COVID-19 Updates: Mayor Walsh, MGH Announce Results of Community Study

More than 5,000 residents living in East Boston, Roslindale or within the boundaries of zip codes 02121 and 02125 in Dorchester were invited to voluntarily participate in a Mass General COVID-19 study, and the results of the study were released Friday.

Of the 5,000 residents that signed up from Eastie and the other three Boston neighborhoods only 750 qualified for the MGH and City of Boston study. A little over 25 percent participation in the study were from Eastie, a known COVID-19 ‘hotspot’. Eastie residents with symptoms or a previously positive COVID-19 test were disqualified from the study.

The study found that of those tested 1.1 percent of Eastie residents tested positive for COVID-19 while 13.3 percent tested positive for  antibodies. Overall the study found that 1 in 10 residents from the four Boston zip codes had or have COVID-19.

“We can draw two preliminary conclusions from the results of this study,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “First, that the actions we took early on in this pandemic made a real difference in slowing the spread and, second, that the majority of our population still have not been exposed to the virus. This underscores what we already know, that we have to move cautiously and stay focused on what got us this far. This can be done by a gradual, phased-in approach to reopening that includes clear health criteria and safety guidelines for each industry and depends on testing and hospital metrics reaching certain benchmarks, and continuing to move in the right direction.”

As the state begins a phased reopening this week, President of Mass General Dr. Peter Slavin, MD said making sound decisions about safely reopening requires that we understand how extensively the virus has already spread in our community.

 “The testing that the teams from Boston and the MGH conducted shows that approximately 90 percent of the city’s residents have not yet been exposed to the virus,” he said. “We also know that COVID-19 will be with us for a while. It is vital therefore that we be thoughtful and careful about reopening, and that we continue to take actions – wearing masks, physical distancing, working from home when possible, limiting gatherings – that can prevent another surge of the disease.”

On Friday the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) released its weekly COVID-19 stats by neighborhood.

In one week Eastie’s COVID-19 infection rate rose slightly from 252.9 cases per 10,000 residents to an infection rate of 273 cases per 10,000 residents as of Friday.

As of Friday there were 1,281 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Eastie, up from the 1,187 cases reported by the BPHC a week ago.

The statistics released by the BPHC as part of its weekly COVID-19 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.

Eastie was second only to Hyde Park as the neighborhood with the highest infection rate in the city.

Citywide there have been 11,958 positive cases of coronavirus, up from 11,106 last week.

So far, 4,914 of these 11,958 residents have fully recovered.

There have been 587 COVID-19 related deaths among Boston residents, up from 533.

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