Last week the cumulative COVID-19 positive test rate in the Back Bay and the surrounding neighborhoods dropped but the weekly positive test rate rose slightly.
According to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) last Friday, overall 36,974 Back Bay, North End, Beacon Hill, West End and Downtown residents have been tested for COVID-19 and the data shows that 4.6 percent of those tested were COVID positive–a 54.4 percent decrease from the 10.1 percent two weeks ago.
Last week 3,967 residents were tested and 3.6 were positive–a 9 percent increase from the 3.3 reported two Fridays ago.
Citywide, 8.8 percent were found to be COVID positive last week.
“The average number of positive tests each day for Boston residents was 413,” said Mayor Martin Walsh at a press briefing Tuesday. “That’s up slightly compared to the week before. Our current community positivity rate was 8.8 percent. That is up from the week before. Our case numbers are concerning, and our hospital numbers are higher than we’d like.”
The Mayor said that 93% of adult Non-Surge ICU Beds are occupied, the highest Boston has seen in a long time. The Mayor said that he and his team are in constant contact with local hospitals, and that he needs everyone to do their part.
“This is one of the most serious points of the pandemic so far and if numbers don’t improve, we’ll have to look at more restrictions. So everyone needs to wear a mask, avoid crowds, and stay six feet apart,” said Walsh. “Every time you do these things, you could be saving a life. We will beat this thing, if everyone buckles down.”
The Mayor also discussed the need for personal safety while indoor dining. He said that the City of Boston continues to monitor the data closely and limit indoor dining capacity to levels the public health experts say are safe.
He thanked local restaurants for following safety protocols, saying that they have been very cooperative. The City continues to support them with small business relief funds, technical support, and outdoor dining programs, and making it easier for them to offer safe pickup and delivery.
But, the Mayor said, he needs patrons to do their part, too.
The Mayor said local contact tracing efforts make it clear that even though indoor dining itself isn’t a high risk factor, too many people are going out to dinner with people outside their bubbles, increasing the risk for COVID-19 transmission. He said that sometimes they see other people they know and “table hop,” which has to stop.
“We can keep local restaurants open… but only if people follow the public health guidance,” said Walsh. “So, if you’re indoor dining: only go with people in your bubble; keep your mask on when you’re not eating; and don’t mingle with other tables. It’s not just about your safety… It’s about our hardworking waiters and waitresses, hosts, and busboys who are working hard so that you can have a good time. Be respectful and help us spread the word about this.”
The infection rate in the North End and surrounding neighborhoods increased 7.5 percent in one week according to the latest city statistics.
The BPHC data released last Friday showed Back Bay, North End, Beacon Hill, West End and Downtown had an infection rate of 321.9 cases per 10,000 residents, up from 299.3 cases per 10,000 residents.
One hundred twenty-six additional residents became infected with the virus last week and the total number of cases in the area increased from 1,668 cases to 1,794 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 8.5 percent percent last week and went from 38,872 cases to 42,195 confirmed cases in a week. Thirty-seven more Boston residents died from the virus and there are now 1,025 total deaths in the city from COVID.