Cumulative Test Rates in Back Bay, Neighbors Continue to Increase

Last week the cumulative COVID-19 positive test rate in Back Bay and the surrounding neighborhoods increased while the weekly positive test rate decreased once again. 

According to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) last Friday, overall since the pandemic started 41,684 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents have been tested for COVID-19 and the data shows that 5.3 percent of those tested were COVID positive–a 3.9 percent increase from the 5.1 percent two weeks ago.

Last week 3,582 residents were tested and 3.5 were positive–a 2.8 percent decrease from the 3.6 reported two Fridays ago.

Citywide, 37,455 residents were tested this week and 7.2 percent were found to be COVID positive last week.

At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Martin Walsh said an average of 5,351 people were tested each day. This number is down compared to the week before and does not include college testing.

The Mayor said positive test rates have gone down in every neighborhood, which is a good sign, but reported the  numbers with caution.

“While there has been some improvement in recent weeks, it’s still vital that everyone remains vigilant,” said Walsh. “We should all continue to wear our masks, avoid gatherings, and wash our hands and disinfect surfaces. We should think about the simple steps we can take on a daily basis to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

The Mayor also gave an update on Boston’s reopening plans. In mid-December, he announced that Boston would temporarily pause our reopening, and move back into a modified Phase 2, Step 2. He said city officials anticipated an increase in cases around the holidays, so they took action to slow the spread, protect hospital capacity, and avoid a more severe shutdown later on.

“This pause was set to expire tomorrow, January 27, and we are extending this pause through the end of this month,” said Walsh.  “On Monday, February 1, Boston will move forward into Phase 3, Step 1. At that point, all businesses and activities that are allowed to operate in Phase 3, Step 1 can re-open, with capacity limits in place. Most businesses will still be subject to the 25% capacity limits the State extended through February 8. In addition, all gatherings and events remain subject to capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, which applies to public and private spaces.”

For a list of sectors subject to the extended capacity restrictions, visit

The infection rate in Back Bay and surrounding neighborhoods increased 9 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 405.9 cases per 10,000 residents, up 6.6 percent from 380.8 cases per 10,000 residents.

One hundred forty additional residents became infected with the virus last week and the total number of cases in the area increased from 2,122 cases to 2,262 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 5.2 percent  percent last week and went from  49,137 cases to 51,718 confirmed cases in a week. Thirty-four Boston residents died from the virus last week and there are now 1,136  total deaths in the city from COVID.

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