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CDC Elevates Suffolk County to High COVID-19 Risk

BPHC Urges Residents to Take Precautions 

BOSTON – January 6, 2023—The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is urging residents to take COVID-19 precautions after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated Suffolk County’ COVID Community Risk Level from medium to high. 

The CDC’s announcement comes as Boston continues to see concerning levels of COVID-19 across many of its key indicators. As of December 29, the viral concentration in local wastewater samples is 1,947 copies per mL, representing a 42% increase over the past seven days and a 116% increase over the past 14 days. BPHC’s COVID-19 testing sites are reporting 18 new COVID-19 cases per day, marking a 22% increase over the past seven days (data as of January 2). Through January 4, Boston’s hospitals reported 306 new COVID-19 related hospitalizations. While that trend is stable through the past seven days, it is a 41% increase over the past 14 days.  

“Based on the trends, it is imperative that we all protect ourselves and others. I understand there’s a very high level of pandemic fatigue, but the numbers speak for themselves,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “We should all be masking indoors, staying home when sick, and testing for COVID-19. In addition, getting boosted is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness and hospitalization.”  

With Boston’s hospitals already under increased strain due to the confluence of COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections including influenza, BPHC is urging residents to protect themselves and others by adhering to the following strategies: 

  • Get your omicron-specific bivalent booster as soon as possible. If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccination, begin the series immediately.    
  • BPHC strongly recommends everybody ages 6-months and older be fully vaccinated and receive the omicron-specific bivalent booster for the broadest level of protection from COVID-19 and its variants.   
  • Wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask indoors and on public transportation.  
  • Test for COVID-19 before and after attending indoor gatherings.  
  • Stay home if you’re sick or test positive for COVID-19. 
  • Get your annual flu shot 
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and warm water and routinely disinfect high-touch surfaces.  
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.  

The omicron-specific bivalent boosters recently became available for everyone ages 6-months and older. Only 13.7% of Boston residents have received this booster, meaning many are vulnerable for infection and severe illness. If you or your family did not get any COVID-19 vaccinations this fall, you are likely missing the updated protection that is essential for maintaining a strong immune response to the COVID-19 virus.  

  • Bivalent boosters for individuals ages 12 and older were approved in September 2022, for children aged 5-11 in October 2022, and for children 6 months to 4 years old, they became available in late December 2022. 

BPHC has set up several standing sites throughout Boston where residents can get COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, flu shots, and PCR testing for COVID-19. At-home rapid testing kits are also available at these locations while supplies last. As part of the state’s Vaccine Equity Initiative, BPHC is offering $75 gift cards to those who get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster while supplies last. All services are free and available for anyone ages 6-months and older. No appointments, IDs, or proof of insurance are needed.  

BCYF Hyde Park, 1179 River St., Hyde Park   

  • Open Tuesdays 12-8 pm and Thursdays 7 am-3 pm.   

Lena Park Community Development Corporation, 150 American Legion Hwy., Dorchester 

  • Open Sundays 10 am-2 pm; Mondays 9:30 am-5:30 pm; Wednesdays 12-7 pm; and Fridays 9:30 am-5:30 pm. 

Josephine Fiorentino Community Center, 123 Antwerp St, Allston 

  • Open Sundays 12-4pm; Mondays-Wednesdays 9am-3pm; and Thursdays 5-9pm.    

Bruce C. Bolling Building, 2302 Washington St., Roxbury 

  • Open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 12-8pm.   

Boston City Hall, Haymarket Room 240 (2nd floor), 1 City Hall Square  

  • Open Mondays 7am-1pm and Wednesdays 12-5:00pm.  

For more information about COVID-19 resources in Boston, visit  


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