As the highly contagious sub variants of the COVID virus continue to spread across the nation, the latest surge of COVID may be waning a bit both in the Back Bay and citywide.
According to the latest data by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) more than 1 out of 10 residents tested for the virus were positive two weeks ago but those numbers have dropped a bit last week.
Last week, 809 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents were tested for the virus last week and 8.7 percent were positive–this was a 29 percent decrease from the 12.2 percent that tested positive between July 18 and July 25.
Seventy additional residents contracted the virus between July 25 and August 1 and there have now been 11,758 confirmed cases in the neighborhood since the start of the pandemic.
Boston’s citywide weekly positive test rate also decreased last week.
According to the BPHC, 10,329 Boston residents tested citywide and 9.1 percent were positive—an eight percent decrease from the 9.9 percent that tested positive between July 18 and July 25.
Adult COVID-19 hospitalizations in Boston are now averaging 132.1 per day–down 10 percent from the previous week. This metric helps the BPHC understand the burden of serious COVID-19 cases among adults resulting in inpatient care in Boston hospitals. It includes the total number of adult hospitalizations among Boston and non-Boston residents for COVID-19.
According to the BPHC levels of COVID-19 virus in local wastewater have decreased by 21.1 percent in the past seven days and are now at 578 RNA copies/mL–14 days ago it was up to 763 RNA copies/mL. While the current rate is still high, it is an improvement from the rates of more than 1,000 RNA copies/mL that were observed in early June.
The BPHC also reported that new COVID-19 cases in Boston have stabilized over the last seven days but Suffolk County as a whole remains at medium community risk, according to the CDC.
“The improvement in our COVID-19 trends over the past two weeks is a welcomed sign, but we must remain vigilant, especially with the highly transmissible BA.5 variant making up a majority of cases in the region,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “We’ve seen a consistent pattern of ups and downs for the past few months, but, overall, Boston’s metrics are at a medium risk level. The risk of transmission is still significant, and we all need to continue to take proper precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
The highly transmissible BA.5 variant, which accounts for 81.4 percent of COVID-19 cases in New England, has resulted in several instances of reinfection. Its ability to evade immunity from the initial vaccine series and prior infection are further reasons for everyone to get a COVID-19 booster. Booster doses provide an added layer of protection that supports a strong immune response to the virus, significantly reducing the likelihood of infection and severe illness.
The statistics released by the BPHC as part of its weekly COVID19 report breaks down the number of cases and infection rates in each neighborhood. It also breaks down the number of cases by age, gender and race.
Citywide positive cases of coronavirus increased 1.6 percent last week and went from 197,686 to 194,506 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
There were four additional deaths in Boston from the virus in the past week and the total number of COVID deaths is now at 1,502.