Hingham now in higher-risk COVID-19 zone; possible $500 fine per day for non-compliance with governor’s travel order

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
November 19, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer

After being in the COVID-19 high-risk "red" zone for three weeks, Hingham remained in the lower-risk "green" category for two consecutive weeks, but today's (Nov. 19) Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health statistics show that Hingham is now in the "yellow" zone -- which is between "red" and "green" -- with 21 new cases reported this week.

This brings Hingham's total number of cases to 470 since Jan. 1, with 40 new cases in the last 14 days. Last week there were 25 new cases, up from 12 the previous week.

When asked by the Hingham Anchor to comment about the town's now-"yellow" status,  Executive Health Officer Susan Sarni noted that the new cases were not for the most part in the school-age bracket. "Of the 40 cases in the last 14 days, only four were between the ages of 5 and 19," she said, "so it's not in the schools that COVID is occurring."

Sarni advises residents "to remain vigilant and not to have or participate in large Thanksgiving gatherings." She also emphasized the importance of following the guidance in Gov. Charlie Baker's travel order issued this summer, which states that starting last Aug. 1, all visitors and Massachusetts residents returning home -- including students heading back to their campuses -- must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower-risk state as designated by the Department of Public Health. Or they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts unless they fall under a narrow exemption category.

"Residents returning to Hingham could be asked to provide documentation of a negative test [if not returning from a lower-risk state] or be quarantined for 14 days by the Hingham Health Department," Sarni said, noting that as of this Saturday, New Hampshire and Maine will be in the high-risk category.

Individuals who get a COVID-19 test must remain in quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Per the governor's order, failure to comply -- including completing the travel form when required and failing to quarantine when necessary -- could result in a $500 fine per day.


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