Boston Public Health Commission Provides Update on City’s COVID-19 Trends
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today provided the following updates on the latest COVID-19 trends for the City of Boston:
- Levels of COVID-19 virus in local wastewater are stable, decreasing by 2.8% over the last seven days, but have increased by 24.3% over the past 14 days and are now at 614 RNA copies/mL. (Data as of September 15).
- New COVID-19 cases in Boston have increased by 8.5% over the past seven days and by 37.7% over the past 14 days. (Data as of September 19)
- Note: this does not include at-home rapid testing results.
- Boston has seen 155 new COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the past seven days, which is a 7.6% increase over the past seven days and a 24% increase over the last 14 days. (Data as of September 22).
- Community positivity is 7.5% as of September 19.
- Suffolk county is now at medium community risk, according to the CDC.
“The upticks in our metrics across the board are a reminder that COVID-19 is still spreading throughout our communities and that people can still get very sick from this virus,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “I advise all residents to take the necessary precautions to stay safe by getting vaccinated or boosted now. Don’t wait for cases to increase further or when you plan on spending more time indoors with family to get up to date on your vaccines. As we head into the fall, there is a risk of serious illness, but we have the tools to protect ourselves—COVID vaccines, bivalent boosters, flu shots, and wearing masks in crowded indoor settings. It’s important to act now to stay safe for the fall and winter.”
BPHC urges all eligible residents to get the new Omicron-specific bivalent booster dose as soon as possible to broaden and strengthen their protection against the COVID-19 virus. This booster was approved by the FDA on September 1 and increases immunity against the original COVID-19 strain as well as the newer Omicron variants. Currently, bivalent boosters are approved only for individuals 12 years and older who have completed their primary series of an approved COVID-19 vaccines and have at least two months since their last primary or booster dose. Children ages 5-11 years old who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will continue to receive the existing, approved monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine booster dose. There are several opportunities to get vaccinated or boosted in Boston this weekend. To find a clinic near you, visit boston.gov/covid19-vaccine or vaxfinder.mass.gov.
Based on current trends, BPHC’s recommends the following COVID-19 prevention and mitigation methods:
- Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce your risk of severe illness.
- COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older.
- Booster doses are recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older.
- Second booster dose are recommended for everyone ages 50 and older, as well as moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals who are 12 or older.
- Test for COVID-19 before and after attending large gatherings, especially if you know you will be around high-risk individuals, such as seniors, those who are immunocompromised, and those who are unvaccinated.
- IMPORTANT: The federal government program offering free at-home rapid antigen testing kits has ended. In order to test for COVID-19, you must purchase a testing kit at a local retailer or visit one of Boston’s free testing clinics.
- The Office of Public Health Preparedness is offering free at-home rapid antigen testing kits to community partner organizations. Click here to request testing kits for your organization.
- Stay home and isolate if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19. If you test positive, contact a health care provider about treatments, which are available as oral antivirals or monoclonal antibody therapy.
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering free telehealth services for Paxlovid, an oral antiviral that has been proven to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 significantly. For more information, visit their website.
- Gather outside and choose outdoor activities as often as possible.
- Open windows and doors to ensure good indoor ventilation.
Vaccine and booster trends*
- 78.3% of Boston residents are now fully vaccinated.
- 46.6% of Boston children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated.
- 11% of Boston children ages 6-months to 4-years old are fully vaccinated.
More information about COVID-19 vaccines and testing is available at boston.gov/covid19. Residents can also contact the Mayor’s Health Line for more information by calling 617-534-5050 or by going to boston.gov/bphc-mhl.
*NOTE: The Boston Public Health Commission has updated its methodologies for generating vaccination data and as a result, some categories now show higher or lower percentages than were previously reported. Please reach out to BPHC for more information about these changes.