The South End emerged as a major ‘hot spot’ for COVID-19 infections in the latest neighborhood statistics released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) on Friday evening, buoyed by a great increase in the numbers of homeless individuals testing positive at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and the Pine Street Inn.
The statistics were taken as of Thursday, April 9, at 4:12 p.m.
The infection rate grew quickly over the past week in the South End, jumping to 78.9 per 10,000 residents, which was leaps and bounds higher than the next closest neighborhood of Hyde Park, which had an infection rate of 66.6 per 10,000. For the South End, it amounted to 282 confirmed cases, which was a major jump from one week ago when the neighborhood had a rate of 19.6 per 10,000 and 70 confirmed cases.
The BPHC confirmed this week that the South End increase in cases was connected to homeless individuals being tested either through Pine Street Inn or BMC. The addresses of those locations are being used as their home addresses and both of those locations are in the South End and were counted towards the South End’s case numbers.
More than 200 homeless individuals had tested positive as of this week.
For residents, that was a relief in that it didn’t indicate an unexplained and major increase in the spread of the virus throughout the neighborhood.
The South End numbers were far greater than abutting neighborhoods like the Back Bay/Beacon Hill/Downtown areas, which had an infection rate of 23.2 per 10,000 and 129 cases. In the Fenway, the rate of infection was 12.4 per 10,000 and 68 confirmed cases.
The South End rates were similar to some of the highest rates in the state, with it being just above the numbers for Lawrence – which had the second highest estimated rate in the state at 75 per 10,000. Chelsea was the hardest hit community with an estimated 106 cases per 10,000 people, according to hospital officials from Mass General and Beth Israel.
East Boston had been one of the early leaders as COVID-19 infections grew, but since then it has lessened with a rate of 50.7 per 10,000 and 238 cases.
In terms of the most cases, South Dorchester – one of the City’s largest neighborhoods by population – still had the most confirmed cases with 444.
Overall, the citywide infection rate was 41.9 per 10,000 with a total of 2,848 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There had been 35 deaths from COVID-19 in Boston and 339 people had recovered.
In another reversal of the trends, older adults above age 80 really began to show a much greater infection rate, climbing to 107.4 per 10,000 resident. It was a startling jump from one week ago when those 80 and over had a rate of 22.9 per 10,000.
There is a low percentage of Boston residents under 20 who have tested positive, and a low (26.2 per 10,000) infection rate among those 20-29. However, the numbers begin to climb for those reaching age 30, and then seem to level off for those ages 40-79 – all having rates between 60-76 per 10,000 people.
Nearly 30 percent of all COVID-19 cases were in persons age 60 and above, and rates are seen as increasing substantially with age – according to the BPHC.