By Bill Shields

BROCKTON (CBS) – Brockton has once again been labeled as a high-risk community for coronavirus, and people are frustrated.

A steady stream of people got vaccines in Brockton on Thursday, but while it’s heartening to see, it’s small comfort for Connie Medeiros. Just weeks ago, she lost her husband and father to COVID. It happened just days apart.

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“It’s just a nightmare,” said Connie Medeiros. “I still don’t accept it. I just feel like he’s still in the hospital. I feel like my dad is still in the hospital. I just can’t explain it.”

The vaccines are here, and people are getting immunized. Still, despite the best efforts of city officials, Brockton is one of 55 communities in Massachusetts now labeled as high risk. That is up from 32 from the previous week.

“It’s disheartening, but we need to continue to be vigilant and diligent,” said Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan. “Don’t get complacent, wear the masks, social distance. If you’re eligible, get that vaccine.”

“I don’t know how people can think it’s the flu,” said Medeiros. Her husband, Kane Medeiros, was 43 years old, strong and healthy. Yet COVID got him. Now, Connie worries about her four-year-old son.

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“The variants are still out there. And you don’t know. It makes me nervous and now my son only has one parent. It makes me nervous about that,” said Connie. “It’s not fair.”

Framingham, which is also back in the high risk red zone, is seeing more COVID cases in people under age 30. City leaders stress the warmer weather and increased access to vaccines are not excuses to let your guard down just yet.

“We were in a great trajectory. Our numbers were down. We were consistent. Testing sites were up,” said Framingham Mayor Dr. Yvonne Spicer. “It just may set us back. I’m deeply concerned about this.”

Dr. Spicer said reflecting on the lives lost weighs on her heart and she is reminding neighbors it takes everyone cooperating to keep the community safe.

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“We’re on the 20 yard line. We’re not in the end zone yet here. You have to continue to wear face coverings, socially distance, wash your hands. It’s absolutely imperative that we do that,” Dr. Spicer said. “It’s really about keeping people alive.”

Bill Shields