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Sep 13
Boston Public Health Commission Officials Announce West Nile Virus Risk Level Raised to High

Boston West Nile Virus Risk Level Raised to High

Residents urged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites

 

BOSTON – September 10, 2021 - The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today announced that Boston West Nile Virus risk level has been raised from moderate to high as of September 10, 2021. This designation by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is based on the high number of positive mosquito samples in the City and its surrounding towns, the rainfall and favorable weather for mosquito breeding, the number of human cases in surrounding towns.

 

"West Nile Virus in humans is rare in Boston. However, we've seen a lot of rain this summer, leading to a higher number of mosquitoes in our City," said BPHC's Director of Infectious Disease, Dr. Sarimer Sanchez "When you're outside, you and your family can take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites and the dangerous diseases mosquitoes may carry. That includes using an approved mosquito repellent and wearing clothing that covers your body. Keep window screens in good condition to keep mosquitos out of your home and drain standing water from your yard to prevent mosquitos."

When the risk level of West Nile Virus is high, it is also recommended that people over 50 years of age and those with compromised immune systems consider avoiding outdoor activities during the peak mosquito times between dusk and dawn.

 

WNV has been detected in Boston mosquitoes during the summer and fall months (June – November) every year since 2000. However, WNV in people is rare. To date in 2021, there have been no human cases in Boston nor were there any human cases of WMV infection diagnosed in Boston residents in 2020 and 2019.  In 2018, there were seven human cases of WNV infection diagnosed in Boston residents.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is most often spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.  There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile Virus infection. The most effective way to avoid WNV is to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.

Preventing Mosquito Bites:

  • Use Mosquito repellent
    • Use repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin or IR3535.
    • Always read the directions on the label.
    • Apply DEET to exposed skin (avoid eyes and mouth) and on clothes, but not on open cuts or wounds.
    • After going inside, wash off repellent with soap and water. If the product has been applied directly to clothing, wash it before wearing again.
    • Do not use DEET concentrations of more than 30%.
    • Do not let children apply repellents themselves. Avoid children's eyes, mouth, or hands and use them cautiously around ears.
    • Do not use DEET on infants under two months of age (mosquito netting can be used over infant carriers) or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years of age.
    • Use only repellents approved for use on animals on pets.
  • Cover up
    • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks whenever possible. Tuck your shirt into your pants to keep mosquitoes from going under your clothes.
  • Mosquito proof your home and stop breeding in and around your yard
    • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so it is important to make sure items around your home do not collect any water. It only takes one week for mosquito larvae living in water to grow into biting adults. Turn over unused flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use.
    • Make sure window and door screens do not have holes in them. Screens in good condition will help prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home.
  • Protect your animals
    • Pet owners should speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE.

Citywide Prevention Efforts:

BPHC partners with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project (SCMCP) to protect Boston residents from mosquito-borne illnesses and to control the mosquito population in certain areas of Boston. SCMCP collects mosquito samples in traps every week during the summer and fall. Those mosquito samples are tested to see if WNV or EEE are present. Mosquito control measures are also implemented during the summer and fall months. Wetlands, storm drains and other areas around the city are treated to limit the number of mosquitoes by killing mosquito larvae.

In 2021, there has been mosquito spraying in the Hyde Park, West Roxbury and East Boston neighborhoods of Boston. For more information about the sprayings, contact SCMCP at 781-899-5730. For a full list of any upcoming spraying, and for West Nile Virus and Mosquito-Borne Illness Fact Sheets in Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese, go to bphc.org/mosquitocontrol.

Information about current mosquito activity in Massachusetts is updated daily and can be found here on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's (MDPH) website.


Sep 02
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): The Latest


__________________________________________________

COVID-19 DATA IS NO LONGER UPDATED ON THIS PAGE.

 

WEEKLY COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS, NEIGHBORHOOD TESTING DATA, CORE METRICS, AND VACCINE REPORTS ARE HERE. 

    COVID-19 DASHBOARD


DAILY COVID-19 NUMBERS, COVID-19 WEEKLY REPORTS and CASE & DEATH DATA BY RACE AND ETHNICITY ARE HERE.


    BPHC COVID-19 PAGE

__________________________________________________


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. 

Boston's Latest Numbers (As of September 1, 2021): (Updated Monday-Friday)

  • 76,186 confirmed cases 

  • 72,400 recovered

  • 1,406 deaths


Boston Race/Ethnicity Case Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Known Cases

Percentage of Known Cases

Asian/PI

4,246

6%

Black/African-American

17,419

25%

Latinx/Hispanic

20,374

29%

Other

4,321

6%

White

23,830

34%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Cases in Boston

70,190

92.1% of total cases in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Cases in Boston 

76,186

 


Boston Race/Ethnicity Death Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Deaths

Percentage of Known Deaths

Asian/PI

109

8%

Black/African-American

459

33%

Latinx/Hispanic

189

13%

Other

46

3%

White

602

43%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Deaths in Boston

1,405

99.9% of total deaths in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Deaths in Boston

1,406

 


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 Report

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.   

Click HERE for the Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report
This report on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the City will be released weekly. The City will analyze data to see where there are gaps and target solutions to address inequitable access or acceptance. 

All Boston Testing Data - Cumulative Community Positivity

The "Cumulative Community Positivity" calculation counts each individual person one time (their first negative, their first positive), regardless of the number of times an individual is tested, to assess the level of COVID-19 infection in the City and neighborhoods since the start of the pandemic. College ordered testing included. (As of August 17, 2021). 

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

OF TESTED, CUMULATIVE % POSITIVE​

TESTING RATE PER 100,000 RESIDENTS​

East Boston - 02128

46,851

17.0%

99,838.0

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

63,664

16.4%

78,714.1

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

57,894

15.8%

90,069.5

Hyde Park - 02136

30,551

15.3%

89,270.4

Mattapan - 02126

21,168

​14.5%

71,535.3

Roslindale - 02131

28,765

12.8%

85,176.6

South Boston - 02127, 02210

41,289

12.4%

102,980.5

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

51,247

11.3%

118,828.1

West Roxbury - 02132

23,764

10.4%

83,420.5

Charlestown - 02129  

17,210

8.8%

88,647.4

South End - 02111, 02118 

44,140

8.4%

123,447.8

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135 

72,049

7.5%​

108,206.1

Jamaica Plain - 02130

42,580

7.5%​

105,456.1

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

60,104

6.4%​

107,862.1

Fenway - 02115, 02215

95,125

3.8%​

173,817.3

Boston

726,344

10.3%

106,907.6

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

Neighborhood Testing Data - Current Community Positivity

The "Current Community Positivity" 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. Excludes college-ordered testing. (August 11-17). 

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

POSITIVE 
TESTS

% POSITIVE

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

2,458

122

5.0%

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

1,431

70

4.9%

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

1,858

88

4.7%

Charlestown - 02129

635

29

4.6%

South Boston - 02127, 02210

1,370

54

3.9%

Hyde Park - 02136

1,432

56

3.9%

Mattapan - 02126

1,007

39

3.9%

Roslindale - 02131

1,160

37

3.2%

South End - 02111, 02118

1,165

37

3.2%

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135

2,024

61

3.0%

East Boston - 02128

1,535

46

3.0%

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

2,080

54

2.6%

Fenway - 02115, 02215

977

25

2.6%

West Roxbury - 02132

1,113

26

2.3%

Jamaica Plain - 02130

1,805

38

2.1%

Boston

22,466

787

3.5%

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


Click here for the BPHC Weekly COVID-19 Report

Number of deaths at long-term care facilities: 514 (Updated weekly: 08-16-2021)

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

Aug 31
Mayor Janey Announces Housing Stability Agenda

BOSTON - Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey today announced a Housing Stability Agenda, following the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States to end the Center of Disease Control's nationwide eviction moratorium and the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Housing Stability Agenda, the Boston Public Health Commission's Interim Executive Director signed a new public health order establishing a moratorium on evictions in the City of Boston, effective immediately. Mayor Janey has also directed the Department of Neighborhood Development to lead creation of a $5 million Foreclosure Prevention Fund, with program information to be released next week.   

 

"The loss of federal eviction protections and the ongoing pandemic has put our most vulnerable neighbors at risk of losing their homes," said Mayor Janey. "I am implementing a housing stability agenda to continue Boston's public health recovery with emergency assistance for renters and homeowners who need help." 

 

The moratorium temporarily halts residential evictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the rise of the Delta variant. The public health order prohibits landlords and property owners from pursuing tenant eviction proceedings in the City of Boston. 

 

In the coming weeks, the $5 million Emergency Foreclosure Prevention Fund will be available to eligible homeowners to help cover costs related to homeownership including mortgage, insurance, and condominium fee payments. To be eligible for the Fund, a homeowner must be delinquent on those payments. Priority will be given to those homeowners most at risk for foreclosure. The program will be financed through both the American Rescue Plan Act and the CARES ACT Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).

 

The new eviction moratorium and Emergency Foreclosure Prevention Fund build on the City's ongoing measures to protect both renters and homeowners, including allocating $50 million to the Rental Relief Fund, distributing more than $19 million to 3,500 households around the City at a pace exceeding state and national averages. The recently expanded Office of Housing Stability has also connected Boston residents to state housing relief resources. To date, a total of 12,500 Boston households have received $72 million in state and City housing stability assistance.  

 

ABOUT THE BOSTON PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSION

The Boston Public Health Commission, the country's oldest health department, is an independent public agency providing a wide range of health services and programs. It is governed by a seven-member board of health appointed by the Mayor of Boston. 

 

Public service and access to quality health care are the cornerstones of our mission - to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The Commission's more than 40 programs are grouped into six bureaus: Child, Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; Recovery Services; and Emergency Medical Services.

 

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT (DND)

The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability is administering Boston's Rental Relief Fund. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time home buyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division works with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. For more information, please visit the DND website.



Aug 20
Mayor Janey Announces Indoor Mask Mandate For the City of Boston

​Friday, August 20, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey today announced face masks will be required in all indoor public settings in the City of Boston, as part of a Five-Point Plan for the Delta Variant, a more contagious COVID-19 variant that is now the primary strain of the virus. The public health order, issued by the Boston Public Health Commission, is effective at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 27 in the City of Boston. The City is implementing this proactive public health plan to mitigate community transmission of the Delta variant, ahead of the arrival of more than 50,000 college students from across the country and a return to school for more than 50,000 Boston Public School students. Most of the 100,000 children who live in the City of Boston are too young to be eligible for vaccination. 

“There is nothing more important than Boston’s safe recovery, reopening, and renewal from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Janey. “We know that masks work best when everyone wears one. Requiring masks indoors is a proactive public health measure to limit transmission of the Delta variant, boost the public confidence in our businesses and venues, and protect the residents of our city who are too young for vaccination.” 

“The Delta variant continues to create an additional challenge to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Rita Nieves, the Interim Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Wearing a mask indoors along with getting more people vaccinated will offer more protection to all our residents, including children under 12 and those who are not able to get vaccinated.”

Through an order from the Boston Public Health Commission, the City of Boston will require all people over age two to wear a mask or face covering:

  • Whenever they are indoors on the premises of a business, club, place of assembly or other place that is open to members of the public, including but not limited to retail establishments, restaurants, bars, performance venues, social clubs, event spaces, and municipal buildings.

Face coverings may be removed when actively eating or drinking. Masks must be worn for all other indoor activities, including ordering at a bar or dancing. Masks are also required in gyms. The order does not apply to gatherings in private residences when no compensation is paid, private buildings that are inaccessible to the public, places of worship, private workspaces inaccessible to the public, or performers who maintain six feet of distance from their audience. 

Mayor Janey’s new face covering order builds on the City’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 Delta Variant. The Five Point Plan for the Delta Variant includes:

  • Equitable vaccine and booster access 

  • Vaccine mandate for city workers

  • New HVAC investments for schools

  • Mask mandate for schools and city buildings

  • New mask mandate in all public spaces

Boston’s five-point plan for the Delta variant places vaccination and prevention at the center of our COVID-19 response,” said Mayor Janey. “I ask that every resident of Boston do their part to keep our city safe. Get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, and get tested, especially if you have traveled, are experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus.”

Boston is one of the most vaccinated large cities in the country, with over 68 percent of residents having at least one shot. In the last two weeks, nearly 8,000 residents got their first dose of the vaccine. By the end of August, all City employees, contractors, and volunteers will be required to verify their vaccination status through a secure centralized digital portal. 

Mayor Janey has also committed $30 million to improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in Boston Public School buildings. The wide-ranging HVAC installations and upgrades will be performed throughout the coming school year.

The new mask requirement was welcomed by leaders of the healthcare and arts sectors that have been among the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I commend the Mayor’s decision to protect the safety of our families and neighbors by instituting a mask mandate for indoor public spaces,” said Kate Walsh, President and CEO of the Boston Medical Center. “The high risk of infection associated with the Delta variant poses a critical challenge for our communities. We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections while continuing to encourage everyone to get the vaccine, including those 12 and older who will be going back to school soon.”

"I want to thank Mayor Janey and the entire City of Boston for taking this step to promote a healthy space for patrons,” said Emily Ruddock, Executive Director of MassCreative, the state-level arts advocacy organization. “As we continue to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we support this indoor mask mandate to ensure that Boston's vibrant arts and culture sector is safe for all to enjoy."

"The City of Boston has come a long way in ensuring that every resident has had access to the critical resources needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including vaccinations and testing. The CDC reports that indoor masking will cut transmission by about 66 percent. I want to thank Mayor Janey for taking this precaution. Keeping Boston's economy strong means continuing to promote best practices for keeping all Bostonians healthy and safe as we continue to battle the pandemic," said Tim Rowe, CEO of Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC).

“Boston University welcomes and applauds Mayor Janey’s decision to institute an indoor space mask mandate,”  said Dr. Judy Platt, chair of Boston University’s Medical Advisory Group. “The action complements the university’s own indoor mask rule, and together these policies make the city a safer place for our students, the people of Boston, and the communities within which we reside.”

"I am happy to hear guests will be joining me in wearing masks,” said John Flannery, Doorman at Fairmont Copley Plaza. “I think this will ensure that everyone at my hotel is safe and respected.”

"The members of Local 26 applaud Mayor Janey’s implementation of a mask mandate for indoor spaces. This will ensure that hospitality workers are safe at work and our industry can continue its recovery,” said Carlos Aramayo, Local 26 President. “We believe that by implementing smart health and safety policies we can continue safely to welcome guests back to our great city."

Frequently asked questions about the new mask mandate are available on boston.gov/reopening. Restaurant owners with questions specific may contact: licensingboard@boston.gov. If you are in any other sector covered by this mandate, or you have general questions, please call 311 or contact: smallbiz@boston.gov

### 


Aug 13
Mayor Janey Announces Extension of Heat Emergency Through Saturday

Friday, August 13, 2021 - Today, Mayor Kim Janey declared that the ongoing heat emergency in the City of Boston has been extended through Saturday, August 14 due to the hot and humid temperatures that are forecasted for this time period. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s, with a feels-like temperature in the 90s. On Tuesday, Mayor Janey announced the heat emergency for Wednesday, August 11 - Friday, August 13.

“As the City continues to experience these hot temperatures, we want to ensure that residents have access to the resources and information necessary to stay safe and cool through the forecasted heat,” said Mayor Janey. “I am urging everyone to continue to drink lots of water and find ways to stay cool. Anyone who needs a place to beat the heat can come inside and rest in the air conditioning at one of our cooling centers. If you see someone outside who appears in distress and needs help, call 911 right away.”

To help residents stay cool, cooling centers will continue to be open at Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) community centers through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. A full list of centers that will be available can be found on our heat information page. Additionally, the Frog Pond and tot sprays are open at parks and playgrounds throughout the City. The outdoor BCYF Mirabella Pool in the North End and the outdoor BCYF Clougherty Pool in Charlestown are both open for recreational swim as are several indoor BCYF pools. You can pre-register online for a time to swim at all pools.

Information on heat safety tips can be found online on our heat information page, and by following @CityofBoston on Twitter. Residents can sign up for Alert Boston, the City's emergency notification system, to receive emergency alerts by phone, email or text. Sign up online. Residents are also encouraged to call 311 with any questions about available city services. 

The Mayor issued the following heat safety tips for all members of the public:

  • Children and pets should never be left alone in vehicles, even for short periods of time.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of activity level. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine.

  • Keep cool with frequent cool showers, shade, and air conditioning or fans. 

  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas and be extra cautious from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the sun's UV radiation is strongest.

  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, and muscle aches could all be signs of heat exhaustion. If symptoms persist, call 911 immediately. Do not delay care. Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the US and can exacerbate underlying illnesses.

  • Adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-30 or higher and wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, including long sleeve shirts and hats.

  • If you have a child in your home, use child window guards in addition to screens on any open window on the second story or above. Falls are the leading cause of injury for children under the age of six. 

  • Secure all window air conditioner units according to the manufacturer's specifications.

  • If you are heading to a beach, lake or pool to beat the heat, swim where lifeguards are present. Always watch children near the water and make sure they're wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are situations where face masks are still required (public transportation, health care settings, etc). If the face mask results in overheating or if it is difficult to breathe, find a shaded area where 6 feet of distance from others can safely be maintained and remove the face covering.

  • Please call or virtually check on neighbors, especially older adults, and people with disabilities.

Helping the Homeless:

  • If you see individuals out in the heat who appear immobile or disoriented, call 911 immediately and please ask them if they need assistance.

  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) operates emergency shelters at 112 Southampton St. and 794 Massachusetts Ave. These facilities are air conditioned and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Amnesty has been called because of extremely high temperatures so those with non-violent restrictions can access shelter out of the heat. 
  • The City of Boston works closely with a network of shelter providers to ensure there is adequate shelter, food, water, and a cool respite from the heat.
  • Street outreach teams providing recovery services remain operating as normal during summertime weather. 
  • Engagement Center (EC): Air conditioning, water, sunscreen and nursing are provided on site at the Engagement Center. Showers and running water are also available. The EC is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Playground Safety:  

  • Shoes should be worn outdoors, including playgrounds and turf athletic fields, as surfaces can become extremely hot and cause burns, even on splash pads and spray decks.

Outdoor Fires and Grilling:

  • No outdoor fires are allowed in Boston, including fire pits, chimneys, and bonfires.
  • Charcoal grills must be on the ground and away from buildings. Keep in mind the wind and never leave unattended. When done, dispose of the ash in a metal container once completely out.
  • Propane tank grills are only allowed on first floor porches with steps to the ground. Do not place propane tank grills near air conditioners or up against a building. Make sure all connections are tight and never carry propane tanks into a home.
  • Grills should always be used in a well-ventilated area.
###
Aug 10
Mayor Janey Declares Heat Emergency, Opens BCYF Cooling Centers to All Residents

​Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - Today, Mayor Kim Janey declared a heat emergency in the City of Boston beginning Wednesday, August 11 and lasting through Friday, August 13 due to the hot and humid weather that is forecasted for this time period. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s, with a feels-like temperature over 100 degrees. 

“When it is this dangerously hot during the day and the temperatures do not drop at night, your body doesn’t have time to recover. I am urging everyone to drink lots of water and find ways to stay cool. Anyone who needs a place to beat the heat can come inside and rest in the air conditioning at one of our cooling centers,” said Mayor Janey. “If possible, avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the middle of the day. If you must be outside, take breaks more frequently and stay hydrated. Let's look out for each other, Boston. If you see someone outside who appears in distress and needs help, call 911 right away.”

To help residents stay cool, cooling centers will be open at Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) community centers from Wednesday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A full list of centers that will be available can be found at Boston.gov/Heat. Additionally, the Frog Pond and tot sprays are open at parks and playgrounds throughout the City. The outdoor BCYF Mirabella Pool in the North End and the outdoor BCYF Clougherty Pool in Charlestown are both open for recreational swim as are several indoor BCYF pools. Pre-register for a time to swim at all pools at Boston.gov/BCYF-Registration

Information on heat safety tips can be found online at boston.gov/heat and by following @CityofBoston on Twitter. Residents can sign up for Alert Boston, the City's emergency notification system, to receive emergency alerts by phone, email or text. Sign up online here. Residents are also encouraged to call 311 with any questions about available city services.

The Mayor issued the following heat safety tips for all members of the public:

  • Children and pets should never be left alone in vehicles, even for short periods of time.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of activity level. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  • Keep cool with frequent cool showers, shade, and air conditioning or fans. 
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas and be extra cautious from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the sun's UV radiation is strongest.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, and muscle aches could all be signs of heat exhaustion. If symptoms persist, call 911 immediately. Do not delay care. Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the US and can exacerbate underlying illnesses.
  • Adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-30 or higher and wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, including long sleeve shirts and hats.
  • If you have a child in your home, use child window guards in addition to screens on any open window on the second story or above. Falls are the leading cause of injury for children under the age of six. 
  • Secure all window air conditioner units according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • If you are heading to a beach, lake or pool to beat the heat, swim where lifeguards are present. Always watch children near the water and make sure they're wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are situations where face masks are still required (public transportation, health care settings, etc). If the face mask results in overheating or if it is difficult to breathe, find a shaded area where 6 feet of distance from others can safely be maintained and remove the face covering.
  • Please call or virtually check on neighbors, especially older adults, and people with disabilities.

Helping the Homeless:

  • If you see individuals out in the heat who appear immobile or disoriented, call 911 immediately and please ask them if they need assistance.
  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) operates emergency shelters at 112 Southampton St. and 794 Massachusetts Ave. These facilities are air conditioned and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Amnesty has been called because of extremely high temperatures so those with non-violent restrictions can access shelter out of the heat. 
  • The City of Boston works closely with a network of shelter providers to ensure there is adequate shelter, food, water, and a cool respite from the heat.
  • Street outreach teams providing recovery services remain operating as normal during summertime weather. Outreach teams are providing sunscreen and water on outreach routes. 
  • Engagement Center (EC): Air conditioning, water, sunscreen and nursing are provided on site at the Engagement Center. Showers and running water are also available. The EC is open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m - 6 p.m. 

Playground Safety:  

  • Shoes should be worn outdoors, including playgrounds and turf athletic fields, as surfaces can become extremely hot and cause burns, even on splash pads and spray decks.

Outdoor Fires and Grilling:

  • No outdoor fires are allowed in Boston, including fire pits, chimneys, and bonfires.
  • Charcoal grills must be on the ground and away from buildings. Keep in mind the wind and never leave unattended. When done, dispose of the ash in a metal container once completely out.
  • Propane tank grills are only allowed on first floor porches with steps to the ground. Do not place propane tank grills near air conditioners or up against a building. Make sure all connections are tight and never carry propane tanks into a home.
  • Grills should always be used in a well-ventilated area.

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Aug 06
Health of Boston Special Report: The COVID-19 Experience Among Boston Residents

​Since 1999, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has conducted a biennial survey of Boston residents to learn more about the health issues impacting our residents. This project is called the Boston Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BBRFSS). In December 2020 - January 2021, BPHC conducted a callback of prior BBRFSS respondents to ask about their COVID-19 experiences. This survey, the COVID-19 Health Equity Survey (CHES), has provided new insights to inform policy and practice and identify potential stakeholders related to COVID-19 recovery. Some of the CHES topics included testing experience, attitudes towards vaccination, and impact on employment and needs. 

A report summarizing CHES findings is now available here. 


Aug 06
Boston Health Officials Update Provincetown Guidance

Friday, August 6, 2021 – Due to additional information, today the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is updating guidance issued in response to the cluster of COVID-19 cases traced back to Provincetown last month. BPHC has enhanced its definition of cases connected to this cluster to include the following specific dates of travel: July 3, 2021-July 17, 2021. As of August 5th, Boston residents who have travelled to or will travel to Provincetown after July 17th will no longer be asked to get tested or self-isolate regardless of symptoms or vaccination status. 

Up to this point, 140 COVID-19 cases in Boston residents have been traced back to this cluster and the overwhelming majority of those have been fully vaccinated. Only one individual was hospitalized and has since been released.

BPHC would like to remind residents that close, sustained contact with other people indoors increases your risk of exposure to COVID. While those vaccinated are strongly protected from serious illness or hospitalization, it is still possible to get COVID and spread it to others. 

COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccination remain widely available across the City of Boston. Regardless of vaccination status, BPHC is asking everyone to remember to get tested and to self-isolate if any symptoms of COVID-19 infection develop, even if those symptoms are mild.

Additional Resources:

COVID-19 Testing in the City of Boston

COVID-19 Testing in Massachusetts

COVID-19 Vaccination Sites in the City of Boston

COVID-19 Vaccination Sites in Massachusetts

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Jul 30
HEALTH ADVISORY: Jamaica Pond Closed Due to Algal Bloom

​Friday, July 30, 2021 - A public health advisory has been issued for Jamaica Pond due to a suspected bloom of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. Based on initial visual inspection of the pond, it appears likely that Jamaica Pond is experiencing a harmful algae bloom. These blooms may produce toxins that can make people and pets sick. Park visitors are urged to avoid contact with the water and any areas of algae concentration, even on shore.

Jamaica Pond is temporarily closed to water activities. During the closure, park visitors cannot:

  • Swim, fish, boat or engage in other recreational activities on or in the water

  • Allow dogs to swim in or drink the water

In the event that you, your child, or your dog comes in contact with the water or an algae bloom, rinse off immediately.

Blue-green algae can form harmful blooms in lakes, ponds, and rivers that make the water murky, and can sometimes make the water look like pea soup or paint. The current suspected bloom in Jamaica Pond appears like a dull green discoloration. Blue-green algae blooms can produce toxins that may make people and pets sick. Toxins may be present within the algae cells or in the water.

For humans, the primary concern is ingestion of water containing blue-green algae while swimming. Of secondary concern is direct skin contact with the blue-green algae and inhalation of water droplets containing blue-green algae or toxins. For dogs, the primary concern is the ingestion of water containing blue-green algae or scum that has washed ashore or gotten onto their skin or fur.

Contact may cause skin and eye irritation, and inhalation can cause respiratory irritation and exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions. Toxins are not absorbed through the skin. Ingestion of blue-green algae can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. If the blue-green algae are producing toxin(s), the health effects can be more serious, especially for small pets due to their smaller body weights. Ingestion of the toxins can cause acute gastrointestinal distress and, depending on the specific toxin, can affect the functioning of the liver, kidneys, and/or neurological systems and in severe cases can result in death.

Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog has been around an algae bloom and shows symptoms such as vomiting, staggering, drooling, or convulsions. These symptoms present themselves fairly quickly after exposure. Dogs have been known to eat the scum that washes ashore and/or lick scum out of their fur. In Massachusetts and in many other states, canine deaths have been documented due to the ingestion of harmful algae.

When will this advisory be lifted?

Algae blooms may last for weeks in the summer or may disappear quite quickly. On Friday, July 30th, staff from Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took water samples from Jamaica Pond for analysis. The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) will review state sampling results for the presence of a visible algae bloom in Jamaica Pond over the coming weeks. Water sampling will occur at least weekly while the algae bloom persists, and for several weeks after it is no longer visible. DPH recommends that the recreational water advisory not be lifted until two consecutive weekly samples show algal cell counts below the safe limit of 70,000 cells/milliliter of water.

For more information, call BPHC at 617-343-6976.


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Jul 30
Mosquito Spraying Planned For Next Week In East Boston

Friday, July 30, 2021 - The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) announced there will be an upcoming spraying to help control the mosquito population in East Boston. The recent rainfall has resulted in very high numbers of mosquitoes being found in surveillance traps. So far this year, mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Jamaica Plain, Brighton and Roxbury. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has raised the risk level for West Nile Virus in Boston to ‘moderate.’

  • Tuesday, August 3, 2021: The Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project is planning to use a truck mounted sprayer to spray in East Boston neighborhoods located near Orient Heights, including streets in the vicinity of Orient Avenue, Boardman Street, Andrew Road and Horace Street. All spraying happens between dusk and 11:30pm. If it is postponed, it will be rescheduled for Wednesday, August 4, 2021. 

As with any pesticide, people should minimize their exposure and close windows during this time. If residents see a spray truck approaching, go indoors for a few minutes while the spray dissipates. Beekeepers do not need to take any special precautions since spraying begins after dusk. 

The mosquito control product being used is Zenivex E4 (EPA Reg No. 2724.807). It is being applied at 1 oz per acre. Zenivex E4 is a non-ester pyrethroid and is classified by the EPA as a reduced risk pesticide. Mosquito control applications of Zenivex E4 do not pose a significant risk to people or their pets due to the low toxicity and the small amount used to control mosquitoes. Zenivex E4 biodegrades rapidly and doesn’t build up in the environment. Residents with questions related to the spraying should call the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project (SCMCP) at 781-899-5730. 

BPHC partners with the SCMCP to protect Boston residents from mosquito-borne illnesses and to control the mosquito population in certain areas of Boston. SCMCP collects mosquito samples in traps every week during the summer and fall. Those mosquito samples are tested to see if WNV or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are present. Mosquito control measures are also implemented during the summer and fall months. Wetlands, storm drains and other areas around the city are treated to limit the number of mosquitoes by killing mosquito larvae. In April of 2021, there were sprayings in Hyde Park and West Roxbury. This week, there was a spraying in Hyde Park. For more information about the sprayings, reach out to SCMCP at 781-899-5730. For a full list of any upcoming spraying, please visit bphc.org/mosquitocontrol.

Mosquitoes in Boston are most active from dusk to dawn during the months of July to September. However, mosquitoes can spread disease until the first hard frost (as late as November). Mosquito species have different breeding habits, but most want to lay their eggs near water – usually in vegetation or in still water. To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, BPHC advises residents to limit places around the home where standing water can collect. Residents should turn over unused flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use

Preventing Mosquito Bites:

  • Use Mosquito repellent

    • Use repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin or IR3535. 

    • Always read the directions on the label.

    • Apply DEET to exposed skin (avoid eyes and mouth) and on clothes, but not on open cuts or wounds. 

    • After going inside, wash off repellent with soap and water. If the product has been applied directly to clothing, wash it before wearing again.

    • Do not use DEET concentrations of more than 30%.

    • Do not let children apply repellents themselves. Avoid children’s eyes, mouth, or hands and use them cautiously around ears.

    • Do not use DEET on infants under two months of age (mosquito netting can be used over infant carriers) or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years of age.

    • Use only repellents approved for use on animals on pets.

  • Cover up

    • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks whenever possible. Tuck your shirt into your pants to keep mosquitoes from going under your clothes.

  • Mosquito proof your home to stop breeding in and around your yard

    • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so it is important to make sure items around your home do not collect any water. It only takes one week for mosquito larvae living in water to grow into biting adults. Turn over unused flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use.

    • Make sure window and door screens do not have holes in them. Screens in good condition will help prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home.

  • Protect your animals

    • Pet owners should speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE.

For More Information:

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