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Jun 06
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. A public health advisory is in place for everyone in Boston, except essential workers, to stay home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. All Massachusetts residents over the age of two must now wear a face covering in public. 


Visit the City of Boston's Reopening Page

Boston's Latest Numbers (As of June 6, 2020):

  • 12,987 confirmed cases 

  • 7,662 recovered

  • 660 deaths



Click here for the BPHC 06-04-2020 Weekly COVID-19 Report

Boston Race/Ethnicity Case Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Known Cases

Percentage of Known Cases

Asian/PI

405

4%

Black/African-American

4,155

38%

Latinx/Hispanic

2,885

26%

Other

803

7%

White

2,725

25%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Cases in Boston

10,973

84.9% of total cases in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Cases in Boston 

12,932

 


Boston Race/Ethnicity Death Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Deaths

Percentage of Known Deaths

Asian/PI

41

6%

Black/African-American

225

35%

Latinx/Hispanic

68

11%

Other

29

5%

White

274

43%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Deaths in Boston

637

96.5% of total deaths in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Deaths in Boston

660

 


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.

Number of deaths at long-term care facilities: 306 (Updated weekly: 06/01/2020)


Weekly Neighborhood Data: 

As of May 24, 2020, there have been 52,705 COVID-19 tests (with results) of Boston residents. Of 52,705 total tests of Boston residents, 24.2% have tested positive, which is down from 26.0% reported through May 17.

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

OF TESTED, % POSITIVE​

East Boston - 02128

4,601

​​32.7%

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

​ 5,958

28.3%

Mattapan - 02126

2,720

27.8%​

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

7,321

27.6%

Hyde Park - 02136

4,087

26.1%

Roslindale - 02131

​ ​ 2,859

24.8%

South End - 02111, 02118

3,449

23.8%

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135

3,746

21.8%​

West Roxbury - 02132

2,032

21.5%

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

​ 4,317

21.4%

Jamaica Plain - 02130

3,213

21.0%

South Boston - 02127, 02210

 2,178

20.1%​

C​harlestown - 02129

1,097

15.5%​

Fenway - 02115, 02215

1,863

15.0%​

Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End, Downtown, & North End - 02108, 02114, 02116, 02199, 02222, 02109, 02110, 02013​

​ 3,235

12.9%​

Other

29

62.1%

Boston

52,705

​​24.2%


CLICK HERE FOR A MAP OF TESTING SITES IN BOSTON

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)

Jun 05
How to Talk to Young Children About Racial Injustices

How do I talk to young children about the racial injustices happening right now?

  1. Above all else, reassure the child that they are loved and the adults in their life are doing their best to take care of them.  Notice I did not say safe.  We cannot keep our children safe from racial injustice.  People of color have always known this.  White people are catching on, slowly.

  2. Your best is good enough.  Do not be afraid to say the wrong thing.  There is no perfect answer.    

  3. Help children find words to describe their wonderings and worries by asking questions.  Are you worried about the car you saw on fire?  Are you wondering what made me and auntie cry last night?

  4. Keep the concepts simple. For now, share the least amount of information necessary to reassure the child.     

  5. Use phrases that are familiar.  For example, if the child does not yet know what race is, stick to skin color.  If the child understands "went to heaven" rather than death, use this language.  If the child knows the concept of "bad guys" then talk about who the "bad guy" is in this context.  

  6. End the conversation with love, reassurance, and redirection. You need this as much as the child does. Do something together to reassure the child that it is ok to keep going.  For example: read a book, sing a song, build a tower, toss a ball, color a picture, make a snack, or play a game.

No really, what do I say? 

No one can tell you what to say because only you know your family.  We can only offer sample language.  You are the one who knows how to make the language fit your family.  And the truth is, what seems like the right thing today might not feel right tomorrow.  Again, we're aiming for good enough not perfection. Here are some examples:

Why are people so mad they are burning cars?

  • People are upset because a police officer hurt a man so badly he went to heaven/died and can never come back.

  • People are tired of living in a world where people are treated badly because they have black and brown skin.

  • Those people you saw are so mad they think the only way to be heard is to start a fire.

When I was angry you told me to take a timeout.  Those people should take a time out.

  • When you were mad at Bobby and you hit him, I wanted you to take a time out to calm down so you could ask Bobby nicely for your toy.  You did a great job using your words.  This is a little different.  

  • The people on TV already tried a time out and used their words many, many times.  Now they are very angry and trying something else.  It is important for them to keep trying to help the people being hurt because they have black and brown skin.

  • Starting a fire is very dangerous and if you are ever so angry you want to hurt something or someone, you must find an adult/grown-up to help you.

  • Sometimes people get so upset they do things without thinking about what will happen next.  Like when you were upset and knocked down your brother's block tower.  Your angries bubbled out before you could stop them.  Those people had their angries bubble out.

Why do the police hurt people who aren't bad guys?

  • That police officer was not a nice man.  He was a mean man.  I don't know why he was so mean.  I hope he goes to jail for a long long time.

  • Most police are helpers and work to keep us safe. But some police only keep people safe if they like them.  Those police should get in trouble and not be able to go to work anymore. 

My friend Gina has brown skin. Will the police hurt her?

  • I hope not.  Gina does everything she can to stay safe.  

  • You're right.  Gina's skin is beautiful and brown.  If you ever see someone be mean to Gina because of her skin I want you to stand next to her and say "Gina is my friend. You leave her alone."  Then I want you and Gina to go get an adult/grown-up to help.

Are the police going to hurt me?

  • I don't want you to worry about the police.  It is my job to make sure you don't get hurt. 

  • If you feel afraid when the police are around you can hold my hand. I am here and you can always come to me when you are feeling worried.

  • I say a prayer (make a wish) every day to keep that from happening. Do you want to hear it?


Resources for talking to young children about racial injustice

Remember that these links are starting points for conversations rather than final destinations. 

Step 1. Help children process their feelings in this moment

  • Once I was very very scared by Piplo Productions is a free online book that helps kids talk about scary feelings, what they feel like in your body and things that help them feel better. 

  • Supporting Kids Of Color in The Wake of Racialized Violence - an interview to help caregivers get an understanding on the impacts of radicalized violence on young children and how they can help them.

  • From PBS you can find more information on how to help children process information that comes forth in the news around tragic events

  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has developed a simple table that can help caregivers respond and help young children dealing with traumatic grief. 

  • Zero to Three's article applies a child development lens to guidance for talking to young children about racism and violence. 

Step 2. Talk about race and racism consistently and take action

  • Wee the People is a Boston based social justice project for children age 4 to 12 launched by two black mothers and offers workshops that explore activism, resistance, and social action through the visual and performing arts for both kids and caregivers.

  • Embrace Race is a great source of helpful information. In this article find out 8 ways to talk to young kids about racial injustice. 

  • HealthyChildren.org also has tips around talking to young children about racial bias.

  • Books for Littles is a website with diverse book recommendations on how to talk to children about race.

  • For educators, the NCTSN has also developed materials on how to address race and trauma in classrooms. 




Image credited to prettygooddesign.org

For more information:  

Visit ​massaimh.org​ and​ ecmhmatters.org​ 

or 

Contact us ​asubramaniam@mspcc.org​ and ​ecmhmatters@bphc.org  


May 28
Mayor Walsh Shares Return to Work Framework for Public and Private Businesses, Employers and Landlords

​Thursday, May 28, 2020 - Building on his commitment to a safe, phased-in reopening in the City of Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today laid out guidance and operational recommendations for businesses, employers and commercial landlords to consider as part of their return-to-work strategies for office workplaces. This framework, which focuses on areas such as social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting, is specific to Phase 1 of the Commonwealth's phased reopening plan, and builds on the industry specific statewide workplace safety standards, incorporating further guidance from the CDC, US Chamber of Commerce and industry associations aimed at preparing the physical workplace and workforce ahead of June 1.

"Our first and foremost priority in making available these guidelines is to empower businesses and employers to act now and put in place safety precautions and protocols before beginning to reopen," said Mayor Walsh. "In the City of Boston, we recognize the size of our commercial sector and the unique role we play in the region's working and commuting patterns. That's why it's so important that as a city, we collectively do everything we can now to institute the necessary safeguards that will allow businesses to reopen in a safe and healthy way when they are ready to do so." 

The guidance the City is putting forward today offers additional considerations for employers to ensure a safe reopening, and supplements state and federal mandates around building and property management. More information on this guidance can be found here. All employers are required to follow statewide standards for re-opening office workplaces, including the requirement that businesses and other organizations must limit occupancy within their office space to no more than 25 percent of the maximum occupancy level during Phase 1.

In addition to state and federal mandates, the City of Boston is recommending for businesses, employers and landlords to consider the following recommendations:

Social Distancing:

  • Entrances, Lobbies and Reception: post clear signage and markers of 6-foot social distancing spaces in all high traffic areas, particularly where lines form; limit entry and access points unless required for compliance with building safety regulations; limit public interactions and public access to buildings by closing lobby seating or other public gathering spaces; deploy sanitizing stations at high traffic areas; discourage use of revolving doors in favor of swing doors where possible; enable no-touch employee security access points; encourage use of door-stoppers where possible to minimize contact with doorknobs

  • Elevators, Stairwells, Hallways, Corridors: no more than four people in an elevator at a time, and all must wear face coverings, except when unsafe due to medical condition or disability; when possible, building occupants who are able to should be instructed to use the stairs in common directions, and stairs should be limited to one direction; regular sanitation of handrails, buttons, and door handles

  • Cafeterias: implement one-way directional traffic flows and 6-foot social distancing standards for queuing at checkout and cash registers; install touchless payment options where possible and sanitize point of sale terminals after customer use; supply individually wrapped single-use disposable utensils and products; eliminate self-serve fountain machines and coffee stations; regularly sanitize high-touch areas such as napkin dispensers; install safety barriers to protect food-service workers at points of contact such as cashier stands and checkout lines. 

Hygiene Protocols:

  • Avoid sharing office equipment or disinfect between use, including but not limited to telephones, computers, copy machines, water coolers, etc.

  • Where possible, open windows for better ventilation

  • Follow CDC specific recommendations regarding Building Engineering Controls', as noted here in the section titled "Maintain a healthy work environment"

Staffing and Operations:

  • Policies and Documentation: identify and clearly communicate a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and impact on the workplace; conduct a hazard assessment to determine if workplace hazards are present and determine what types of mitigants are necessary to specific job duties; provide personal protective equipment for any employee whose job function requires it; implement and maintain symptom screening procedure at entrances; establish accommodation and leave policies for employees consistent with federal and state laws

  • Ongoing Operations: ensure employees and visitors to the building use face coverings, except when unsafe due to medical condition or disability; employers should make face coverings available for their employees (reusable, cloth face covering when possible); encourage flexible meeting options to reduce non-essential travel; monitor and prepare for spikes in sick of absent employees by cross-training employees to maintain critical business processes

  • Communication: communicate workplace policies clearly, frequently, in multiple languages, and through various channels; utilize an emergency notification system when necessary; and maintain updated contact information for employees

  • Commuting: when possible, allow for flexibility in working hours so employees can commute during non-peak hours; encourage employees to wash their hands upon entering the workplace

Cleaning and Disinfecting:

  • Schedule frequent cleaning of public spaces, high touch surfaces and communal areas

  • Have a written cleaning plan available to all staff for review that includes specific COVID-19 considerations, including: frequency of restocking of hygiene supplies, cleaning schedule of general areas, floors and high touch surfaces, and a response action protocol for any known space where a confirmed case of infection of exposure might have occurred, and notification to the workplace coordinator

As part of the City of Boston's response to meet the needs of businesses in Boston as we begin a phased-in reopening, earlier this week, Mayor Walsh announced $6 million in new debt-free grants to support the safe and healthy reopening of small businesses in Boston. The funding will help qualified small businesses implement the necessary public health measures required to reopen safety. Applications for those grants will be made available today at 5:00 p.m. at boston.gov/reopen-fund. In total, the City of Boston has provided over $13.5 million in City, federal and private funding to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

For more information on the phased-in reopening in the City of Boston, please visit: boston.gov/reopening.

 

###


May 28
Mayor Walsh Announces New “Healthy Streets” Program as part of Reopening Process

​Thursday, May 28, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a series of changes to City streets as Boston continues its planning for a phased, careful COVID-19 reopening process in the City of Boston. Street changes will be phased in over the next several months, and in the next two weeks the Boston Transportation Department will make improvements that include street space allocated for expanded bus stops, new bike lanes, and outdoor restaurant seating. 

"Ensuring the safety and health of all residents is our first priority in Boston," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "These innovative streets programs focus on what residents need: safe, reliable transportation if they must travel in Boston, access to fresh air and open spaces, and building social and physical distancing into everyday life. As we continue to carefully plan for reopening in Boston, we will continue our work to create streets and transportation that work for all." 

Improving Bus Stops 

To better accommodate workers who use MBTA bus routes, which continue to see high use by essential workers, the Boston Transportation Department will expand bus stops at ten locations in partnership with the MBTA, and will begin to make these changes the week of June 1st. 

Locations include:

  • Maverick Blue Line Station on the median island in Maverick Square

  • Blue Hill Avenue Bus Stops (Inbound Only) at Morton Street and Woodhaven Street

  • Hynes Station (Northbound) Stop 

  • Broadway Station 

  • Haymarket Station on Congress Street 

  • Warren Street at Whiting Street and Moreland Street

  • Route 39 Bus Stop at Fenwood Street

  • Route 7 (Inbound) stop at L Street at Broadway

In addition, the City of Boston is enhancing Silver Line reliability through Chinatown, and installing a bus lane on Washington Street north of Marginal Road and by repainting the bus lane on Essex Street.

Accelerating Installation of Bike Lanes 

To help people get to work safely, the first phase of bike lanes will focus on connecting downtown to the citywide network. They will provide high-comfort dedicated lanes that will be attractive to new bike riders, families, essential workers and commuters. 

These quick-build lanes include: 

  • Arlington St (Beacon to Stuart)

  • Beacon St (Charles to Berkeley)

  • Boylston St (Arlington to Washington)

  • Charles St (Boylston to Beacon)

  • Columbus Ave (W Newton to Stuart)

  • Court St (Congress to Tremont)

  • State St (Atlantic to Congress)

  • Tremont St (Court to Shawmut) 

In addition, the City will implement scheduled bike lanes on Washington Street (from Stuart Street to Avenue De Lafayette), Stuart Street (Charles Street to Washington Street), and Berkeley Street (Tremont St to Columbus Avenue). 

Supporting Restaurants and Small Businesses 

Last week, Mayor Walsh and the Licensing Board for the City of Boston took steps to streamline existing processes for restaurants who wish to expand outdoor seating as part of the COVID-19 reopening process. These new processes make it easier for restaurants to take advantage of outdoor space in Boston when they are allowed to open under state guidelines, including issuing a questionnaire for businesses that will be used as the starting point for both identifying opportunities for temporary extensions onto outdoor space both on public and private property. Over 270 businesses have already begun this process throughout all of Boston's neighborhoods. The Transportation and Public Works Departments are reviewing requests from the questionnaires to accommodate outdoor dining on sidewalks and parking lanes.

Temporary street closures with barriers and signs will also be explored as part of the outdoor seating work, and to create better green links to parks and open spaces.

"Public space and transportation will be key to a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery," said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets. "Right now, that includes making sure hospital staff and front line workers can get to work safely and affordably, and rethinking how Boston's streets best serve our residents. These changes to Boston's streets are in line with Boston's transportation goals of safety, access, and reliability, and the City's work to create a safe city for every resident." 

More information about the above changes, including a map of all locations, is available now at boston.gov/healthy-streets, and residents are encouraged to submit feedback on ongoing pilot programs.

Future phases will include additional bus priority measures, continued adjustments to our curb management and enforcement activities, more bike lanes, and new Bluebikes stations. Work continues on our existing capital projects, including the construction of several Neighborhood Slow Streets zones this summer. Additional information is available on boston.gov

 

###


May 15
Mayor Walsh, Massachusetts General Hospital Announce Results of Antibody and COVID-19 Testing for Boston Residents

Friday, May 15, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, together with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), today announced the study to evaluate community exposure to COVID-19 through a representative sampling of asymptomatic Boston residents resulted in 9.9% testing positive for antibodies and 2.6% of currently asymptomatic individuals testing positive for COVID-19. In conclusion, approximately 1 in 10 residents in this study have developed antibodies and approximately 1 in 40 currently asymptomatic individuals are positive for COVID-19 and potentially infectious. 

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

More than 5,000 residents living in East Boston, Roslindale or within the boundaries of zip codes 02121 and 02125 in Dorchester were invited to voluntarily participate in the study, with total outreach representing more than 55% people of color. Approximately 1,000 residents expressed interest in participating and 786 residents were deemed eligible. Of those, 750 residents enrolled in the study and received the required testing. Residents with symptoms or a previously positive COVID-19 test were disqualified from the study.

Baseline demographics of the 750 participants:

  • Median age is 42.4 years old

  • 61.6% are female, 38.3% male

  • 36.8% are from Roslindale, 25.1% are from East Boston, 23.2% are from 02125 in Dorchester and 14.9% are from 02121 in Dorchester

  • 62% are white, 18.7% are Black/African-American, 12% are Latinx/Hispanic, 2.3% are Asian/Pacific Islander and .13% are American Indian/Alaska Native. 1.6% preferred not to say and 1.6% are unknown. There were no significant differences in COVID-19 or antibody rates by race or ethnicity in this sample.

Prevalence of COVID-19 positivity in currently asymptomatic individuals ranged from 1.1% to 4.6%, while antibody positivity ranged from 6.3% to 13.3% by zip code.

  • East Boston: 1.1% tested positive for COVID-19, 13.3% tested positive for antibodies

  • Roslindale: 2.2% tested positive for COVID-19, 7.6% tested positive for antibodies

  • 02121 in Dorchester: 2.7% tested positive for COVID-19, 6.3% tested positive for antibodies

  • 02125 in Dorchester: 4.6% tested positive for COVID-19, 12.1% tested positive for antibodies

"Making sound decisions about safely reopening requires that we understand how extensively the virus has already spread in our community," said Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital. "The testing that the teams from Boston and the MGH conducted shows that approximately 90 percent of the city's residents have not yet been exposed to the virus. We also know that COVID-19 will be with us for a while. It is vital therefore that we be thoughtful and careful about reopening, and that we continue to take actions - wearing masks, physical distancing, working from home when possible, limiting gatherings - that can prevent another surge of the disease."

Testing was conducted at three drive through testing sites in East Boston, Roslindale and Dorchester. Testing for COVID-19 virus is done by means of a swab of the nose and determines if you have the infection. Antibody testing is done by means of blood drawn through a finger prick and detects whether your blood has antibodies that are present when the body is responding to an infection, like COVID-19. Any resident who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus or the COVID-19 antibodies was provided with clear guidance and information on how to care for themselves and those around them.

This announcement builds on Mayor Walsh's commitment to increase access to testing for Boston residents, which will allow for better understanding of the spread and inform a path to recovery. Boston is currently offering testing in over 20 locations, including hospitals and community health centers. During April 30 and May 7 alone, Boston had a 30 percent increase in the amount of testing happening citywide. By the end of last week a total of 36,072 tests had been conducted.

On Monday, Mayor Walsh announced that the City's first round of universal testing for all unhoused individuals in Boston was completed. Over 2,200 homeless individuals were tested, with 743 testing positive for a 32% infection rate. In addition, Mayor Walsh is working on universal testing at city substance use residential programs.

Through the Boston Resiliency Fund, the City has dedicated $1.24 million to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct culturally appropriate outreach and education at 17 community health centers in Boston neighborhoods. A full map of testing sites is available here. The map includes contact information for the testing site and it is updated as new sites come online. Residents who are sick and want to be tested should call ahead to be pre-screened and schedule an appointment. Residents will not be charged for testing and residents will not be asked about immigration status. 

In addition, the City of Boston has made available weekly data on testing at the neighborhood level, with new reports including the number of people tested, and positive testing rates for each neighborhood. The latest data was shared on Thursday, May 7 and can be found here

 

###


May 08
Mayor Walsh Announces City of Boston To Suspend Large Events in the City Through Labor Day

Friday, May 8, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today in accordance with public health guidance around the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic announced that parades and festivals will not take place in the City of Boston this summer, up to and including Labor Day on September 7, 2020. 

"While we're planning a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery process, I know this announcement will be disappointing to many residents and organizations that look forward to these events each year," said Mayor Walsh. "This is a hard public health decision, but it's the right one. I encourage people to rethink their events, and thank them for their work to inspire us, and help our communities get through this difficult time."

The City of Boston has made the decision to continue to suspend events that bring crowds together in close contact, like a road race, concert, or flag raising. No event should be planned that would involve more than 10 people gathering or that could draw a crowd of any size.

The City of Boston encourages organizers to host events through virtual means, such as the 24th Annual 2020 Mother's Day Walk for Peace, which has transitioned into a virtual walk-a-thon. The Boston Symphony Orchestra will not be holding a live performance of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4. Instead it will present, on television and online, A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes, in honor of front-line workers and all those who have lost their lives to the health crisis. City of Boston events that will move to a virtual option include the Donna Summer Disco and Gospelfest.

###


May 06
Mayor Walsh Announces Major Expansion of COVID-19 Testing in the City of Boston

​Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that his Administration is moving forward with a rapid expansion of COVID-19 testing, building on his continued commitment to ensure equitable access to testing for Boston residents. In this next phase of testing expansion, the City of Boston is aiming to reach an average of at least 1,500 diagnostic tests per day to residents, targeting efforts in each neighborhood, while prioritizing populations most vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19. The City has been working continuously to increase testing in Boston and currently an average of 1,100 tests are conducted per day of Boston residents across all available testing sites, up from an average of 680 tests conducted per day the previous week.

"Testing helps people get the care they need and avoid passing the virus on to others," said Mayor Walsh. "Increasing our testing efforts allows our public health experts to better track the outbreak and it will continue to be essential in our progress toward recovery. Public health models tell us that the more testing we can do, the more we can reduce our positive infection rate, giving us the data and confidence we need to move forward safely."

As part of the expansion, the City will work to expand the current testing infrastructure that exists to increase the number of community health centers offering testing and increasing their testing capacity by 50 percent in the next month. In addition, the City will partner with two hospitals to expand community-based testing over the next month. 

Mobile testing

The City will expand mobile testing capacity in Boston with a targeted goal of testing an average of 150 residents a day, operating six days per week. Mobile testing will help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing.

Surveillance testing for targeted populations

As part of the ongoing work to make testing available for groups at risk of faster spread and more severe illness from COVID-19, the City will work to complete universal testing for individuals experiencing homelessness and then begin universal testing for other high-impact populations and sites, including first responders.

Additionally, the City of Boston is moving forward with universal COVID-19 testing for all unhoused individuals in Boston. The City recently secured 1,000 tests donated by the Boston company Orig3n. As testing is completed, individuals who are positive will get the care and support they need to recover. Individuals who are negative will be placed in designated areas to allow for better social distancing and help slow the spread of the virus.

Antibody testing

As the City ramps up testing, a large-scale antibody testing initiative is underway to help better understand the spread of COVID-19 in Boston, which will help inform the path to recovery. The City is working with Massachusetts General Hospital to test 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents for both the COVID-19 virus and COVID-19 antibodies. The data and collective results are expected to be available next week. Following this study, the City is looking to expand antibody testing to more Bostonians including targeted populations such as first responders. 

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. This week, the number of tests among Boston residents increased by 44 percent from the previous week, according to the latest data from the Boston Public Health Commission. There have been close to 28,000 COVID-19 tests in Boston residents, accounting for about 4 percent of the City's population. Out of the total number of tests, the percentage of those who tested positive went down from almost 34 percent to 32 percent in the last week. 

Testing among East Boston residents increased by 76 percent during the last week and had a lower percent positive of positive tests compared to previous data, but still had the highest percentage positive among all neighborhoods. Mattapan, Roxbury, West Roxbury and Hyde Park experienced the largest decreases in percent positives comparing the past week with previous data. The latest numbers of cases by Boston neighborhoods are available here.

Mayor Walsh and the Resiliency Fund Steering Committee have dedicated over $1,000,000 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, 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.  

Boston is offering testing in five hospitals and 18 health centers. Residents can find a map of testing sites on boston.gov/coronavirus or bphc.org/coronavirus. Residents are asked to call ahead for pre-screening and to schedule an appointment, unless otherwise noted. Residents can click on the interactive map to find the testing center with hours, address and contact information. It will be updated as new sites become available for testing.

TESTING FACILITY

ADDRESS

CONTACT 

Codman Square Health Center

637 Washington Street

Dorchester, MA 02124

(617) 822-8271

The Dimock Center

45 Dimock Street

Roxbury, MA 02119

(617) 442-8800

Ext. 2683

DotHouse Health

1353 Dorchester Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02122

(617) 740-2292

Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center

632 Blue Hill Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02121

(617) 825-3400

Mattapan Community Health Center

1575 Blue Hill Avenue

Mattapan, MA 02126

(617) 296-0061

Whittier Street Health Center

1290 Tremont Street

Roxbury, MA 02120

(617) 427-1000

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

10 Gove Street 

East Boston, MA 02128

 

Drive Thru Location:

525 William F McClellan Hwy East Boston, MA 02128

(617) 569-5800

Upham's Corner Health Center

415 Columbia Road

Dorchester, MA 02125

(617) 388-5007

Bowdoin Street Health Center

230 Bowdoin Street

Dorchester, MA 02122

(617) 754-0100

Brigham and Women's Mobile Testing

At BCYF Tobin from May 4 -9, 2020

1481 Tremont Street 

Roxbury, MA 02120

Walk-in basis only, from 9 a.m. -5 p.m.

South Boston Community Health Center

Coming soon

Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center

4199 Washington Street Roslindale, MA 02131

(617) 323-4440

Charles River Community Health

Coming soon

Fenway Health

1340 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02215

(617) 927-6000

Harbor Health

398 Neponset Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02122

(617) 282-3200

Brookside Community Health Center

Coming soon

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Coming soon

NEW Health Charlestown

Coming soon

Brigham and Women's Hospital

(Boston main campus)

75 Francis Street

Boston, MA 02115

(617) 732-5500

Carney Hospital

2100 Dorchester Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02124

(617) 296-4000

Massachusetts General Hospital 

55 Fruit Street

Boston, MA 02114

(617) 726-2000

St. Elizabeth Medical Center

736 Cambridge Street

Brighton, MA 02135

(617) 789-3000

Tufts Medical Center

885 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02111

(617) 636-0019

Residents will not be charged for testing regardless of insurance or immigration status. Call the Mayor's Health Line at (617) 534-5050 for help with health insurance applications, navigating Boston's health care system, and with COVID-19 questions.

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 and families; free toiletries for Boston students; emergency childcare centers; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; transportation options for health care workers; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. 

For additional questions or programs, please visit BPHC's coronavirus website and the City of Boston's 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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May 02
How to Make a Simple Face Covering at Home

​Starting on May 6, 2020, all Massachusetts residents will be required to wear a face covering in public places, including when going for a walk or exercising. Governor Charlie Baker's mandate builds on Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh's continued call for residents to wear a face covering when outside of their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Boston Public Health Commission wants to remind everyone it is important to continue to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene, even when wearing a face covering. 

A face covering is any well-secured paper or cloth that covers the mouth and nose. Face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

  • Be secured with ties or ear loops

  • Include multiple layers of fabric, if it is a cloth covering

  • Allow for breathing without restriction

A face covering can be made from something you already have in your home, such as a scarf, bandana or a t-shirt. Follow the video tutorials below to make your own face covering.

Video Tutorials

How to make a simple face covering from a bandana:

 


Graphic also available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Somali, and Arabic

Watch Boston Mayor Marty Walsh make a face covering with only a t-shirt, scissors and rubber bands:

 


Additional Resources: 

CDC Guidance on on how to make a cloth mask is available here.

BPHC Face Coverings Flyer

VIDEO: Boston artist and former Project Runway Erin Robertson shows you how to sew your own mask 

VIDEO: Sewing studio and fabric shop Gather Here shows you how to sew your own mask

VIDEO: Boomerang Bags Boston gives a tutorial on hand-sewn masks

VIDEO: Local artist Kelli Bos walks you through sewing your own mask



Apr 26
Mayor Walsh Announces Partnership With Massachusetts General Hospital on Randomized Antibody Testing for 1,000 Residents

Sunday, April 26, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh together with Dr. Peter Slavin, President of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today announced that approximately 1,000 residents in the City of Boston will be invited to participate in a study to evaluate community exposure to COVID-19 through antibody testing. The sampling will focus on residents living in East Boston, Roslindale and within the boundaries of zip codes 02121 and 02125 in Dorchester. Outreach to residents in those areas began today.

"It is our hope that by conducting this testing, we as a collective City will get a better understanding of the true prevalence of COVID-19 in our community," said Mayor Walsh. "The more we can expand our testing, the more we can learn how to use our medical resources more efficiently, and how we need to focus our current efforts to contain the virus. I want to thank MGH for being an excellent partner on this effort that we hope will be a step forward towards the path to recovery."

As part of the study, MGH will collect data of 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents this week by administering testing for both the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 antibodies. Testing for COVID-19 virus is done by means of a swab of the nose and determines if you have the infection. Antibody testing is done by means of blood drawn through a finger prick and detects whether your blood has antibodies that are present when the body is responding to an infection, like COVID-19. Any resident who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus or the COVID-19 antibodies will be provided with clear guidance and information on how to care for themselves and those around them.

This randomized testing is critical, as the CDC estimates that nationally 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and may not know they are a carrier of the virus, or that they could be infecting others.

"We are at war with COVID-19, and overcoming this viral enemy demands knowledge, strategy and intelligence gathering," said Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital. "A growing body of evidence suggests that many people who have been infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, but we don't yet know how prevalent the disease is in our city, in our communities and in our society. Data from this testing in Boston will provide vital clues into the spread of the virus and will help us develop strategies to slow down or stop this invisible foe."

Participation in the study is entirely voluntary for residents who have been contacted, is available to them on a first come, first serve basis up to 1,000 residents, and residents will not be charged for testing. Testing for this study is expected to be completed by May 1, and summary data of the the compiled results will be made publicly available, including the numbers and percentage of residents who test positive for the COVID-19 virus and COVID-19 antibodies, both within the neighborhoods included and the total study group tested. In accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), no personal information from any participants will be shared. 

This announcement builds on Mayor Walsh's commitment to increase access to testing for Boston residents, which will allow for better understanding of the spread and inform a path to recovery. In the last week alone, Boston has had a 30 percent increase in the amount of testing happening citywide, making a concerted effort in the hardest-hit areas. For example, in the last week, Hyde Park had a 57 percent increase in testing, Mattapan had a 35 percent increase in testing, and the hardest-hit parts of Dorchester had a 37 percent increase in testing. 

On Friday, Mayor Walsh announced the City of Boston will move forward with  universal testing for COVID-19 (coronavirus) for all unhoused individuals in Boston. The City of Boston has secured an additional 1,000 tests, which will allow public health officials to test all clients in Boston's shelter system over the next two weeks. 

Through the Boston Resiliency Fund, the City has dedicated over $760,000 to expand COVID-19 testing at nine community health centers in East Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. There are now currently 15 testing sites up and running across the City of Boston, which includes 10 operated by community health centers, and 5 operated by hospitals. A full map of testing sites is available here. Residents are encouraged to call ahead to be pre-screened, and pre-scheduled appointments are required. Residents will not be charged for testing and residents will not be asked about immigration status. 

In addition, the City of Boston has made available weekly data on testing at the neighborhood level, with new reports including the number of people tested, and positive testing rates for each neighborhood. The latest data was shared on Friday, April 24 and can be found here

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Apr 24
Mayor Walsh Announces Universal COVID-19 Testing For Unhoused Individuals In Boston

Friday, April 24, 2020 - Building on Boston's commitment to serving all homeless individuals in the city, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston will move forward with universal testing for COVID-19 (coronavirus) for all unhoused individuals in Boston. The City of Boston has secured an additional 1,000 tests, which will allow public health officials to test all clients in Boston's shelter system over the next two weeks. The efforts will be led by Boston's partners at Boston Health Care for the Homeless, in coordination with the Boston Public Health Commission, St. Francis House, and the Pine Street Inn. The tests are being donated by the Boston company Orig3n.

"We continue to work every day to support our homeless population and the staff who serve them--with shelter, with care, with testing," said Mayor Walsh. "This is a big step forward in protecting our most vulnerable populations. Universal testing in Boston's homeless community is critical to allow us to provide individuals the targeted care they need. We will continue to work with our partners in government and the nonprofit community about the resources we need moving forward."

As of Thursday, April 23, 1,340 individuals have been tested, and 453 homeless individuals who have been tested are positive, or 34 percent. All Boston Public Health Commission shelters remain open, and the City of Boston has been conducting widespread testing in this population. As testing is completed, individuals who are positive will go to get the care and support they need to recover. Individuals who are negative will be placed in designated areas to allow for better social distancing and help slow the spread of the virus.

Since the start of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19, Boston has worked to protect its most at-risk populations, including homeless individuals. The City of Boston has added over 900 new beds all across the city to reduce the density in the city's shelters, and to treat homeless individuals who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Boston Hope at the BCEC has 500 beds dedicated to the care of homeless individuals, and the City of Boston has built quarantine and treatment centers next to its largest shelters. 

The City of Boston has also worked with its partners to create 172 beds at Suffolk University dorms to improve shelter spacing, and 70 beds at a former hospital on Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton. The City has also helped add 250 beds at Newton Pavilion, in partnership with the Boston Medical Center. In addition, there are 50 beds for veterans at a facility in Brighton, and Boston University has provided 75 rooms for Pine Street Inn staff.

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