Weekly COVID positive test rate decreases dramatically

Last week, the cumulative COVID-19 positive test rate in Eastie increased slightly while the weekly positive test rate dropped for a fifth week in a row.

According to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), of the 34,536 Eastie residents tested for COVID since the pandemic began, 18.9 percent overall were found to be positive for the virus, a 0.53  percent increase from the 18.8 percent reported two Fridays ago.

However, 1,930 Eastie residents were tested for the virus last week and only 4.8 percent were positive–a 38.5 percent decrease from the 7.8 that tested positive two Fridays ago. 

Citywide, 29,297 residents were tested and 4.8 percent were COVID positive–a 17 percent decrease from the 5.8 percent testing positive two weeks ago.

At his press briefing last week Mayor Martin Walsh reminded residents that Governor Charles Baker would increase the statewide capacity restrictions from 25 percent to 40 percent for the businesses that are allowed to be open in Phase 3 Step 1. Walsh said that the City of Boston is aligning with the State on these capacity restrictions. The City and the State are now currently in Phase 3, Step 1 of reopening. The limit on gatherings remains at 25 people outdoors, and 10 people indoors. This applies to both public and private spaces.

Walsh encouraged residents and business owners to visit Mass.gov/reopening for a more detailed list, as well as industry-specific guidance.

Walsh said that the improvement the city has seen in its numbers is encouraging, and means the measures the city has taken are making a difference.

“It does not, however, mean that anyone should let their guards down,” said Walsh. “Instead, everyone must do their part to keep the numbers going down so that certain activities can stay open, safely.”

Walsh said that throughout this crisis, Boston has taken a cautious approach.

“We only move forward if the public health data says that it’s safe to do so, and the City has been enforcing safety protocols,” said Walsh. “Most restaurants in Boston have been doing a great job, and I thank them for that, but that the City is also taking swift action when establishments do not meet safety protocols. The Inspectional Services Department continues to work with Boston Police, Boston Fire, the Licensing Board, and Boston Public Health Commission on enforcement. They are in constant contact with our business owners to make sure they understand the regulations. They’re providing restaurants with the tools they need to get up to code. These departments work together to investigate and address violations.”

If residents have concerns about a property, they can call 3-1-1 or the BPD’s party line at 617-343-5500.

The Licensing Board has instituted a weekly standing emergency hearing on Mondays to address any violations that come up over the weekend. Those hearings have resulted in immediate closures, when necessary.

City agencies responded to about 2,500 complaints in 2020. Most were dealt with immediately, and all of them were dealt with within 24 hours.

For example the City recently got a call from a patron who had dined at a restaurant that was not adhering to capacity restrictions. That same night, BPD conducted an inspection and confirmed that there was a violation. By Monday morning, that Licensee went before the Licensing Board, and had their license suspended.

“Nobody wants to shut restaurants down,” said Walsh. “We’re doing everything we can to help local businesses with grants, helping them procure PPE, and loosening restrictions for things like outdoor dining. But the health and safety of our residents always comes first. We will continue to take swift action whenever there’s a violation. Again, I thank the vast majority of restaurants for doing a great job under difficult circumstances.”

Eastie’s COVID infection rate only increased 1.45 percent last week and went from  1,375.5 cases per 10,000 residents to 1,395.5 cases per 10,000 residents. The citywide average is 822.3 cases per 10,000 residents.

An additional 94 Eastie residents contracted the virus and there are now 6,549 confirmed cases, up from the 6,455 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 1.5 percent  percent last week and went from  55,236 cases to 56,079 confirmed cases in a week. Twenty additional Boston residents died from the virus last week and there are now 1,214 total deaths in the city from COVID.

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