Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced face masks will be required in all indoor public settings in the City of Boston, as part of a five-point plan for the delta variant, a more contagious COVID-19 mutation that is now the primary strain of the virus.
The public health order, issued by the Boston Public Health Commission, will go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 27 in the City. The City is implementing this proactive public health plan to mitigate community transmission of the Delta variant, ahead of the arrival of more than 50,000 college students from across the country and a return to school for more than 50,000 Boston Public School students. Most of the 100,000 children who live in the City of Boston are too young to be eligible for vaccination.
“There is nothing more important than Boston’s safe recovery, reopening, and renewal from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Janey. “We know that masks work best when everyone wears one. Requiring masks indoors is a proactive public health measure to limit transmission of the Delta variant, boost the public confidence in our businesses and venues, and protect the residents of our city who are too young for vaccination.”
On Friday, the city will require all people over age two to wear a mask or face covering, “whenever they are indoors on the premises of a business, club, place of assembly or other place that is open to members of the public, including but not limited to retail establishments, restaurants, bars, performance venues, social clubs, event spaces, and municipal buildings”.
“The Delta variant continues to create an additional challenge to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Interim Executive Director of the Boston Public Health CommissionRita Nieves. “Wearing a mask indoors along with getting more people vaccinated will offer more protection to all our residents, including children under 12 and those who are not able to get vaccinated.”
The BPHC data released last Friday showed Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown had an infection rate of 685.5 cases per 10,000 residents–a 1.5 percent increase from the 675.1 cases per 10,000 residents reported on August 13.
Fifty-eight additional residents have been infected with the virus between Aug. 13 and Aug. 20 and the total number of cases in the area increased to 3,820 cases overall since the pandemic began.
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 1.3 percent since August 13 and went from 74,052 cases to 75,047confirmed cases in a week. There were three additional deaths in Boston from the virus and the total deaths from COVID is now at 1,404.
While the Back Bay and surrounding area’s weekly positive COVID test rate decreased over the past week, the Delta variant of the virus is still prevalent and the city has updated its mask mandate policy for indoor venues this week.
After experiencing a 10 percent increase in the weekly COVID positive test rate between August 6 and August 13, the weekly positive test rate has decreased here.
According to the weekly report released last Friday released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), 2,080 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents were tested and 2.6 percent were positive. This was a 21 percent increase from the 3.3 percent of residents that tested positive between August 6 and August 13.
Overall since the pandemic started 60,104 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents have been tested for COVID-19 and the data shows that 6.4 percent of those tested were COVID positive. This was the same percentage reported by the BPHC on August 13.
Citywide, the weekly positive test rate decreased 10 percent last week after experiencing a steady increase since early July. According to the BPHC 22,466 residents were tested and 3.5 percent were COVID positive–this was a 3.5 decrease increase from the 3.9 percent reported by the BPHC two weeks ago.