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Dedham Coronavirus Cluster Blamed On 2 Large Parties

DEDHAM (CBS) - The town of Dedham is the latest Covid-19 hotspot. Officials announced 26 new cases and blamed the cluster on two large gatherings attended by high school students recently.

"We cannot stress enough how important it is that people abide by public health guidelines, that includes wearing a mask in public, [to] avoid gathering in large groups," says Dedham Town Manager Leon Goodwin. Going on to say, "Monitoring yourself and your family for symptoms, practicing proper hygiene and following all other guidance," which health officials say is critical in stopping the spread of the virus.

Goodwin says those state orders were ignored. "We all need to be cognizant to [of] the fact our individual actions can affect the whole in a very negative way." And it has—the town's hybrid approach to learning this fall on hold until numbers decline.

"All of that is on hold now, and that was an awful lot of work. The students need those services, and we were looking forward to providing them, and as a result of the high-risk category, that's paused for the time being," says Goodwin.

Officials say so far; there have been 490 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Dedham since the pandemic started. Officials are concerned this latest cluster could lead to more positive cases and now they want every resident to get tested.

"Every Dedham resident should get tested as far as we're concerned," says Goodwin.

The town of Dedham is working closely with state health officials setting up a free mobile testing site for residents at the Endicott Estate starting Sunday until Tuesday. Depending on the demand, officials say the state could announce an extension.

In the meantime, they are asking all elderly residents and those with health conditions to "only leave home when necessary," said Dedham Board of Health Chairwoman Leanne Jasset.

And answer your phone for contact tracers. "All residents who test positive will be contacted by the Board of Health Contract Tracers. It is of utmost importance that residents answer these calls," said Jasset. "This increase also means that it is imperative for residents to get tested now."

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