As feared the post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge is here and numbers are once again spiking in the Back Bay and the surrounding area.
Back Bay and the surrounding area experienced a 60 percent drop in the positive test rate during Thanksgiving week but that number has increased 110 percent the week following the holiday.
According to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) last Friday, 33,164 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents were tested for COVID-19 and the data shows that 5.9 percent of those tested were COVID positive. This was a 110 percent increase from the 2.8 percent testing positive the week of Thanksgiving.
The citywide positive test rate also exploded and the average was 11.9 percent–a 138 percent percent increase from the 5 percent that tested positive two weeks ago.
Overall since the pandemic began 3.5 percent of Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents were found to be COVID positive.
At his daily press conference last Thursday Mayor Martin Walsh said there is a sharp increase in viral activity and there’s an urgent need for vigilance: The Mayor said that after a couple of weeks of declining numbers Boston is now seeing, in the wake of Thanksgiving, a significant uptick in COVID activity.
“On Wednesday and Thursday, we recorded a combined 960 new cases in Boston, and Wednesday’s number for Massachusetts was the highest since the pandemic began,” said Walsh. “In addition, we are seeing more patients admitted to Boston hospitals due to COVID-19. Since Friday (Nov. 27), we’ve seen an increase of about 70 patients. We’re going to be monitoring the data, working closely with our hospitals and health care leaders, and bringing relief and resources where they are needed.”
Walsh said in the meantime, Bostonians must double-down on their personal precautions.
“Wear a face covering that covers your nose and your mouth when you are outside your house,” said Walsh. “Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect your surroundings, especially at work. If you are an employer, make sure your workers have what they need to be safe, and allow as many people to work from home as possible.”
The Mayor asked seniors, in particular, to take extra care and continue to stay at home as much as possible.
The Mayor repeated his request that everyone get tested, especially if you have reason to think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, or if you spent Thanksgiving with a group larger than your immediate household.
“Currently, we have over 30 testing sites in Boston,” said Walsh. “You can find them listed and mapped at boston.gov/coronavirus, or you can call 311. The City will continue to invest in free mobile sites and bring them to neighborhoods where COVID activity is higher. Our mobile sites are free and open to anyone, regardless of whether you have COVID symptoms or not.”
The infection rate in the Back Bay and surrounding neighborhoods increased 8.5 percent in one week according to the latest city statistics.
The BPHC data released last Friday showed Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown had an infection rate of 219.4 cases per 10,000 residents, up from 202.2 cases per 10,000 residents.
Ninety-six additional residents became infected with the virus last week and the total number of cases in the area increased from 1,127 cases to 1,223 cases as of last Friday.
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 12.7 percent last week and went from 27,228 cases to 30,692 cases in a week. Two more Boston residents died from the virus and there are now 940 total deaths in the city from COVID.