News In Brief

BPD District 4 Now Collecting Holiday Toys for Two Good Causes

Boston Police District 4 headquarters, located at 850 Harrison Ave. is currently accepting holiday toy donations in two bins in its lobby to accept two worthy causes.

One collection bin supports the Boston Police Toy Drive other, while the other goes to Smart from the Start (, a nonprofit committed  to family support and community engagement that one of the D-4 officers is affiliated with. The deadline for the BPD Toy Drive is Thursday, Dec. 16, while  the deadline for Smart from the Start toy drive is Friday, Dec. 17.

The station is open 24 hours a day, but if it’s not convenient for someone to drop off a gift, Boston Police will happily come to pick it up. Contact the District 4 front desk at 617-343-4250 for more information.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice with Music and Spoken Word

First Church in Boston, Unitarian Universalist, continues its tradition of offering a Celebration of the Winter Solstice on Tuesday, December 21, at 7 PM at the church, 66 Marlborough St. in Back Bay. 

In time-honored tradition, we will welcome the darkness but also anticipate the return of the light with music, song and spoken word. Participants include Irish Harpist Aine Minogue, pianist Jacqueline Schwab, First Church Interim Minister Edmund Robinson and Music Director Gigi Mitchell-Velasco, tenor Noel Velasco and bass William Thorpe. (The audience will be required to wear masks during the performance, and all performers will be masked except when performing.)

The event is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted.

Back Bay, Surrounding Area’s COVID Cases Increase

The Back Bay and the city’s weekly COVID positive test rate continues to rise dramatically post Thanksgiving and ahead of the Christmas Holiday.

A week after Mayor Michelle Wu announced several measures to help combat the explosive rise in cases in Boston, the Back Bay and the surrounding area’s weekly positive test rate approached 5 percent last week and the citywide weekly positive test rate neared 7 percent. Last Monday, Wu said Boston health officials will distribute 20,000 free rapid antigen home tests,offer free masks to neighborhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19 and appointed a 17-member COVID advisory board to help with the latest outbreak.

According to the weekly report released Monday by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), 2,267 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, West End and Downtown residents were tested and 4.8 percent were positive. This was a 55 percent increase from the 3.1 percent that tested positive between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.

The citywide weekly positive test rate also increased dramatically last week. According to the BPHC 21,26 residents were tested and 5.2 percent were COVID positive–this was a 30 percent increase from the 4 percent reported by the BPHC on November 29.

All together, 109 additional residents have been infected with the virus between December 6 and December 13 and the total number of cases in the area increased to 4,679 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 3 percent last week and went from 89,745 cases to 92,481confirmed cases in a week. There were eight additional deaths in Boston from the virus in the past week and the total COVID deaths is now at 1,480.

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