After recently seeing a week over week decline in East Boston’s COVID-19 positive test rates, the number now seems to be climbing once again in the neighborhood.
Eastie experienced an all time high with an 11.8 percent positive test rate back in August, but efforts by the city and health officials brought that number down to 5.1 percent last month.
However, two weeks ago the positive test rate number climbed to 6.1 percent and last Friday jumped to 8.8 percent.
Last Friday, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) released the latest COVID-19 data and Mayor Martin Walsh addressed the trend here and across Boston.
“The City is continuing its outreach in East Boston where the positive rates are the highest,” said Mayor Walsh. “We are working on expanding testing access in East Boston, and we continue to do bilingual outreach in all of our Latino communities.”
The Mayor said that most of Boston’s neighborhoods saw increases last week, so this uptick in activity is something that impacts everyone.
“While the City is bringing resources and information to where it’s needed, we also need everyone’s help,” said Walsh. “That especially includes our young adults, among whom we continue to see the most cases. If you have to go to work, if you live in a large household, or if you’re running a business, the City has resources and information that can help you stay safe.”
He said that every single person, in every neighborhood, must continue to follow the guidelines the City has laid out, because they’ve been proven to work.”
Those include wearing a mask; washing your hands; keeping six feet of distance as much as possible, and having your mask on if you’re unsure if you’re keeping that distance; and following all the guidelines for your industry, or your college or workplace.
The Mayor also urged people in Eastie to not go to gatherings, especially not to house parties or cookouts where people are mingling.
“This is where we are seeing most of the transmission right now,” said Walsh. “We must all make smart choices to protect our health, our family’s health, and the health of our community.”
For over 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 data released by the BPHC on Friday, Eastie’s COVID infection rate rose three percent and went from 500.8 cases per 10,000 residents to 515.6 cases per 10,000 residents. The last increase two weeks ago was 2.6 percent. The citywide average is 255 cases per 10,000 residents and Eastie still has the highest infection rate in all of Boston.
As of Friday, 72 more residents became infected with the virus in Eastie and there were 2,420 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up from the 2,348 reported by the BPHC two weeks ago.
Of the 17,450 Eastie residents tested for COVID last week and 8.8 percent were found to be positive for the virus, an increase of 44 percent. The citywide positive test rate is 3.9 percent.
Overall since the pandemic began 14.3 percent of residents here have been found to be positive.
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 three percent last week from 17,140 cases to 17,649 confirmed cases. So far 14,723 Boston residents have fully recovered from the virus and one additional resident died last week bringing the total of fatalities in the city to 764.
During his daily press briefing on the virus Friday, Walsh said Boston had entered the “red” category on the state map on Wednesday, September 30.
“That means Boston is seeing eight or more daily cases per 100,000 population,” said Walsh. He said this move was expected, but to note that this map is based on one metric–raw number of cases per day.
“We’re also looking at the positive test rate and the hospital data and trends over time,” he said. “Everyone must focus on what we can do to keep the activity down, and that is part of living with the virus.”