The city continues to combat the uptick in East Boston’s COVID-19 positive test rates that began in August.
While the efforts brought the positive test rate down from a high of 11.8 percent to 5.1 percent in the last two weeks, the number of residents testing positive for COVID here rose again to 6.1 percent.
Last Friday, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) reported that Eastie’s COVID-19 positive test rate, after reaching an all-time high of 11.8 percent last month, but fell to 6.2 percent two weeks later and then fell again to 5.1 percent.
For nearly a month the city has been working with healthcare professionals and agencies like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center to curb the COVID spike in the neighborhood. The City launched an elevated outreach plan for Eastie to address the increase in case data.
According to the latest data released by the BPHC last Friday, Eastie’s COVID infection rate rose 2.6 percent and went from 487.7 cases per 10,000 residents to 500.8 cases per 10,000 residents. The last increase two weeks ago was 1.2 percent. The citywide average is 247.8 cases per 10,000 residents and Eastie still has the highest infection rate in all of Boston.
As of Friday, 59 more residents became infected with the virus in Eastie and there were 2.348 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up from the 2,289 reported by the BPHC two weeks ago.
In Eastie, the BPHC has been working with several City departments to distribute 2,000 COVID-19 kits with cleaning supplies and information to residents and businesses in multiple languages, across the neighborhood. The City is also partnering with local churches, and is focused on helping people in households with multiple generations learn strategies for preventing the spread of the virus. In addition, business outreach began last week in multiple languages, to make sure management and staff know the regulations; have access to PPE, signage, and prevention efforts like social distancing and hygiene; and know that they need to report to BPHC when they have an employee test positive.
Of the 16,667 Eastie residents tested for COVID last week, 6.4 percent were found to be positive for the virus, an increase of 25 percent.
Overall since the pandemic began 14.6 percent of Eastie residents have been found to be positive. The citywide positive test rate is 2.7 percent.
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 rose by 2.8 percent last week from 16,676 cases to 17,140 confirmed cases. So far 14,046 Boston residents have fully recovered from the virus and two additional residents died last week bringing the total of fatalities in the city to 763.
During his daily press briefing on the virus Friday, Mayor Martin Walsh said Boston’s positive test rate is at 2.7%, roughly level with the week before.
“Our daily average for new positive tests is 49, down slightly from the week before,” he said. “We have seen a slight increase in our hospitalization numbers, but it has not crossed our threshold for major concern. We are monitoring it carefully, and the City will continue to bring resources to where they are needed.”
The Mayor said we need everyone to remain vigilant with face coverings, hand washing, and social distancing to help keep the numbers under control.
“On Monday of this week, Boston Public Schools kicked off the new school year with online learning for all students,” said Walsh. “I want to remind everyone that the plan is to gradually introduce in-person learning starting with the highest need students, and the youngest students.”
The Mayor said the city will only move forward with in-person learning if the COVID-19 data stays within a certain threshold, and will only hold in-person learning if Boston’s positive test rate is below four percent.
“We will continue to monitor all data closely, and make adjustments if needed,” he said.