COVID Still on the Rise in Eastie Walsh Announces New Citywide Restrictions to Start Dec. 16

The COVID-19 surge across Boston is continuing and Mayor Martin Walsh said the city is focusing its efforts on neighborhoods like East Boston that have a high volume of community spread ahead of the Christmas holiday. 

According to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), Eastie residents testing positive for COVID last week increased another 16 percent and one out of every four residents tested were positive. This comes on the heels of a 78 percent increase in positive test results the week after the Thanksgiving holiday. . 

Last Friday, 26,928 Eastie residents were tested for COVID and 25.4 percent were found to be positive for the virus, a 16 percent increase from the 21.9 percent reported two Fridays ago. Eastie again has the highest positive test rate in all of Boston. 

Overall since the pandemic began 15 percent of Eastie residents here have been found to be positive. 

The citywide positive test increased 45 percent last week and went from 11.9 percent of Boston residents testing positive for the virus to 17.3  percent. 

On Monday, Mayor Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker announced new state-wide restrictions for the city and state. In an effort to reduce the further spread of COVID and its impact on Boston’s health care system and essential services, Walsh said starting Wednesday Boston will return back to a modified Phase Two, Step Two of the Reopening Massachusetts plan. The 

“Unfortunately, we are at the point where we need to take stronger action to control COVID-19 in Boston, and urgently, to ensure our health care workers have the capacity to care for everyone in need,” said Walsh. “We are hopeful that by reducing opportunities for transmission throughout the region, we will reduce the spread of this deadly virus and maintain our ability to keep critical services open. We continue to urge everyone to take personal responsibility and follow the public health guidelines while visiting any public space or business, and employers to allow their employees to work from home as much as possible. Together, we will be able to get this virus under control, save lives, and ultimately come back stronger.” 

Returning to a modified Phase Two, Step Two requires the closure of certain businesses that were allowed to open during the Phase Three reopening plan. Gatherings in private and public settings are required to have no more than 10 people for indoor settings and 25 people for outdoor settings. 

The following industries in the City of Boston are required to close starting Wednesday, December 16 for at least three weeks: 

• Indoor fitness centers and health clubs, including gyms using alternative spaces. One-on-one personal training sessions are allowed.

• Movie theaters

• Museums

• Aquariums

• Indoor recreational and athletic facilities (except for youth 18 and under)

• This does not apply to collegiate or professional sports. Collegiate sports teams in the City of Boston may continue to use indoor recreational facilities and fitness centers.

• Indoor pools may remain open for all ages under pre-registration format structure limited to one person per swim lane. 

• Indoor recreational venues with potential for low-contact (batting cases, driving ranges, bowling alleys, rock-climbing) 

• Sightseeing and other organized tours (bus tours, duck tours, harbor cruises, whale watching)

• Indoor historical spaces & sites 

• Indoor event spaces (meeting rooms, ballrooms, private party rooms, social clubs)

• Private social clubs may continue to operate, if they serve food, consistent with restaurant guidance.

• Indoor and outdoor gaming arcades associated with gaming devices

Walsh said bars and restaurants may remain open with bar seating restrictions and a strictly enforced 90-minute seating limit. 

“Right now, we need to use every tool in our public health and healthcare toolboxes to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said  East Boston Neighborhood Health Center President and CEO Manny Lopes. “The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, but just because help is on the way does not mean the fight is over. For ten months, Mayor Walsh and his team have followed the data and acted in the best interest of the residents of the City of Boston. I applaud him for continuing this strategy and look forward to mobilizing in support of our shared battle against COVID-19.”

Eastie’s infection rate rose by eight percent according to the data released by the BPHC last Friday. Eastie’s COVID infection rate went from 814.6 cases per 10,000 residents to 880.3 cases per 10,000 residents. The citywide average is 464.3 cases per 10,000 residents and Eastie still has the highest infection rates in all of Boston. 

An additional 308 Eastie residents contracted the virus with 4,131 confirmed cases, up from the 3,823 reported two weeks ago. 

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 nearly 10 percent  percent last week and went from 30,342 cases to 33,323 in a week. Twenty more Boston residents died from the virus and there are now 953 total deaths in the city from COVID.

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