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Apr 19
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): The Latest

CLICK HERE FOR COVID-19 VACCINE SITE INFORMATION IN THE CITY OF BOSTON

OVERVIEW:

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

Boston's Latest Numbers (As of April 16, 2021): (Updated Monday-Friday)

  • 67,685 confirmed cases 

  • 63,390 recovered

  • 1,361 deaths


Boston Race/Ethnicity Case Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Known Cases

Percentage of Known Cases

Asian/PI

3,727

6%

Black/African-American

14,820

24%

Latinx/Hispanic

18,376

30%

Other

3,947

6%

White

20,851

34%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Cases in Boston

61,721

91.2% of total cases in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Cases in Boston 

67,685

 


Boston Race/Ethnicity Death Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Deaths

Percentage of Known Deaths

Asian/PI

106

8%

Black/African-American

443

33%

Latinx/Hispanic

177

13%

Other

45

3%

White

588

43%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Deaths in Boston

1,359

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

Total Deaths in Boston

1,361

 


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: 04-16-2021

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 archived COVID-19 Metrics reports. The next update will be 04-21-2021.

Click HERE for the Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report: 04-19-2021
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. The next update will be 04-26-2021.

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 April 11, 2021). The next update will be 04-21-2021.

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

OF TESTED, CUMULATIVE % POSITIVE​

TESTING RATE PER 100,000 RESIDENTS​

East Boston - 02128

38,657

19.1%

82,376.9

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

52,569

18.0%

64,996.3

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

47,979

17.1%

74,644.1

Hyde Park - 02136

24,922

17.0%

72,822.4

Mattapan - 02126

17,137

​15.7%

57,912.9

Roslindale - 02131

23,621

14.1%

69,944.6

South Boston - 02127, 02210

35,613

12.9%

88,823.8

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

43,259

12.0%

100,306.1

West Roxbury - 02132

19,540

11.5%

68,592.7

Charlestown - 02129  

14,698

9.1%

75,708.3

South End - 02111, 02118 

37,082

8.9%

103,708.5

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135 

61,379

8.0%​

92,181.4

Jamaica Plain - 02130

35,613

8.0%​

88,201.2

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

49,411

6.8%​

88,672.5

Fenway - 02115, 02215

79,599

4.0%​

145,447.4

Boston

609,206

11.1%

89,666.5

*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. (April 5-11). The next update will be 04-21-21.

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

POSITIVE 
TESTS

% POSITIVE

South Boston - 02127, 02210

1,781

136

7.6%

East Boston - 02128

2,012

149

7.4%

Charlestown - 021291

793

56

7.1%

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

2,248

146

6.5%

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

1,483

84

5.7%

Mattapan - 021261

1,033

58

5.6%

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

2,723

152

5.6%

Hyde Park - 02136

1,606

86

5.4%

South End - 02111, 02118

1,521

80

5.3%

Roslindale - 02131

1,251

52

4.2%

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

2,412

76

3.2%

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135

2,670

84

3.1%

Fenway - 02115, 02215

914

26

2.8%

Jamaica Plain - 02130

2,014

47

2.3%

West Roxbury - 02132

1,212

24

2.0%

Boston

26,430

1,292

4.9%

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


Click here for the BPHC 04-15-2021 Weekly COVID-19 Report

Number of deaths at long-term care facilities: 511 (Updated weekly: 04-12-2021)

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

Apr 14
Mosquito Spraying To Begin This Month In Boston

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) would like to advise residents and community members in Hyde Park and West Roxbury of upcoming sprayings to help control mosquito populations in selected neighborhood areas. BPHC partners with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project (SCMCP) to protect Boston residents from mosquito-borne disease transmission. SCMCP will be conducting a helicopter application of the biological larvicide, Bti, to control mosquito larvae over large wetlands. 

  • Wetlands currently being treated include the Fowl Meadow area of Hyde Park, the Hancock Woods area near VFW Parkway and Corey Street in West Roxbury.

  • The application will be conducted between April 19 and April 30.

  • The larvicide will be applied in a granular formulation by a helicopter flying low directly over the wetlands.

Residents do not need to take any special precautions for this application.

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. People 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. Click here to learn more about mosquito-borne illness and how to prevent them.

About Bti: The material to be applied, Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis), is a natural bacterium found in soil. The EPA classifies Bti as a relatively non-toxic pesticide. Bti is considered a target selective and environmentally compatible pesticide that affects mosquito larvae and a few closely related aquatic insects in the fly family. Once applied, Bti stays suspended in water for 24 to 48 hours and then biodegrades as it settles to the bottom. The product name of the Bti is VectoBac GS (EPA Reg. #73049-10).

For further information contact the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730. Click here for more information about the mosquito control work of BPHC and its partnership with SCMCP.

###

Apr 06
Mayor Janey, Boston Health Officials Launch Campaign Aimed At Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Participation

​Tuesday, April 6, 2021 – Mayor Kim Janey and Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez today announced the Boston Public Health Commission’s Hope campaign, a new multilingual public awareness campaign, encouraging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn.

“This campaign was created to speak to the heart of what has been missing in our lives and what can be better, if we get vaccinated. Every dose of the COVID-19 vaccine brings us one step closer to putting this pandemic behind us. Every dose gives us new hope for brighter days ahead,” said Mayor Janey. “I encourage every Bostonian to get vaccinated when it is your turn. Until then, stay vigilant by wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, keeping your distance and continuing to get tested regularly.”

The ads feature a diverse group of people who speak a variety of languages and aim to build trust with communities of color and other populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. It will be localized to target specific neighborhoods and reach individuals in their own languages.

“An equitable response and recovery from this pandemic means we must break down barriers so that every Bostonian not only has access to the vaccine but also has the information needed to make an informed decision about getting it,” said Marty Martinez, Chief of Health and Human Services. “This vaccine gives us hope as we continue to battle this virus and look forward to life after COVID. The best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community is to get the vaccine when it is available to you.”

The $465,000 campaign developed by marketing consultant Archipelago Strategies Group, Inc. (ASG) launched last week and the first phase will run through June. It will be visible on a variety of platforms in several languages, including television, radio, paid social media, billboards, streaming services, and print advertising.

“Ensuring that every community has the resources and information necessary to access COVID-19 vaccinations is the only way to ensure our city, state, and country will finally put this pandemic behind us,” said Josiane Martinez, CEO & Founder of Archipelago Strategies Group, Inc., a women and minority lead firm. “ASG is confident that with clear, concise, culturally relevant messages we can save more people from getting infected and prevent more untimely deaths. Equipped with knowledge and confidence more people will choose to get vaccinated to protect their health, their family’s health, and the health of our City.”

Along with building widespread public awareness of the benefits and importance of getting the vaccine, the City is focused on equitable distribution efforts. Under the State's leadership, the City is taking a four-pronged approach to vaccination: 

  • Mass Vaccination Clinics, where the goal is to vaccinate the highest number of individuals;  

  • Priority Group Clinics to vaccinate a targeted number of individuals within a specific priority group;  

  • Community-based Public Clinics to vaccinate any individual eligible to receive a vaccine at easily accessible locations throughout Boston's neighborhoods; and 

  • Mobile vaccination sites with the goal to vaccinate the hardest to reach Boston residents by bringing small-scale mobile clinics to them.  

The City of Boston has set aside vaccination appointments at the mass vaccination sites in Boston for our hardest hit communities. The Offices of Health and Human Services, Age Strong Commission, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and other departments are doing extensive outreach to community organizations, coalitions and neighborhood groups to create access to the vaccine for those populations most impacted.

As of March 30, 2021,119,218 individuals who are 16 years of age or older have been fully vaccinated in the City of Boston. 42 percent of fully vaccinated Bostonians are people of color. 11,649 Asian/Pacific Islander residents are fully vaccinated; 22,328 Black residents are fully vaccinated; 12,284 Latinx residents are fully vaccinated; and 175 American Indian/Alaskan Native residents are fully vaccinated. In comparison, 57,703 white residents are fully vaccinated. For more information on vaccination rates, visit here.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Boston, visit here or call 3-1-1.


###  


Mar 26
Mayor Janey Announces Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative To Support Organizations Working to Increase Vaccine Access and Awareness

​Friday, March 26, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Office of Health and Human Services today announced the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative, a program to provide funding to non-profit organizations working to increase vaccine access and awareness for communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant applications will open Wednesday, March 31, 2021 and the deadline to apply is April 9, 2021. With a total of $1.5 million in available funding, grant awards will range from $100,000 to $250,000 to be used by organizations over four months.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've known that certain neighborhoods and communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19," said Mayor Janey. "Creating this grant initiative will fund organizations closest to the individuals most affected, helping the City respond on a local, community-based level. I look forward to working with the grantees to further our efforts in vaccinating our more vulnerable communities."

"In Boston, we are committed to continuing to prioritize local access and equitable planning when developing strategies to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to all of our residents," said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "The grant program will build on our community partnerships and help ensure every Bostonian who is eligible has the necessary supports needed to get vaccinated."

Applicants will develop strategies to target equitable vaccine access in specific ethnic communities, Boston neighborhoods, and other groups experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 positivity. Applications should also target outreach for communities facing barriers in obtaining the vaccine. These include Black/African American, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and immigrant communities; persons with disabilities; individuals over the age of 65; and the neighborhoods of East Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale and Chinatown, where positivity rates have consistently been higher and vaccination rates have been lower than the citywide average. 

As of March 16, 2021, 88,026 individuals who are 16 years of age or older have been fully vaccinated in the City of Boston. 45 percent of fully vaccinated Bostonians are people of color. 8,908 Asian/Pacific Islander residents are fully vaccinated; 15,604 Black residents are fully vaccinated; and 7,878 Latinx residents are fully vaccinated. In comparison, 42,997 White residents are fully vaccinated. For more information on vaccination rates, visit here.

Funds will be prioritized to applicants using partnership models that include a clinical/vaccine partner and a community-based organization to allow for specific efforts to reach populations with both clinical services and wrap-around services. Funds will also be prioritized for new partnership models or organizations that have not yet been fully engaged in this work. Access and awareness strategies include:

  • Direct, in-person outreach: This will target populations and scheduling individuals for vaccine appointments. 

  • Public awareness efforts: This will target specific populations or neighborhoods to build confidence in vaccines and their effectiveness. 

  • Wrap around supports: This will help to create equitable access to vaccines appointments through methods including transportation support, interpretation services, companion programs, dedicated staff to get residents into vaccine appointments.  

  • Direct clinic support: This will include expanded staffing, outreach or on-site services to support access to vaccines people, including access during non-traditional hours or located at non-traditional locations.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boston has prioritized access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination for communities most impacted. The current community positivity rate is 3.9 percent for the week of March 12-18, 2021, with the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and East Boston experiencing the highest rates. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 24 percent of known cases have been among Black/African American residents, 30 percent of known cases have been among Hispanic/Latinx residents, and 6 percent of known cases have been among Asian/Pacific Islander residents. For more information on COVID-19 positivity, visit here

Under the State's leadership, the City is taking a four-pronged approach to vaccination: 

  • Mass Vaccination Clinics, where the goal is to vaccinate the highest number of individuals;  

  • Priority Group Clinics to vaccinate a targeted number of individuals within a specific priority group;  

  • Community-based Public Clinics to vaccinate any individual eligible to receive a vaccine at easily accessible locations throughout Boston's neighborhoods; and 

  • Mobile vaccination sites with the goal to vaccinate the hardest to reach Boston residents by bringing small-scale mobile clinics to them.  

The City of Boston has set aside vaccination appointments at the mass vaccination sites in Boston for our hardest hit communities. The Offices of Health and Human Services, Age Strong Commission, Immigrant Advancement, Commission for Persons with Disabilities and other departments are doing extensive outreach to community organizations, coalitions and neighborhood groups to raise visibility and to create access to the vaccine for those populations most impacted. Along with equitable distribution efforts, the City is focused on building widespread public awareness of the benefits and importance of getting the vaccine. 

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination in Boston, visit here

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Mar 20
Mayor Walsh Announces Boston to Move Into Modified Phase 4, Step 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan

​Friday, March 19, 2021 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston will move into a modified Phase 4, Step 1 of the state's Reopening Massachusetts plan, effective Monday, March 22, 2021. The City will allow additional activities, businesses and venues to resume or expand operations in light of improved trends in COVID-19 cases and vaccinations, as well as the state's continued effort to expand eligibility and access to the vaccine. Boston's measured approach to reopening aims to mitigate the pandemic's economic impact while prioritizing public health. The City of Boston will not advance beyond the reopening steps outlined today until the citywide testing positivity rate stays below 2.75 percent, as calculated by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), for two consecutive weeks.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, our response to COVID-19 has prioritized public health, while recognizing the need to protect the economic wellbeing of our businesses and residents," said Mayor Walsh. "As our city reopens, we need everyone to recommit themselves to following the public health guidance. It's incumbent on each of us to stay vigilant, even as we reopen more parts of our economy. It's thanks to everyone's cooperation throughout the pandemic that we're able to open further."

In Boston, all private gatherings and events will remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Public gatherings in Boston may increase to 60 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, lower than the Commonwealth's limits of 100 and 150 people, respectively. In alignment with the Commonwealth, the following industries in the City of Boston may reopen or resume on Monday, March 22, subject to certain capacity limits and safety measures: 

  • Indoor performance venues, such as concert halls, theaters, and other seated indoor performance spaces can open at 50 percent capacity, with a 500-person maximum capacity.

  • Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact, such as escape rooms, laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, and obstacle courses can open at 50 percent capacity.

  • Approved live entertainment may resume in restaurants, except singing. Brass and woodwind instruments are discouraged.

  • Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, ballparks or venues with capacity of 5,000 people or more can host spectators at 12 percent capacity. These venues must submit a COVID Response Plan to the City of Boston's Licensing Board before beginning to host events.

  • Overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate.

  • Exhibition and convention halls can reopen, subject to gathering limits and event rules.

  • Dance floors will be permitted at weddings and other approved events only.

The following activities and businesses will not be allowed to reopen until further notice:

  • Road races, street festivals, parades and fairs

  • Amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor and indoor water parks

  • Indoor and outdoor ball pits

  • Saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs and other facilities

  • Beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries

  • Bars, dance clubs and nightclubs, offering entertainment, beverages or dancing without seated food service

As of March 11, the City was averaging 152.6 COVID-19 positive cases per day, with a citywide positivity rate of 3.5 percent. More detailed data related to COVID-19 in Boston is available on BPHC's website. As of March 10, 23.7 percent of Boston residents 16 years-old or older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 13.3 percent are fully vaccinated. 


For more information about the City of Boston's reopening plan, visit boston.gov/reopening. For more information about the Massachusetts reopening guidelines, visit mass.gov/reopening

###


Mar 17
Clinical Advisory: Increase in newly diagnosed HIV infections among persons who inject drugs in Boston

TO:       Boston Area Healthcare Providers  

FROM:  Larry Madoff, MD, Medical Director, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, DPH 

            Catherine M. Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH, State Epidemiologist, DPH     

             Jennifer José Lo, MD, Medical Director, BPHC   

             Sarimer Sánchez, MD, Director, Infectious Disease Bureau, BPHC 

DATE:   March 15, 2021 

RE:        Increase in newly diagnosed HIV infections among persons who inject drugs in Boston


The Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) are investigating an ongoing cluster of HIV infections in the City of Boston in persons who inject drugs (PWID) who are experiencing or have experienced recent homelessness, with 13 newly identified cases between January 1, 2021 and February 28, 2021.  These recently identified HIV infections appear to be part of a cluster first detected in the city in early 2019, renewing concerns about ongoing transmission. A total of 113 cases have been investigated and identified as part of the cluster.  Many cases have evidence of recent infection as determined by previous negative HIV tests.  Emerging trends among those newly diagnosed also include an increase in polysubstance and methamphetamine use.  


​Between 2000 and 2014, the number of reported HIV infections in Massachusetts declined by 47% overall and by 91% among PWID.  However, starting in 2015 the downward trend among PWID reversed as a result of the opioid epidemic and the widespread introduction of fentanyl into the drug supply.  Between 2016 and 2018, a large outbreak of HIV infection occurred in Lawrence and Lowell; the majority of these cases were among PWID who were also experiencing homelessness.  Active drug use, homelessness and mental illness may create barriers to consistent access to HIV testing, and/or to adherence to biomedical HIV prevention (PrEP) and HIV treatment. Intermittent periods of incarceration may interrupt care and treatment.  It is important that HIV infection is diagnosed early and HIV treatment initiated promptly, both for the health of the individual and to prevent onward transmission of HIV infection. 

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has introduced added barriers to HIV testing, prevention and care; especially among vulnerable populations.  As an example, specimen submissions to the State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) by DPHsupported providers who specifically serve vulnerable populations have experienced disruption. The figure below shows data on HIV testing done at the SPHL during 2020, with a sharp decline during the stay-at-home advisory. Service levels are gradually increasing but have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. 


DPH and BPHC ask healthcare providers to increase testing for HIV infection (both routine and risk-based), to include screening for co-occurring conditions such as HCV, and to report any new HIV infections to DPH immediately, particularly those in PWID, patients who report stimulant use, and/or individuals experiencing homelessness. Prompt identification of HIV infection and linkage to treatment improves clinical outcomes and is critical to reduce HIV transmission and contain outbreaks.   


Recommendations: 

1. Remain alert to the potential for HIV infection: 

i. Ascertain behavioral risk history, including injection drug use (IDU), transactional sex, methamphetamine use, unstable housing/homelessness. 

ii. Encourage frequent HIV, HCV, and syphilis screening for at-risk individuals, especially patients seeking care in emergency departments, even among those who were recently tested.   

iii. For all other individuals, follow current national recommendations for screening (see https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5514a1.htm and https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/guidelinesc.htm). 

iv. Assess for probable serious mental illness and link patients to mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs.    

v. Provide patients with condoms to reduce risk of HIV and STD transmission through sexual encounters. 

2. Link all HIV+ persons to care for full evaluation, follow-up, and prompt initiation of antiretroviral therapy, as soon as possible. Focused efforts should be made to optimize treatment adherence and retain patients in care. Early treatment of acute HIV infection is essential to rapidly reduce viral load to reduce forward transmission and improve patient outcomes, therefore blood-based, antigen/antibody (4th gen) testing is highly recommended to identify acute infection. 

3. Be prepared to refer patients who use injectable substances to syringe service programs (see below), providers that offer PrEP and PEP, and other harm reduction services in your community. 

4. Report any diagnoses of HIV infection in a person who injects drugs immediately to DPH, by calling the HIV/STD Reporting and Partner Services Line.  Field epidemiologists from DPH are routinely deployed to assist in HIV cluster investigations, provide anonymous and confidential partner notification for newly diagnosed individuals, and make referrals to support services.  To speak with a Field Operations Manager, call the Division of STD Prevention and HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reporting and Partner Services Line at 617-983-6999.  

Click here for current listing of substance use disorder treatment programs 

Click here for a current listing of syringe service programs 

Click here for substance use disorder treatment programs and services in the City of Boston 
 
Click here for a list of locations offering PrEP / PEP 

###

Feb 26
Mayor Walsh Announces The City of Boston Will Enter Modified Version of Phase 3, Step 2 of the Commonwealth's Reopening Plan on Monday

​Friday, February 26, 2021 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez, and the City of Boston today announced, effective Monday, March 1, Boston will move with the Commonwealth into Phase 3, Step 2 of the state's reopening plan, with the following exceptions:

  • Indoor performance venues and indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact will remain closed until March 22.

  • In Boston, the City will not allow live musical performances in restaurants until March 22. 



"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boston has taken a cautious approach to reopening," said Mayor Walsh. "We've prioritized the health and safety of our residents, and we've made decisions based on the latest public health data and metrics. We've only moved forward when it's safe. Throughout the pandemic, the City of Boston has made decisions that protect our public health, while recognizing the economic impact of this public health emergency. I want to thank our residents and businesses for their continued cooperation throughout the reopening process."

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will move to Step 2 of Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan on Monday, March 1:

  • Indoor performance venues (such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces) can open at 50% capacity, with a 500-person max. (*Please note: This does not apply in Boston until March 22.)

  • Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact (laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, obstacle courses) will open at 50% capacity. (*Please note: This does not apply in Boston until March 22.)

  • A number of industries will increase to 50% capacity.

  • Restaurants will no longer be subject to a seated capacity limit. However, there must be six feet between tables. No more than 6 people per table will be allowed, and the 90-minute time limit on tables stays in place. (*Please note: In Boston, the City will not allow live musical performances in restaurants until March 22.)

  • Food courts remain closed.

The state also announced its plan to transition to Step 1 of Phase 4 on Monday, March 22, provided public health metrics continue to improve. The City of Boston will continue evaluating public health and data leading up to this date to determine next steps in Boston's reopening plan. If public health data supports continued reopening, the City of Boston is prepared to align with the Commonwealth's plan to move into Step 1 of Phase 4 on Monday, March 22. Additional information is available on the Commonwealth's website

Additional information about reopening in Boston
is available on boston.gov

###

Feb 20
City of Boston, Massachusetts Association For The Blind And Visually Impaired Hold COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments Designated For Seniors With Vision Loss

Saturday, February 20, 2021 – Today the City of Boston partnered with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, Visually Impaired (MABVI) to arrange for older adults with vision loss to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury. Fourteen individuals were vaccinated this afternoon through the coordinated effort by MABVI, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), City of Boston’s Age Strong Commission and the Commission for Persons with Disabilities. 

Boston is working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to vaccinate residents against COVID-19. Following the State's lead, the City is working to create equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine across all populations and neighborhoods in the city.

“We need to break down barriers that may prevent some individuals from getting vaccinated. I’m grateful for the partnership with MABVI to make today’s appointments happen as we work to ensure that all Bostonians have access to the vaccine when they’re eligible,” said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez.

After targeted outreach to schedule appointments, individuals were greeted at the door of the Reggie Lewis Center and guided by a trained volunteer who provided language and accessibility support through the entire vaccination process. In advance of today’s vaccination session, MABVI provided training for clinic staff to create a safe, welcoming space for everyone.

“We are very grateful to the City for their commitment to ensuring access to the site. Breaking down the transportation barrier for our participants who have faced challenges finding rides and guides to assist them is critical, especially during this time of social isolation and distancing,” said Kyle Robidoux, Director of Volunteer Services & Community Planning for MABVI.

"Mayor Walsh's priority is to ensure that all eligible residents with disabilities have access to the vaccine," said Boston Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. "Partnering with trusted disability agencies such as MABVI is crucial to this effort."

Under state guidance, vaccines are now available to adults 65+ and individuals with two or more certain medical conditions. For more information on when and where you will be eligible to receive the vaccine, visit Mass.gov/COVIDvaccine. To find a vaccination site in the City of Boston, visit boston.gov/COVID19vaccine. Individuals aged 65 and older who do not have internet access, or who are having trouble navigating the site, are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to get connected to the City's Age Strong Commission. They can help answer questions and navigate the options available. Residents outside of Boston can call 2-1-1, the Mass Vaccine Scheduling Resource line. Translators are available to assist.

About the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired:

Founded in 1903, Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is one of the oldest social service organizations in the country supporting adults and seniors who are blind or low vision. A division of MAB Community Services, Inc., MABVI is a leading provider of integrated medical, social, and rehabilitation services for adults and seniors with vision loss. MABVI empowers individuals and offers them the tools they need to accomplish their goals by helping to remove barriers and increasing access to services. MABVI partners with numerous medical, elder services, and community agencies to create high-impact, cost-effective services for over 1500 for blind and low vision people across the Commonwealth.

About the Boston Public Health Commission:

The Boston Public Health Commission, one of the country's oldest health departments, 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: Emergency Medical Services; Child Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; and Recovery Services.

About the Age Strong Commission:

The Age Strong Commission works towards making Boston a city that fully embraces aging. Our mission is to enhance the lives of people 55+ with meaningful programs, resources, and connections so we can live and age strong together in Boston. For more than 50 years, we have served constituents as a City department, Council on Aging, and Area Agency on Aging. In 2017, the Commission launched its Age-Friendly Action Plan, which is the City's blueprint to make Boston the best city to live and age in.

About the City of Boston Commission for Persons with Disabilities: 

The Commission for Persons with Disabilities facilitates full and equal participation in all aspects of life by persons with disabilities in the City of Boston. The Commission strives to reduce architectural, procedural, attitudinal, and communication barriers that affect persons with disabilities. The Commission coordinates and monitors the City’s compliance with federal, state, and city civil rights laws for persons with disabilities.

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Feb 12
Mayor Walsh Announces New Scholarships to Help Add Diverse Paramedics to Boston EMS

Friday, February 12, 2021 - Building on a commitment to promote diversity and inclusion among the ranks of Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston EMS Chief James Hooley today announced new paramedic certification scholarships for current EMS members. Coordinated through the United Coalition of EMS Providers (UCEP), a Boston EMS affinity group dedicated to advancing equity, inclusion and diversity at all ranks, and in partnership with both the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), 16 emergency medical technicians are now beginning their coursework at Bunker Hill Community College to become certified paramedics. This program is designed to expand the diversity of Boston EMS members holding a paramedic certification. 

"Boston is a diverse city, and it's crucial that our public safety services in Boston, including our paramedics, reflect our neighborhoods, and our values," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud that with this scholarship, we will continue to support diversity at Boston EMS, and care for all those who call Boston home."

Boston EMS paramedics staff five frontline ambulances, providing advanced life-saving care during medical emergencies across the city. Paramedics are state-certified EMTs who hold an additional certification, expanding their scope of practice to include complex procedures, such as intubations and starting an IV. Boston EMS members promoted to the rank of paramedic earn approximately 36 percent more than an EMT.  

"I am very proud of what UCEP was able to accomplish in just five short months, securing Mayoral support and funding, as well as coordinating directly with Bunker Hill Community College; increasing the diversity of our paramedics will result in a direct benefit inpatient care," said Boston EMS Chief of Department, Jim Hooley.     

The professional development and advancement of Boston EMS members have been ongoing department priorities. Boston EMS has worked with multiple paramedic training programs and colleges to reduce barriers for all interested personnel to advance their education.  

Boston EMS has maintained a longstanding commitment to hiring candidates that reflect the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of Boston's neighborhoods. While 40 percent of personnel hired in the last three years are women and 36 percent identify as Asian, Black or African American, Latinx or more than two races, personnel holding the rank of paramedic just are 6 percent persons of color and 19 percent women. The paramedic certification, which can cost over $10,000 to secure, can be cost-prohibitive for members, making it difficult to build diversity at this
rank. 

"The Boston EMS members selected for the paramedic UCEP scholarship are 75 percent women (12 of 16), 37 percent bilingual (6), and 94 percent (15) people of color. Eligibility for selection included UCEP membership, open to all members of Boston EMS, and a commitment to promoting equity and inclusion," said Deputy Lee Alexander, who leads Diversity, Recruitment and Engagement for the department and is a board member of United Coalition of EMS Providers.  

In the wake of George Floyd's murder and the events of 2020, members of Boston EMS hosted a listening session for personnel to talk about their own experiences with racial discrimination in the spring of 2020. 

"United Coalition of EMS Providers was formed from these listening sessions, dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within the City of Boston's municipal ambulance service," said EMT Roger Hamlet, President and Founder of United Coalition of EMS Providers. 

Under Mayor Walsh's leadership, the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) worked closely with UCEP and successfully secured grant funding through Neighborhood Jobs Trust for financially eligible personnel. UCEP secured an additional $20,000 contribution from SkillWorks, a nationally recognized workforce development funders' collaborative co-lead by the Boston Foundation and the City of Boston's Office of Workforce Development. 

"This is exactly the kind of workforce equity project SkillWorks exists to support. Not only will the Paramedics benefit from a good job at a good wage, the entire community benefits from a Paramedic team that understands the true diversity of cultures here in Boston," said Andre Green, Executive Director of SkillWorks.  

This work with OWD is an expansion of their ongoing partnership with Boston EMS to help city residents secure necessary training to meet the EMT hiring prerequisites through their EMT City Academy program. 

"We are fully committed to the equitable access of education and training for all Boston residents," said Trinh Nguyen, Director of OWD. "It's not only a priority value of this city, but it is an amazing investment for our business and economy."   

ABOUT BOSTON EMS 

Boston EMS is the primary provider of emergency medical services for the City of Boston and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine. The department leverages the latest advances in both medicine and technology to bring high-quality, compassionate care to the people of Boston. Boston EMS also plays a key role in the City's emergency preparedness efforts and provides community programming designed to educate the public about important health and safety topics.

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Feb 05
Mayor Walsh, Boston Health Officials to Increase Capacity Limit on Businesses Starting Monday

Friday, February 5, 2021 - Given the improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases and the City's positivity rate over the past few weeks, today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that beginning on Monday, February 8, the City of Boston will align with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' reopening guidance by lifting the 25% capacity restrictions on local businesses, including restaurants and gyms. Effective Monday, February 8 at 5:00 a.m., businesses can operate at 40% capacity, an increase from the current 25% capacity limit.

"Since the start of the pandemic, we've made decisions based on science and data. The data right now tells us things are moving in the right direction," said Mayor Walsh. "While Massachusetts continues to expand access to vaccines and our numbers trend modestly downward, we need to stay vigilant. Please keep wearing face coverings, washing your hands, staying 6 feet apart and please do not gather with people you don't live with."

As of January 28, 2021, the City was averaging 342.7 COVID-19 positive cases per day, down from 590.4 in mid-January. The City's positive rate is currently 6.2 percent, down from a high of 8.9 percent in early January. For more on COVID-19 cases per neighborhood, visit here.  

The following industries in the City of Boston may increase to 40% capacity on February 8, 2021: 

  • Arcades and Recreational Businesses

  • Close Contact Personal Services (employees do not count toward the 40% limit)

  • Driving and Flight Schools

  • Golf (indoor areas)

  • Gyms/Health Clubs

  • Libraries (Boston Public Libraries will not be open for browsing, but services will remain available through the BPL To Go program)

  • Lodging (common areas)

  • Movie theaters (maximum of 50 people per theater)

  • Museums

  • Offices

  • Places of Worship 

  • Restaurants (employees do not count toward the 40% limit)

  • Retail 

The City remains in Step One of Phase Three of the Reopening Massachusetts Plan. Current restrictions on gathering sizes remains the same, limiting gathering sizes to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The gatherings limit applies to private homes, event venues and public spaces. These restrictions are intended to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus during the public health emergency. The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) continues to coordinate the City's enforcement of these restrictions in collaboration with the Boston Police Department, the Boston Fire Department, and the Boston Public Health Commission. These departments work together to investigate and address reported COVID-19 related issues and complaints. In 2020, city agencies responded to and resolved approximately 2,500 complaints. BPD has a party line (617-343-5500) set up to flag properties to investigate. Additionally, the Licensing Board has instituted a weekly standing emergency hearing on Mondays to address any violations of these requirements over the preceding weekend. These hearings allow the Licensing Board to swiftly address these violations as they are a public health and safety concern. 

COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Efforts

The City is working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to vaccinate residents against COVID-19. This week vaccination sites opened at Fenway Park, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College to anyone who is eligible under the State's vaccine distribution timeline. Following the State's lead, the Boston Public Health Commission in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Health and Human Services is working to create equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine across all populations and neighborhoods in the city. For more information on when and where you will be eligible to receive the vaccine, visit Mass.gov/COVIDvaccine. Individuals aged 75 and older who do not have internet access, or who are having trouble navigating the site, are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to get connected to the City's Age Strong Commission. They can help answer questions and navigate the options available. The State has also announced a new 2-1-1 Mass Vaccine Scheduling Resource line. Translators are available to assist.

"As we ramp up efforts to vaccinate eligible residents, we cannot lose focus on the proven ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing and get tested. There are more than 30 testing sites open across the City that make COVID-19 testing quick and easy," said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez.

The City of Boston is partnering with community health centers to increase access to testing, particularly in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. More information about COVID-19 testing sites throughout the city can be found here. The City is also offering mobile testing sites that are available to anyone, regardless of symptoms and insurance coverage. The mobile testing sites are located in Upham's Corner, Grove Hall, Jamaica Plain and Hyde Park for the month of February.

For more information about Boston's reopening, please visit boston.gov/reopening. For additional questions, please visit the City'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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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org