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Here’s a look at the state’s risk map for COVID-19

A sign encourages social distancing and mask wearing at the Old North Church in Boston.
A sign encourages social distancing and mask wearing at the Old North Church in Boston.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The state releases a map on a weekly basis that uses coronavirus case counts to show which Massachusetts communities are at high, moderate, and low risk for COVID-19 infection.

The assessment “will be updated on a regular basis going forward,” Governor Charlie Baker announced when he introduced the map on Aug. 11. It initially outlined each town’s average daily increase in cases per 100,000 people, over the most recent two-week period.

On Nov. 6, Baker announced that the state would be modifying its risk assessment guidance.

According to new state guidelines, cities and towns with less than 10,000 people will be deemed in the red, high-risk category if they have more than 25 total cases. Cities and towns with between 10,000 and 50,000 residents will be high risk if they average more than 10 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of 5 percent or higher. Larger communities will be high risk with an average of more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents and a positive test rate at or greater than 4 percent.

The most recent map reflects data collected from Nov. 14 to Nov. 28. The map and its background data are included in the Department of Public Health’s weekly public health dashboard.

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The map includes a color-coded ranking system, by town size. Here’s how to track the map:

For towns with under 10,000 people

Grey (lowest risk): Less than or equal to 10 total cases. Green (lower risk): Less than or equal to 15 total cases. Yellow (moderate risk): Less than or equal to 25 total cases. Red (high risk): More than 25 total cases.

For towns with 10,000-50,000 people

Grey: Less than or equal to 10 total cases. Green: Less than 10 cases per 100,000 people and more than 10 total cases. Yellow: 10 or more cases per 100,000 people, or a positivity rate equal or greater to 5 percent. Red: 10 or more cases per 100,000 people, and a positivity rate equal or greater to 5 percent.

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For towns with more than 50,000 people

Grey: Less than or equal to 15 total cases. Green: Less than 10 cases per 100,000 people and more than 15 total cases. Yellow: 10 or more cases per 100,000 people, or a positivity rate equal or greater to 4 percent. Red: 10 or more cases per 100,000 people, and a positivity rate equal or greater to 4 percent.


Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at peter.bailey-wells@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells.