Eastie’s Positive Test Rate Continues to Climb; Neighborhood Still Has Highest Rate in the City

Nearly one out of every five people tested in East Boston were found to be COVID positive according to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).

Last Friday the BPHC reported that of the 23,693 Eastie residents tested for COVID last week 19 percent were found to be positive for the virus, a 13 percent decrease from the 16.8 percent reported two Fridays ago. Eastie still has the highest positive test rate in Boston.

Overall since the pandemic began 14 percent of Eastie residents here have been found to be positive. The citywide positive test rate was up 29 percent and went from 7.9 percent of Boston residents testing positive for the virus to 10.2 percent last week.

At his daily press briefing last week, Mayor Martin Walsh reiterated the City’s priority in this crisis.

“To keep people safe and contain this virus, we have to follow the science and we have to follow the data,” said Walsh.

What that means, the Mayor explained, is that city public health experts collect comprehensive testing data and hospital data. They analyze it to understand how and where the virus is spreading, and the impact it is having.

“We shape our responses and our guidance based on what the data indicates,” said Walsh.. “And, we share the data with the public, so you can be armed with knowledge to help keep yourself, your family, and your community safe. That’s a process of continual feedback and learning because, just as this epidemic evolves and its impact on our neighborhoods evolves, our knowledge about it must evolve as well. We need to adapt and update our understanding of COVID spread in the community.”

Walsh announced that, starting this week, the City will be publishing a total of six key metrics relating to test results and hospital usage. The goal, he said, is to give residents the most current and comprehensive picture of the virus as they can.

“The more we know, and the more you know, the better informed and prepared we can all be,” he said.

Walsh emphasized that every metric right now is telling city officials that we are in the midst of a significant and concerning increase in COVID activity in the city.

“The daily case increases we are seeing are starting to look like numbers that we saw near our peak, in April and May,” said Walsh. “Hospital admissions are not at that level, but they have increased over time. We all must be focused on turning this trend around.”

Walsh said that the City is looking closely at what steps we can take to further limit the risk of transmission.

“We have taken a cautious approach throughout this pandemic, making safety our priority,” said Walsh. “We pulled back on in-person learning in the Boston Public Schools. This week we were able to bring back 150 students with the highest needs, who desperately need in-person services. The Mayor thanked the families and teachers for making that possible. We have kept our limits on gathering sizes low. Private, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and private outdoor gatherings to 25 people. For events in public spaces, the limit is 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. We’ve worked with the state to limit restaurant hours and retail hours, and put in place a Stay-at-home advisory for the hours between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.”

However, the Mayor cautioned, if these case numbers continue to go up, the city will have to go further but added that he is mindful of the impact that restrictions have on the local economy and small businesses.

“But we must put the health of our community first because, in the end, there is no economic recovery without public health,” he said.

Eastie’s infection rate rose by 6.7 percent according to the data released by the BPHC last Friday. Eastie’s COVID infection rate went from 671.4 cases per 10,000 residents to 716.8 cases per 10,000 residents. The citywide average is 365.9 cases per 10,000 residents and Eastie still has one of the highest infection rates in all of Boston.

So far 3,364 Eastie residents have contracted the virus and the neighborhood accounts for 13.5 percent of all cases in Boston.

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 4 percent last week and went from 24,159 cases to 25,105 cases.

Fifteen more Boston residents died from the virus and there are now 899 total deaths in the city from COVID.

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