massachusetts communities considered high risk from 121 in late October to 16 as of last Friday

Since counting began, Wakefield has confirmed a total of 470 cases of COVID, Maio noted, with 34 in the last 14 days. That means the daily count for the town is just over two. Maio explained that when calculated out based on the state’s “per 100,000 of population” formula, that brings Wakefield’s daily rate to 9 per 100,000, placing the town in the lower risk “green” category.

Maio said that there have been a total of 19,916 COVID tests administered to Wakefield residents, although he cautioned that the figure does not represent separate individuals, because some residents have been tested multiple times.

There have been 2,846 tests conducted on local residents in the last 14 days, resulting in a positivity rate of 1.58 percent, Maio added. This represents a sharp drop from the period Oct. 15-29, when Wakefield had 82 cases.

“The community has done a pretty good job in trying to keep this number down,” Maio said. The Town Administrator reviewed some of the changes as reflected in the the governor’s new orders issued last Friday.

All Massachusetts residents are advised to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 p.m., Maio noted, and are asked to leave home only for essential needs during that time period. 

Restaurants must close for in-person dining and alcohol service by 9:30 p.m. but may still provide food takeout after that time. Liquor stores are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages after 9:30 p.m.

Maio also reviewed the latest rules regarding gatherings.

At private residences, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, while outdoor gatherings are capped at 25. At event venues or in public spaces, attendance is limited to 25. Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 100 in lower risk communities and 50 in higher risk communities. Maio noted that this really isn’t an issue as most public events in Wakefield have been cancelled. 

Maio said that the town will approach the new rules as an educational opportunity. He said the town does not want to be issuing fines for violations, but is rather interested in getting the pandemic under control.

Under the governor’s new orders, masks are required in all public spaces, whether people are walking in their own neighborhoods or downtown, Maio reported. He said that police will have supplies of masks in their cruisers. He again stressed that the town is not interested in fining people. “We want them to wear masks,” he said.

Maio said that the town will be expanding and updating its messaging regarding COVID. He said that he will be requesting approval for a banner across Main Street and is looking into lawn signs.

“We’re trying to get the word out as much as we can to the community,” Maio said.

There was some discussion at the meeting regarding testing for the public. The availability of free testing at the Square One Mall in Saugus was noted and Maio said that he would look into the possibility of offering one or more events in town where residents may get tested.