▶ Watch Video: Boston mayor warns against house parties amid COVID uptick

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday that officials are giving “special attention” to gatherings and house parties “that are putting other people at risk,” as the city sees an uptick in coronavirus cases. 

“We are tracing locations where house parties continue to happen,” Walsh said, adding they are working with Boston’s Inspectional Services department “to curtail these events.”

“We are gonna be cracking down,” he said. 

Walsh called out reports of house parties in South Boston and other neighborhoods, and said neighbors have called local officials about “their fear of these large gatherings.” He asked people who are concerned about a party to call 911.

Roughly half of new cases in the city continue to be in people who are under 30, said Walsh, who advised people to “get on Zoom” and socialize digitally.

“Right now we’re at a very critical point in where we are with coronavirus,” Walsh said. “If we don’t do what we need to do and we don’t start to take responsibility as individuals, we’re going to be in a potential case where I have to stand at this podium and talk about shutting down this city again.”

The mayor and city departments are talking about tightening enforcement on gathering limits, unpermitted public events and “unsanctioned activities” in parks. 

Boston recently paused its school reopening plan due to rising case numbers, delaying the start of hybrid learning for all students until October 22. Walsh said the city will decide this weekend if another delay is needed.

“Our rates are going in the wrong direction to have in-person learning,” he said.

A total of 63 communities in the state, including Boston, are now considered high risk for virus infections, up from 40 a weeks ago. The designation is based on average daily cases per 100,000 residents, CBS Boston reported. High risk communities are those with over 8 cases per 100,000 residents during the last 14 days.

The new data was released by the state on Wednesday. Cities and towns across Massachusetts have been designated as higher risk, moderate risk or lower risk communities. Communities with less than 5 cases are not given a designation.  

While some areas have seen a rise in cases, however, others have seen the situation improve since last week’s report. Avon, Dracut, Dudley and Southbridge came out of the red zone.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, 78% of communities have either seen improvement or no change in their average daily case numbers compared to the previous two-week period.

The state has seen more than 9,00 deaths due to the virus and over 138,000 cases, according to state data.

Contributing: The Associated Press 

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