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Nov 25
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): The Latest

Visit the BPHC Main Page on COVID-19 

OVERVIEW:

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 (formerly referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) is a new respiratory virus that was first identified in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. The City of Boston and BPHC have extended the public health emergency declaration until further notice

Boston's Latest Numbers (As of November 25, 2020): (Updated Monday-Friday)

  • 26,160 confirmed cases 

  • 21,092 recovered

  • 906 deaths


Boston Race/Ethnicity Case Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Known Cases

Percentage of Known Cases

Asian/PI

995

4%

Black/African-American

6,245

27%

Latinx/Hispanic

7,556

33%

Other

1,772

8%

White

6,332

28%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Cases in Boston

22,900

87.5% of total cases in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Cases in Boston 

26,160

 


Boston Race/Ethnicity Death Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Deaths

Percentage of Known Deaths

Asian/PI

59

7%

Black/African-American

312

34%

Latinx/Hispanic

102

11%

Other

27

3%

White

406

45%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Deaths in Boston

906

100.0% of total deaths in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Deaths in Boston

906

 


Although complete data on race and ethnicity among COVID-19 positive cases in Boston residents has not been reported to the City of Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is actively working to collect available data for public release.

NOTE: Information on race and ethnicity data is collected and reported by multiple entities and may or may not reflect self-reporting by the individual case. A classification of "missing" indicates that no reporter knew the race and ethnicity of the individual, the individual refused to provide the information, or that the originating reporting system does not capture the information. "Other" indicates multiple races or another race that is not listed above.

Click HERE for the latest COVID-19 Core Metrics - 11/24/2020

These are the core metrics critical to inform response leadership. BPHC and the City of Boston use this data to monitor the progress of the City's response, to guide decision making and to shape our response moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Neighborhood Testing Data - Cumulative Positivity

This calculation counts each individual person one time (their first negative, their first positive), regardless of the number of times an individual is tested. (As of Friday, November 20, 2020).

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

OF TESTED, CUMULATIVE % POSITIVE​

CURRENT WEEK % POSITIVE

TESTING RATE PER 100,000 RESIDENTS​

East Boston - 02128

24,540

14.1%

15.4%​

52,294.0

Mattapan - 02126

10,412

​11.5%

13.2%

35,186.4

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

31,209

11.4%

12.1%

38,586.8

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

29,210

11.3%

13.1%​

45,443.9

Hyde Park - 02136

15,295

​11.3%

13.4%

44,692.2

Roslindale - 02131

14,723

8.9%

12.2%

43,596.6

Roxbury - 02119, 02120 

28,559

6.9%

9.9%​

66,220.7

West Roxbury - 02132

11,606

6.1%

8.2%

40,741.4

South Boston - 02127, 02210 

21,886

5.9%

7.8%

54,586.7

South End - 02111, 02118 

24,790

5.8%

5.0%​

69,331.0

Jamaica Plain - 02130

23,785

5.1%

4.2%

58,907.3

C​harlestown - 02129 

9,145

4.4%​

5.1%

47,105.2

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135

40,576

4.3%​

3.5%

60,938.6

Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End, Downtown, & North End - 02108, 02114, 02116, 02199, 02222, 02109, 02110, 02113​

31,273

3.4%​

4.7%

56,122.2

Fenway - 02115, 02215

54,902

1.5%​

1.2%

100,319.8

Boston

​ 395,260

6.5%

6.2%

58,176.7

*N/A = Unable to calculate due to small counts (N<5)

Neighborhood Testing Data - Current Community Positivity

This calculation counts each individual person one time within 7 days to better assess the current level of COVID-19 infection in the City and neighborhoods. (November 7-13 vs. November 14-20)

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

% POSITIVE

TESTING RATE PER 100,000 RESIDENTS​

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

2,503

7.0%​

3,894.1

East Boston - 02128

2,472

6.9%

5,267.8

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

2,790

6.0%

3,449.6

Mattapan - 02126

993

5.9%​

3,355.8

Roslindale - 02131

1,492

5.8%

4,418.0

Hyde Park - 02136 

1,353

5.8%

3,953.5

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

1,651

5.4%​

3,828.2

South Boston - 02127, 02210

3,241

3.9%

8,083.5

West Roxbury - 02132 

1,423

3.6%

4,995.3

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135

3,387

2.5%​

5,086.7

South End - 02111, 02118

2,488

2.4%

6,958.3

Charlestown - 02129

1,226

2.2%

6,315.0

Fenway - 02115, 022151

1,636

2.1%

2,989.4

Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End, Downtown, & North End - 02108, 02114, 02116, 02199, 02222, 02109, 02110, 02113

3,824

1.9%

6,862.5

Jamaica Plain - 02130

2,304

1.7%

5,706.2

Boston

33,562

4.0%

4,939.9

*N/A = Unable to calculate due to small counts (N<5)


Click here for the BPHC 11-19-2020 Weekly COVID-19 Report

Number of deaths at long-term care facilities: 412 (Updated weekly: 11/23/2020)

ABOUT OUR RESPONSE:

Since January, BPHC and Boston EMS have taken extensive steps to prepare for a potential outbreak of COVID-19.

BPHC is engaging in daily communications with the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), City of Boston departments and other community partners to make sure we have the latest information on guidance, best practices and recommendations. BPHC will provide updated information on this website and on our social media channels as it becomes available.

We are confident the City of Boston continues to be ready for a safe and effective response as the situation develops.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19?

Visit the BPHC Main COVID-19 Page

Call 311 or 211

Call the Mayor's Healthline: 

617-534-5050 or Toll-Free: 1-800-847-0710

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on COVID-19

Massachusetts Department of Public Health website on COVID-19


Media Contact: 

Caitlin McLaughlin 

cmclaughlin@bphc.org 

(857-393-0002)

Nov 18
Mayor Walsh, Boston Public Health Commission Offer Guidance on How to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving During COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today released guidance on celebrating Thanksgiving safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, urging residents to stay home and spend the day with people in their own household. Health officials have advised that traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19. 

"Thanksgiving is normally a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. We know these aren't normal times, so we're asking everyone to take the necessary steps to prevent the further transmission of COVID-19 as we enter a critical period in this pandemic," said Mayor Walsh. "We can keep the spirit of thankfulness alive without putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. As always, I want to thank Bostonians for their cooperation during this difficult year."  

Residents who may have COVID-19, are not feeling well, or have been exposed to the virus should stay home and not host or participate in any in-person gatherings. Residents who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with certain medical conditions, should also not take part in any in-person gatherings.

If you are planning on hosting or attending a Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Keep it small and limit the number of guests. In Boston, indoor gatherings should be 10 people or less.

  • Ask guests to wear a mask unless eating and drinking, and stay 6 feet apart when possible.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.

  • Ask guests to avoid going in and out of areas where food is being prepared and handled, like the kitchen.

  • Do not share food, drink, or any utensils.

  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.

  • Avoid any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets, potlucks, or drink stations.

  • If sharing food, have one person (wearing a face mask and gloves) serve food and use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

  • Consider small seating table arrangements in multiple rooms with plenty of spacing, instead of a large family table.

  • Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors.

  • For 14 days before and after holiday gatherings, minimize contact with other people, and leave home only for essential services like going to work, buying groceries, and appointments with doctors.

If you are planning to travel for Thanksgiving: 

Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel:

  • Know the higher-risk states and what the Massachusetts travel orders mean for when you return home

    • All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are required to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.

  • Wear a face covering at all times in public

  • Stay 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household

  • Get a flu shot before traveling, if you have not already

  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth

BPHC health officials encourage families to find safer, alternative or virtual ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. The safest celebrations involve people from your household, are outdoors, and allow for social distancing and other safety measures. 

Lower risk activities:

  • Having a small Thanksgiving dinner with only people who live in your household.

  • Host a virtual dinner with extended family and friends. Show off your favorite dishes and share your favorite recipes.

  • Host a Thanksgiving meal outdoors, if possible.

  • Go for a walk with extended family members, while wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart. 

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors and delivering them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others.

  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving. Use contactless services, like curbside pick-up or shop in open air markets and stay 6 feet away from others.

Higher risk activities:

  • Attending or hosting indoor gatherings with people from outside your home.

  • Sharing food and drinks.

  • Shaking hands and hugging. Wave and verbally greet others instead.  

  • Singing, dancing, and shouting. These activities increase your chances of catching COVID-19 through the air.  

Read more on the Thanksgiving guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on Boston's response to COVID-19, please visit boston.gov/coronavirus.

###


Nov 04
Mayor Walsh Announces City COVID-19 Mobile Testing Team Stays in East Boston; Second Site In Mattapan

​Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday announced the City of Boston's two mobile testing teams are now available again to anyone at no cost and regardless of symptoms. East Boston Neighborhood Health Center will continue its mobile operation in East Boston's Central Square Park located on Border Street across from Liberty Plaza Shopping Center. Whittier Street Health Center will operate in Mattapan at Jubilee Christian Church at 1500 Blue Hill Avenue. Both testing sites are available through Saturday, November 14.

"As we see an increase in COVID-19 activity, it is vital that we continue to ensure access to testing, especially in neighborhoods and communities where there's a greater positivity rate.  And, in addition to the City of Boston providing availability, I need every Bostonian to get tested, even if they aren't showing symptoms, so individuals can protect their health and the City can be guided by accurate public health data," said Mayor Walsh. "Thank you to East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and Whittier Street Health Center for helping to provide this important resource and healthcare to our residents." 

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center: Central Square in East Boston

In East Boston, testing is available through Saturday, November 14 in Central Square Park on Border Street, across from Liberty Plaza Shopping Center. Testing is available to anyone at no cost and regardless of symptoms. Individuals are asked to register by calling 617-568-4500.

The dates and hours of operation are:

Wednesday, November 4 - Friday, November 6: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 7: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10 - Friday, November 13: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 14: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

"We are again thankful for Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston for providing East Boston with key testing resources. Now more than ever, we need to focus on identifying and stopping the spread of COVID-19," said East Boston Neighborhood Health Center president and CEO Manny Lopes. "The entire team at EBNHC urges East Boston and surrounding neighborhoods to wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get tested. We can make a difference if we do it together."

Whittier Street Health Center: Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan

In Mattapan, testing is available through Saturday, November 14, 2020 at Jubilee Christian Church, which is located at 1500 Blue Hill Avenue. Anyone can get tested at no cost and regardless of COVID-19 symptoms during the hours listed below. Individuals are asked to register by calling 617-858-2406.

The dates and hours of operation are:

Wednesday, November 4 - Friday, November 6: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 7: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10 -  Friday, November 13: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 14: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

"With recent daily reports of coronavirus cases in Boston and across the country surging to previously unseen heights since the pandemic began, we deeply value the opportunity to partner with the city to make free COVID-19 testing available to all," Frederica M. Williams, President and CEO of Whittier Street Health Care Center. "We are in an urgent crisis, and with testing, contact tracing and following the CDC guidelines of how to protect yourself and others, we believe that we should be able to bend the curve and keep everyone safe and healthy."


The mobile site testing initiative was announced by Mayor Walsh in May as a way to help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing. The first mobile testing teams have previously been located in Roxbury, Allston, South Boston, Mattapan, East Boston, and Dorchester. At the Roxbury mobile site in Nubian Square, there were 841 COVID-19 tests given.

In addition to the City's two mobile testing sites, COVID-19 testing is available at over 30 locations across the city. Individuals can call the Mayor's Health Line with any questions using 617-534-5050. View a complete list of all testing sites

Mayor Walsh recently announced the City of Boston launched "Get The Test, Boston," a pledge designed to encourage residents to get a COVID-19 test. Additionally, businesses who sign the pledge will share testing resources and information with their employees. So far, over 20 businesses have signed onto the pledge, including Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Main Streets, Bunker Hill Community College, Drift, Greater Boston Labor Council, MassChallenge, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Rapid 7, Rise Construction Management, Roxbury Community College, Stop & Shop, Flour Bakery & Cafe, Myers & Chang, Sociedad Latina, Weber Shandwick, Soleil Restaurant, Emerson College, TD Garden, The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, UNITE HERE Local 26, and Wayfair.

The City of Boston has been partnering with community health centers to increase access to testing, particularly in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. As of Saturday, October 31, 2020, there were 340,542 COVID-19 tests of Boston residents. Out of 340,542 total tests, 6.2% have tested positive. For all Boston residents, the positivity for tests decreased from 8.0% for the prior week (October 18-24) to 7.2% for the current week (October 25-31). The latest numbers of cases from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) by neighborhoods are available online.

Mayor Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee have dedicated over $1,790,000 to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct culturally appropriate outreach and education to community health centers across City of Boston neighborhoods, including Bowdoin Street Community Health Center, Codman Square Community Health Center, The Dimock Center, DotHouse Health, Mattapan Community Health Center, Uphams Corner Community Health Center, Whittier Street Community Health Center, Charles River Community Health, Fenway Health, Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center, Harbor Health, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, South Boston Community Health Center, NEW Health Charlestown, South End Community Health Center, and Brookside Community Health Center. The Fund has also supported telehealth services and equipment at those community health centers as well to connect testing to safe treatment options at home.

Resources and information about COVID-19 are available online. Resources available on Boston.gov and through City departments include support for renters and homeowners; small businesses; free meals for Boston students; free toiletries for Boston students; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. More information on Boston's reopening can be found at boston.gov/reopening.

For additional questions or programs, please visit our coronavirus website or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on a regular basis, available in 11 languages.

###


Oct 30
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2020

Lead is a metal found in nature. It can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Lead is a poison when it gets into the body, and it can stay in the body for a long time. Babies and young children absorb lead more easily than adults, so it is especially bad for their health. Lead poisoning is when lead builds up in the body, usually over months or years. It can harm many different parts of a child's health and development, and the harm done may never go away.

The only way to know whether your child has been exposed to lead is through a blood test that measures how much lead is present in your child's blood. This is called a blood lead level. When a child has too much lead in their blood, it is called lead poisoning.

Most lead poisoning comes from lead paint dust, which is commonly found in both the inside and outside of homes built before 1978. Dust from lead paint comes from old paint peeling and cracking, opening and closing old windows, and home repairs and renovations. Children can also get lead poisoning from the water they drink or from some toys, toy jewelry, and home remedies.

For nearly 50 years, the Boston Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (BCLPPP) has made it our mission to eliminate lead poisoning in the City of Boston. As of 2014, 1 in 200 Boston children had lead poisoning, down from almost 6 in 200 children in 2001 and down from 4 in 10 children in 1991. However, though lead poisoning has declined significantly, Boston still ranks #1 in elevated blood lead levels across Massachusetts.


If your child has been diagnosed with lead poisoning, we are here to help.

  • We inspect your home to identify lead hazards that may have exposed your child to lead. This is required by law if your child has been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

  • We work with the property owner to correct lead hazards that have been identified.

  • We support you in accessing the supports and resources you need, through case management, home visits, and referrals.

We also provide the following services:

  • Voluntary home inspections to identify lead hazards

  • Trainings on moderate risk deleading for property owners and their agents so that they know how to correct lead hazards and comply with the Massachusetts Lead Law

  • Trainings on lead-safe renovation for contractors so that they know how to properly contain lead when renovating a home

  • Outreach and trainings to residents in high-risk neighborhoods and to organizations (such as community health centers, neighborhood groups, women and infant organizations, child care or day care centers, healthy head start organizations, hospitals, schools, etc.)

Call BCLPPP at 617-534-5965 for to request an inspection to find out whether your home has lead paint or to learn more about lead poisoning.


Oct 29
Mayor Walsh Announces COVID-19 Testing Pledge

Thursday, October 29, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston is launching "Get The Test Boston," a pledge designed to encourage residents to get a COVID-19 test. As part of this pledge, local businesses including the Boston Red Sox, Boston Main Streets, Rapid7, UNITE HERE Local 26, and Wayfair have committed to signing onto the pledge, and ensuring their employees know how and when to get tested for COVID-19. To better increase access to testing for City of Boston employees, Mayor Walsh today also announced the City of Boston will be offering benefit-eligible City employees one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours. Employees will receive regular compensation for their time spent testing, and will not be required to utilize their sick or personal time for one hour of testing.

 

"Boston's COVID-19 numbers are increasing, and our public health data is clear: we need more residents to get tested," said Mayor Walsh. "We are entering a critical time in this pandemic, and everyone who does their part will save lives, and make a difference. I'd like to thank the companies who have already signed onto the testing pledge, and I encourage every resident in our city to look at the resources we have available, and seriously consider getting tested to protect themselves and their communities as we work to stop the further spread of COVID-19." 

 

Boston and the country are facing an increase in COVID-19 rates. As of October 24, 2020, the Boston positivity rate is at 7.8 percent, compared to 6.2 percent the prior week. A key part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 is testing, which is why Boston has expanded access to testing.

 

The City of Boston is encouraging all residents to consider getting tested for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms. Residents should get tested if they: 

  • Are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, among others

  • Are at high risk for complications from COVID-19 

  • Have been in contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19 

  • Have traveled or been in large gatherings 

The City of Boston offers free testing at its two mobile sites, available to all regardless of symptoms, currently in Central Square in East Boston, and Nubian Square in Roxbury. As announced by Mayor Walsh in May, these mobile sites change every few weeks to help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing.

Other neighborhood testing sites have varying policies regarding the availability of testing for those showing no symptoms and insurance coverage. Because of this, residents are encouraged to call ahead via their listed contact numbers on the website to check their availability, and policies on asymptomatic testing and insurance coverage. Together, Boston now has over 30 active testing sites across the city. Residents can find them on Boston's testing map online. Residents who live near neighboring municipalities can also find a list of testing throughout the Commonwealth online

 

Mayor Walsh is encouraging businesses and employers throughout Boston to join the City in increasing access to testing, by making sure their employees know when to get tested, how to get tested, and have access to the resources they need to take care of their own and their communities' collective public health. Businesses can take the pledge to #GetTheTestBoston, and provide the resources employees need to get tested, stop the spread of COVID-19, and avoid a setback in Boston's reopening process. The City also encourages individuals to take the pledge to demonstrate their commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.  

 

"Thank you to Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston for being the model in increasing testing access and encouraging more Bostonians to get tested," said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo. "We are proud to sign onto Mayor Walsh's 'Get The Test Boston' pledge to ensure our workers safety and to help keep our community safe."

 

"We know how important it is to share crucial public health information, and we're proud to sign onto the City of Boston's testing pledge," said Rapid7 CEO Corey E. Thomas. "We are committed to sharing the COVID-19 testing resources with our employees, and will continue to do our part to make sure we keep our city, employees and communities safe."

Individuals and businesses can sign onto the pledge in the following ways: 

Companies: 

  • Take the pledge

    • Encourage all your employees to consider getting tested, even if they don't have symptoms. 

      • Especially anyone who may be experiencing COVID-like symptoms

      • Especially those at high risk for complications 

      • Especially people in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19

      • Especially anyone who has traveled or been in large gatherings

    • Share locations for COVID-19 testing (in Boston, and across the Commonwealth), and which ones are free, including for asymptomatic individuals, such as Boston's mobile testing sites.  

    • Consider giving your employees paid time off to go get tested during work hours. 

Individuals: 

  • Take the pledge

    • Get tested for COVID-19, even if you don't have symptoms. 

      • Especially anyone who may be experiencing COVID-like symptoms

      • Especially those at high risk for complications

      • Especially people in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19

      • Especially anyone who has traveled or been in large gatherings

    • Share locations for COVID-19 testing (in Boston, and across the Commonwealth), and which ones are free, including for asymptomatic individuals, such as Boston's mobile testing sites.  

    • Share #GetTheTestBoston on your social media, and encourage your network to get tested. 

    • Practice public health guidance: wear a mask or face covering, wash your hands and clean your surfaces, keep 6 feet of distance and avoid large gatherings (especially parties).

Businesses including the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Main Streets, Bunker Hill Community College, Drift, Greater Boston Labor Council, MassChallenge, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Rapid 7, Rise Construction Management, Roxbury Community College, Stop & Shop, Flour Bakery & Cafe, Myers & Chang, Sociedad Latina, Weber Shandwick, Soleil Restaurant, Emerson College, Boston Children's Hospital, TD Garden, The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, UNITE HERE Local 26, and Wayfair have already signed onto the pledge. If businesses or individuals would like more information, or to sign onto the pledge, visit boston.gov

###

Oct 27
Mayor Walsh, Boston Public Health Officials Urge Caution, Offer Guidance on How to Celebrate Halloween During COVID-19 Pandemic

​Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today released guidance on celebrating Halloween safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, urging residents who choose to celebrate Halloween to take extra precautions to keep themselves and others safe. Health officials have advised that many traditional activities, such as trick-or-treating, costume parties or crowded, confined spaces like haunted houses, raise the risk of spreading viruses. 

"Halloween is one of the best nights, and what's most important this year is that any person participating in activities does so in a way that is safe for not only themselves, but also their neighbors and community," said Mayor Walsh. "We're asking people to take the extra precautions that are necessary this year, including avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters, wearing masks at all times, washing hands before eating any treats, and avoiding attending or hosting gatherings." 


Tips for safe trick-or-treating:

  • Trick-or-treat only with immediate family members.

  • Avoid direct contact with individuals passing out candy.

  • Wash hands before handling treats.

  • Wear a mask. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people.

Tips to safely prepare for trick-or-treaters:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters. 

  • Wash hands before handling treats.

  • Set up a station outdoors with individually wrapped goodie bags for trick-or-treaters.

  • Wear a mask. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

BPHC health officials encourage families to find safer, alternative or virtual ways to have fun this season. The safest celebrations involve people from your household, are outdoors, allow for social distancing and other safety measures. In addition, BPHC is urging adults not to participate in gatherings or parties on Halloween.

Halloween activities without risk:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins

  • Decorating your home

  • A virtual Halloween costume contest

  • A family Halloween movie night

  • A trick-or-treat scavenger hunt at home

  • A Halloween neighborhood scavenger hunt from a distance

Halloween activities with risk:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating

  • Trunk-or-treat events

  • Haunted houses

  • Hayrides or tractor rides

  • Fall festivals

  • Halloween parties or celebrations

Any Halloween activities should comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines and participants should limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by following these safety tips:

  • Wear a face covering. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth or paper mask. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it could make it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

  • Stay at least six feet apart.

  • Avoid large parties or gatherings.

  • Avoid crowded areas.

  • Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating candy.

  • Avoid touching your face.

Keep in mind, if any Halloween activities may lead to screaming, make sure everyone is wearing a face covering and staying more than six feet apart. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

If residents may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home and do not participate in in-person Halloween festivities. Residents who may have COVID-19, who are not feeling well, or have been exposed to the virus should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

As a reminder, any Halloween activities are subject to the current gathering size limits set by the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Read more on the Halloween activity guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Oct 14
Mayor Walsh Announces COVID-19 Mobile Testing Site Returns to East Boston; Creates Second Site to Serve More Residents

​Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday announced a new partnership with Whittier Street Health Center, adding a second team to the City of Boston's COVID-19 mobile testing capacity. This new site is now located in Nubian Square, in the Blair Parking Lot onPalmer Street and Harrison Avenue. Additionally, the first COVID-19 mobile testing team, in partnership with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, has returned to East Boston at Central Square Park on Border Street across from Liberty Plaza Shopping Center. Both testing sites are available for everyone through Saturday, October 24, 2020. 

"Making COVID-19 testing accessible for more Bostonians must continue to be one of our top priorities as we respond to the ongoing pandemic. This gives residents clarity and the data guides our cautious, phased reopening," said Mayor Walsh. "Thank you to East Boston Neighborhood Health Center for remaining our partner in keeping residents healthy and bringing vital resources where they are needed. We are looking forward to working with Whittier Street Health Center to expand our mobile testing capacity, which will directly fill in testing gaps where needed."

"We are thrilled to partner with the City of Boston to expand access to testing for all - regardless of whether they have symptoms - and whether they are at risk of spreading the infection to others," said Frederica M. Williams president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center. "Testing plays a critical role in the efforts to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic by identifying infected individuals to help prevent further person-to-person transmission of COVID-19."

Whittier Street Health Center: Nubian Square in Roxbury

In Nubian Square, testing is now available through Saturday, October 24, 2020 during the dates and hours listed below in the Blair Parking Lot on Palmer Street and Harrison Avenue. Anyone can be tested at no cost and regardless of COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals are asked to register by calling 617-858-2406.

The dates and hours of operation are:

  • Wednesday, October 14 - Friday, October 16:  1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Saturday, October 17: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, October 20 - Friday, October 23: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Saturday, October 24: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.


East Boston Neighborhood Health Center: Central Square in East Boston

In East Boston's Central Square, testing is now available through Saturday, October 24 on Border Street across from Liberty Plaza Shopping Center. Testing is available at no cost for everyone. Individuals are asked to register by calling 617-568-4500.

The dates and hours of operation are:

  • Wednesday, October 14: 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, October 15 - Friday, October 16: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Saturday, October 17: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, October 20: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Wednesday, October 21: 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, October 22 - Friday, October 23: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Saturday, October 24: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.



"We thank Mayor Walsh and his team for prioritizing East Boston and welcome the opportunity to provide additional testing capacity to residents in our community. Our sites are safe, convenient, and operated by trusted resources in East Boston," said East Boston Neighborhood Health Center president and CEO Manny Lopes. "We are asking community members to get tested to protect themselves and their loved ones. Together, we can control the spread in this community and across this area."

The mobile site testing initiative was announced by Mayor Walsh in May as a way to help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing. The first mobile testing team has previously been located in Roxbury, Allston, South Boston, Mattapan, East Boston, and Dorchester. At the Dorchester mobile site in Grove Hall, there were 702 COVID-19 tests ordered. Of results received, 2.86 percent tested positive for COVID-19. 

In addition to the City's two mobile testing sites, COVID-19 testing is available at nearly 30 locations across the city. Individuals can call the Mayor's Health Line with any questions using 617-534-5050. For a complete list of all testing sites, visit here

The City of Boston has been partnering with community health centers to increase access to testing, particularly in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. As of Monday, October 5, 2020, there were 297,125 COVID-19 tests of Boston residents. Out of 297,125 total tests, 6.2% have tested positive. For all Boston residents, the positivity for tests increased from 3.9% for the prior week (September 22 - 28) to 4.1% for the current week (September 29 - October 5). The latest numbers of cases from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) by neighborhoods are available here.

Mayor Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee have dedicated over $1,794,825 to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct culturally appropriate outreach and education to community health centers across City of Boston neighborhoods, including Bowdoin Street Community Health Center, Codman Square Community Health Center, The Dimock Center, DotHouse Health, Mattapan Community Health Center, Uphams Corner Community Health Center, Whittier Street Community Health Center, Charles River Community Health, Fenway Health, Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center, Harbor Health, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, South Boston Community Health Center, NEW Health Charlestown, South End Community Health Center, and Brookside Community Health Center. The Fund has also supported telehealth services and equipment at those community health centers as well to connect testing to safe treatment options at home.

Resources and information about COVID-19 are available online. Resources available on boston.gov and through City departments include support for renters and homeowners; small businesses; free meals for Boston students; free toiletries for Boston students; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. More information on Boston's reopening can be found at boston.gov/reopening.

For additional questions or programs, please visit our coronavirus website or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on a regular basis, available in 11 languages.

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Oct 09
Mayor Walsh, Boston Health Leaders Urge Residents To Get Flu Vaccination During COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday, October 9, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) are urging all Boston residents to get a flu vaccination as soon as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 "I got my flu shot today because we know the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every season. And this year during the pandemic, it is more important than ever," said Mayor Walsh. "By getting vaccinated, you will help us slow the spread of the flu and ease the strain on our healthcare system that continues to treat patients battling COVID-19."


Mayor Walsh receives his flu vaccine.

Most influenza activity in Boston occurs between October and March. During the 2019-20 influenza season, there were 5,131 confirmed cases of flu in Boston residents. Data from the end of the 2019-2020 flu season may not be complete due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown.

The most common symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat and general weakness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Pregnant women, infants, people who are 65 years old and older, and people with other medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease) and weakened immune systems are at higher risk to develop severe illness when they get the flu.

"The flu is a serious virus and it is possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. While there may not be a vaccine for COVID-19 yet, there is a vaccine for the flu. That is why it is critical that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine as soon as possible," said BPHC Medical Director, Jennifer Lo, MD.

Differences between COVID-19 and Flu

Because the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. 

 

COVID-19

Flu

How many days after exposure will I get sick from the virus?

2-14 days, but usually between 4 and 7 days

1-4 days

How long can someone spread the virus?

2 days before symptoms start to 10 days after symptoms started

1 day before symptoms start to 7 days after symptoms started

How does the virus spread?

 

Mainly by respiratory droplets

Mainly by respiratory droplets

Who is at high risk for complications?

  • Older adults

  • People with certain underlying medical conditions

  • Pregnant women

 

  • Older adults

  • People with certain underlying medical conditions

  • Pregnant women

  • Children younger than 5, especially those under the age of 2

How can a person infected be treated?

 

Primarily treated with supportive care

 

Remdesivir is an antiviral agent that is currently used for moderate to severe cases of infection

Primarily treated with supportive care

 

Antiviral drugs should be used as soon as possible

Is there a vaccine against the virus?

No. Research and development for a vaccine is underway.

Yes. There are multiple vaccines produced annually.


"We can all do our part to keep our families healthy and prevent hospitalizations from the flu by getting vaccinated. People who are not at risk for severe illness can pass the infection to their families, friends and neighbors," said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "We're asking everyone six months of age and older to get a flu vaccine. Do not wait. Get yours today and help protect your Boston community."

There are a variety of flu vaccination options available, most of which are completely covered by health insurance:

  • Primary Care Provider: Most health insurance plans cover the cost of a flu vaccine from your primary care provider and require no co-pay.

  • Pharmacies: Many pharmacies offer the flu vaccine at no cost to the patient.  Due to COVID-19 public health emergency, many pharmacists in Massachusetts are now able to vaccinate those who are 3 years old and older. For pharmacies, individuals are encouraged to call ahead to confirm availability and any required documentation.

If residents do not have insurance or if co-pays are a barrier, BPHC encourages them to call the Mayor's Health Line at (617) 534-5050. BPHC is providing vouchers for free flu vaccines to uninsured or underinsured adults.

In addition to a flu vaccine, there are other ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19:

  • Wear a face covering

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze

  • Clean surfaces in your home regularly with a household cleaner

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick when possible

  • If you become sick, stay home

For questions about the flu or flu vaccines, please call the BPHC Infectious Disease Bureau at (617) 534-5611. For those with no insurance or if co-pays are a barrier, please call the Mayor's Health Line at (617) 534-5050. Fact sheets on the flu vaccine are available in English, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese.

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Oct 09
Join the Board of Health For A Virtual Assembly on Racism as a Public Health Crisis

The Boston Board of Health will host a virutal assembly as a part of BPHC’s Request for Information for a Racism-Free Boston on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There will be two parts of the assembly, which will feature both invited guest speakers as well as a portion for open testimony. All Boston residents are invited to take part. Join the assemblyhttp://bit.ly/Racism-FreeBoston-BOHAssembly. Download the Microsoft Teams app on either a phone or through a web browser.


Additionally, BPHC extended the deadline for responses and proposals to our Request for Information to share your vision for a racism-free Boston through October 31st. Visit http://bit.ly/Racism-FreeBoston-RFI for more information. The RFI and resident survey is in 8 languages. If you need assistance filling out the resident survey, you can call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050. You can find the links below to both the RFI and the resident survey. 


RFI for Community Organizations: 


Online Form for Residents: 

 


Sep 22
Mayor Walsh Announces Free COVID-19 Testing in Grove Hall

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in partnership with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, announced that the City of Boston's COVID-19 mobile testing site will now be located in Grove Hall. Testing will be available starting today, Tuesday, September 22 through Saturday, October 3 at 40 Geneva Avenue in Dorchester, across from the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library. Testing will be available at no cost and for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. No appointment is needed but registration is required. To pre-register, call 617-568-4500 (if you cannot reach this number, please call 617-569-5800 for assistance).

"Our mobile testing team was created to strategically expand testing in neighborhoods most in need because we know this is fundamental for keeping residents safe and healthy," said Mayor Walsh. "Thank you to East Boston Neighborhood Health Center for their continued partnership throughout the pandemic."

The dates and hours of operation in the mobile testing site in Grove Hall are:

Tuesday, September 22- Friday, September 25: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 26: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29 - Friday, October 2: 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 3: 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.


This mobile site testing initiative was announced by Mayor Walsh back in May as a way to help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing. The site has previously been located in Roxbury, Allston, South Boston, Mattapan and East Boston. In the East Boston pop up site location, there were 2,519 COVID-19 tests ordered. Of results received, approximately 4.9 percent tested positive for COVID-19.

"We are proud to continue working with the City of Boston to set up pop-up testing sites throughout the city," said East Boston Neighborhood Health Center president and CEO Manny Lopes. "By providing sites that are accessible to residents throughout Boston, we can help identify infection and minimize the spread of COVID-19. East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is proud to play a role in this citywide public health response to the pandemic, especially as we enter the fall season."

In addition to the City's mobile testing sites, COVID-19 testing is available at over 20 locations across the city. Mobile testing sites also continue to be available at select locations, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing. Individuals can call the Mayor's Health Line with any questions using 617-534-5050. For a complete list of all testing sites, visit here

The City of Boston has been partnering with community health centers to increase access to testing, particularly in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. As of Monday, September 14, 2020, there were 222,242 COVID-19 tests of Boston residents. Out of 222,242 total tests, 7.5% have tested positive, which is down from 7.9% reported through Monday, September 7, 2020. For all Boston residents, the positivity for tests increased slightly from 1.6% for the prior week (September 1-8) to 2.8% for the current week (September 8-14). The latest numbers of cases from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) by neighborhoods are available here.

Mayor Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee have dedicated over $1,794,825 to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct culturally appropriate outreach and education to community health centers across City of Boston neighborhoods, including Bowdoin Street Community Health Center, Codman Square Community Health Center, The Dimock Center, DotHouse Health, Mattapan Community Health Center, Uphams Corner Community Health Center, Whittier Street Community Health Center, Charles River Community Health, Fenway Health, Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center, Harbor Health, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, South Boston Community Health Center, NEW Health Charlestown, South End Community Health Center, and Brookside Community Health Center. The Fund has also supported telehealth services and equipment at those community health centers as well to connect testing to safe treatment options at home.

Resources and information about COVID-19 are available online. Resources available on boston.gov and through City departments include support for renters and homeowners; small businesses; free meals for Boston students; free toiletries for Boston students; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. More information on Boston's reopening can be found at boston.gov/reopening.

For additional questions or programs, please visit our coronavirus website or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on a regular basis, available in 11 languages.

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org