Neighborhood Cases down While Testing up in Downtown Areas

Positive COVID-19 cases within the general neighborhoods of the downtown remain low even as testing has ramped up among the general population and the homeless population in the South End.

Because of the numbers of homeless that have been tested in the shelters and hospitals of the South End, the neighborhood appears to be a hot spot at first glance, but most believe the greater South End remains low if the homeless numbers are removed.

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) released case data as of 1:30 p.m. on May 7, as has been customary over the last several weeks.

In that data, the South End showed 701 cases with a 196.1 per 10,000 resident infection rate. That, once again, was bolstered by homeless being tested in large numbers at Boston Medical Center, the Pine Street Inn and the City’s homeless shelters – all of which are assigned a South End address.

As of May 12, there had been 2,476 people tested in the South End with a 28.5 percent positive rate – down significantly from the first few weeks of testing in the neighborhood.

Once again, Downtown/Back Bay/Beacon Hill (58.9 per 10,000) and Fenway (41.7 per 10,000) had lower infection rates, and low numbers of cases. The Downtown/Back Bay/Beacon Hill area had 328 cases, while Fenway reported 228 cases.

All three areas are some of the lowest in the City and the Greater Boston region, in fact.

Testing has ramped up significantly in many neighborhoods, where more than 3,000 or 4,000 residents have been tested in some neighborhoods.

East Boston, though close, told a radically different story of COVID-19.

By May 7, some 3,053 people had been tested, with a positive rate of 38.7 percent. That was down about 10 percent from last week, when Eastie tested at nearly a 50 percent rate. Despite that, there were 1,187 cases for a rate of 252.9 per 10,000, the second highest rate in the entire city.

Hyde Park had the highest infection rate, with 260.1 per 10,000.

One interesting note released this week is that 48 percent of the deaths in Boston, and there were 533 deaths as of May 12, happened in nursing home facilities.

•Cases by Gender Evens Out

For the first time since the pandemic hit, the infection rate by gender in Boston has pretty much evened out.

The infection rate citywide for men was 154 per 10,000, and for women it was 153.9 per 10,000. Typically, men have displayed a higher rate of infection.

•Age and COVID-19

The age group with the most cases by percentage in the city are those 50-59 years old, with 17.2 percent of the cases. Second highest were those 30-39 years old with 15.8 percent, followed by those 40-49 years old at 15.1 percent.

The infection rates pretty much followed the same gradual incline as age increased, though it is clear the disease is particularly dangerous for those age 80 and over.

The infection rate was 561.4 per 10,000 for those 80 and over, which was much higher than those just 70-79, who came in at 302.2 per 10,000.

•Cases by Race

The COVID-19 virus still has hit the Black/African American community the hardest citywide, with 29.3 percent of the total cases – though there is incomplete data on race with 25.5 percent of the total confirmed cases unknown by race. Black/African Americans, however, had the second highest rate of deaths (182/35 percent). The highest numbers of deaths were of white residents (224/44 percent).

There were 20.2 percent of the cases who were white, and 14.8 percent who were Latino.

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