By Nick Emmons, WBZ-TV

WORCESTER (CBS) – The city of Worcester is seeing a troubling surge in coronavirus cases since the Thanksgiving holiday. The latest weekly report shows 1,268 new cases in the city, a new record.

Worcester Commissioner of Health and Human Services Dr. Matilde Castiel said, “We are seeing case numbers exceeding what we saw during the first wave.”

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Dr. Castiel said the city expected a spike in cases after the holiday, but the worst of it has yet to come. “Our city models show that we have not yet hit our peak,” says Castiel, “that could come by early mid-January.”

City Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh said the positive rate in Worcester is at 26% right now. “That’s just way too high,” said Hirsh. “That means now if you’re in a room with four people, it’s likely one of them might have COVID.”

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Dr. Hirsh said the next few months will be, “pretty rocky,” as the vaccine is expected to be rolled out.

The next big hurdle will come over Christmas. “The tsunami is just cresting,” said Hirsh. “Come Christmas week, we’ll see another big breaker coming in.”

The DCU Center is operating as a field hospital should other area hospitals reach capacity. Dr. Hirsh said the 220-bed facility is currently treating 35 patients.

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A big focus now is encouraging residents to remain vigilant, and listen to the advice of medical professionals. Dr. Hirsh said the virus has affected people of all ages, and that two children are currently on ventilators at UMass Memorial. “It can strike anyone, anytime,” Hirsh said.