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May 12
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 May 12, 2021): (Updated Monday-Friday)

  • 70,079 confirmed cases 

  • 67,638 recovered

  • 1,375 deaths


Boston Race/Ethnicity Case Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Known Cases

Percentage of Known Cases

Asian/PI

3,908

6%

Black/African-American

15,559

24%

Latinx/Hispanic

19,028

30%

Other

4,023

6%

White

21,579

34%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Cases in Boston

64,097

91.5% of total cases in Boston have known Race/Ethnicity data

Total Cases in Boston 

70,079

 


Boston Race/Ethnicity Death Data: 

(Updated Monday-Friday)

Race/Ethnicity

Deaths

Percentage of Known Deaths

Asian/PI

108

8%

Black/African-American

448

33%

Latinx/Hispanic

180

13%

Other

46

3%

White

591

43%

Total Race/Ethnicity Identified Deaths in Boston

1,373

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

Total Deaths in Boston

1,375

 


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: 05-10-2021

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 05-15-2021.

Click HERE for the Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report: 05-10-2021
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 05-17-2021.

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 May 8, 2021). The next update will be 05-15-2021.

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

OF TESTED, CUMULATIVE % POSITIVE​

TESTING RATE PER 100,000 RESIDENTS​

East Boston - 02128

40,764

18.9%

86,866.8

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

55,084

17.8%

68,105.8

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

50,143

17.1%

78,010.8

Hyde Park - 02136

26,150

16.7%

76,410.6

Mattapan - 02126

18,129

​15.7%

61,265.2

Roslindale - 02131

24,738

14.0%

73,252.2

South Boston - 02127, 02210

36,796

13.1%

91,774.3

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

45,153

12.0%

104,697.8

West Roxbury - 02132

20,524

11.4%

72,046.9

Charlestown - 02129  

15,217

9.2%

78,381.6

South End - 02111, 02118 

38,493

9.0%

107,654.7

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135 

63,544

8.1%​

95,432.9

Jamaica Plain - 02130

36,944

7.9%​

91,497.6

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

51,366

6.9%​

92,181.0

Fenway - 02115, 02215

82,573

4.0%​

150,881.6

Boston

634,257

11.1%

93,353.7

*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. (May 2 - May 8). The next update will be 05-15-21.

NEIGHBORHOOD

​NUMBER TESTED

POSITIVE 
TESTS

% POSITIVE

Mattapan - 02126

870

36

4.1%

Dorchester - 02121, 02125

1,739

65

3.7%

Dorchester - 02122, 02124

2,229

75

3.4%

Roxbury - 02119, 02120

1,184

38

3.2%

East Boston - 02128

1,455

41

2.8%

South Boston - 02127, 02210

1,140

30

2.6%

Roslindale - 02131

929

23

2.5%

South End - 02111, 02118

1,126

24

2.1%

Hyde Park - 02136

1,102

21

1.9%

West Roxbury - 02132


868

16

1.8%

Allston/Brighton - 02163, 02134, 02135

1,614

27

1.7%

Jamaica Plain - 02130

1,475

20

1.4%

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

1,624

14

0.9%

Charlestown - 02129

468

0

0.0%

Fenway - 02115, 02215

787

N<5

N/A

Boston

19,123

446

2.3%

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


Click here for the BPHC 05-06-2021 Weekly COVID-19 Report

Number of deaths at long-term care facilities: 512 (Updated weekly: 05-10-2021)

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

May 11
Mayor Janey Announces Expansion Of In-Person Critical City Services

​Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey today announced the upcoming expansion of in-person city services at Boston City Hall, the Boston Public Library system (BPL), and the Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF). These services will expand access to in-person city services and programming and opportunities for Boston families ahead of summer, as public health metrics continue to improve.

“As the City prepares for summer and our continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we bring more city services back in person, especially as our public health metrics improve,” said Mayor Janey. “I want to thank all of our city departments that pivoted at the beginning of the pandemic to continue to deliver critical services to residents safely. I’m excited to welcome back more residents to City Hall and for the joy that reopening our libraries and city-sponsored summer programming will bring.”

As of May 4, 2021, 44.3 percent of Bostonians are fully vaccinated, and 64.5 percent have received at least one dose. The citywide community positivity rate continues to decrease, dropping to 2.4 percent, with no neighborhoods above the 5.0 percent threshold. New positive tests in the City of Boston decreased by 28 percent over the past week, averaging 80.1 new positive tests per day. The total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in Boston remained stable at 2,960 tests, a decrease of 1% in the past week. COVID-related emergency room visits decreased by 6 percent over a two week period, and the percentage of occupied non-surgical ICU beds is 91 percent, under the threshold of 95 percent. We currently have 75 COVID-19 patients in Boston hospitals. That is one of the lowest numbers recorded since the start of the pandemic. 

The Boston Public Health Commission closely tracks six core metrics to monitor the progress of the City’s response, to guide decision making and to shape our response moving forward. The metrics being monitored include trends related to the number of positive tests, overall positivity and how COVID-19 is impacting our healthcare system. 

Due to continuing improvement in the City’s COVID-19 metrics, the following service changes will take effect in the coming weeks:

Boston City Hall

Starting Monday, June 7, 2021, Boston City Hall will be open to the public by appointment only for a fourth day each week. In addition to Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, residents will be able to make in-person appointments on Monday as well. For the latest status of City departments, visit here.

Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library will reopen for limited in-person services in June. With these expanded services, BPL will prioritize bringing back critical services that help residents with economic and educational recovery, and will be scheduling robust summer programming for both adults and youth. All reopening plans will follow the latest public health guidance, and BPL will provide further information in the coming weeks. 

Boston Center for Youth & Families (BCYF)

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) will increase its youth programming to align with Phase Four, Step One of the Reopening Massachusetts plan. This will allow for the expansion of programming for children and youth, including arts and crafts, fitness classes, and game nights. Additionally, BCYF will offer summer day programs at several centers this summer, including Camp Joy, which provides programming for children and young adults with special needs. BCYF will provide further updates about their summer programming in the coming weeks, all in accordance with public health guidance. For more information, visit boston.gov/BCYF.

“Boston’s long fight against COVID-19 is starting to bring the end of this pandemic into view,” said Mayor Janey. “I’ve asked my chiefs of Health and Human Services and Economic Development to take a look at accelerating Boston’s reopening timeline, in light of improving public health metrics across all of Boston’s communities.”

The City of Boston will continue to monitor public health metrics and adjust services and openings based on the latest COVID-19 data and trends. For more information on reopening, visit boston.gov/reopening

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Apr 27
Mayor Janey Announces Updates To City Of Boston’s Reopening Guidance

​Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - Mayor Janey today announced that the City of Boston will move into a modified version of the state’s current phase of the Reopening Massachusetts plan, effective Friday, April 30. The City of Boston will delay most of the state’s reopening guidance announced today by three weeks, in an effort to accommodate the unique preparations needed by the City. In late March, the City announced that it would not move forward with additional reopening steps until the citywide positivity rate remained at or below 2.75 percent for two consecutive weeks. It is currently at 3.6 percent. However, given improved trends in the positivity rate and other COVID-19 public health metrics, the City will move cautiously to advance reopening efforts. The latest modified update will support Boston’s economic recovery as COVID-19 health metrics continue to improve. All reopening guidance will be subject to current COVID-19 public health data.

 As of April 20, 2021, 33.1 percent of Bostonians are fully vaccinated; 55.1 percent have received at least one dose. The citywide community positivity rate continues to decrease, dropping to 3.6 percent, with three neighborhoods slightly above the 5.0 percent threshold (East Boston, Dorchester and Roslindale). New positive tests in the City of Boston decreased by 34 percent over the past week, averaging 144 new positive tests per day. The percentage of available adult ICU beds remains stable, and the percentage of non-surge ICU beds continues to be below the City’s threshold. Boston has had two reported deaths in the past week. 

“In every aspect of Boston's reopening, we will take the right measures, at the right time, to protect our people and businesses,” said Mayor Janey. “As we look ahead to better days, we must remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Reopening our economy does not remove our personal and collective responsibility to remain vigilant. Thank you to all Bostonians for your continued efforts and cooperation as we reopen our city.”

Effective Friday, April 30, the City of Boston will align with Commonwealth’s updated Face Coverings Order. This states that face coverings will be required at all times at indoor and outdoor venues and events, except when eating or drinking. Face coverings are recommended to be worn both inside and outside during small gatherings at private homes. Face coverings are not required outside in public spaces when individuals are able to remain at a safe distance from others.

Also effective April 30, public gatherings in Boston may increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors, in alignment with the Commonwealth's previously announced limits. In Boston, all private gatherings and events in private residences will remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. However, public and private gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors on June 19 in Boston, three weeks after the higher limits go into effect in other parts of the Commonwealth. The City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission will continue to closely monitor public health data and adjust reopening plans as necessary.

The City of Boston will align with the Commonwealth’s updated guidance for indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks, allowing capacity to increase to 25 percent, effective May 10.

The City of Boston plans to allow the following industries to reopen or resume June 1, subject to certain capacity limits and safety measures, three weeks after the Commonwealth will allow for their reopening in other parts of the state:

  • Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events

  • Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments for moderate and high-risk sports

  • Singing indoors at performance venues, restaurants, event venues and other businesses, subject to the Commonwealth's Theater and Performance Venue guidance

The City of Boston plans to allow the following industries to reopen or resume starting June 19, subject to certain capacity limits and safety measures, three weeks after the Commonwealth will allow for their reopening in other parts of the state:

  • Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals, at 50 percent capacity

  • Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries for seated-service only, subject to a 90-minute table limit, and no dance floors.

  • Food will no longer be required with alcohol service, and 10 people can be seated at a table.

If public health metrics support continued safe reopening in Boston, effective August 22, industry restrictions will be lifted, and 100 percent capacity will be allowed for all industries. This would be three weeks after the Commonwealth takes this step in other parts of the state. Remaining Phase Four, Step Two industries and businesses, including dance clubs and nightclubs; saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, and health clubs; and ball pits, would be allowed to reopen on August 22 in Boston. All businesses will be expected to adhere to ongoing safety guidance, and mask wearing will continue to be required indoors.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (OED) will also hold two upcoming webinars about updated reopening guidance on Friday, April 30th at 2:00 p.m. and Wednesday, May 5th at 8:30 a.m. OED also hosts weekly small business calls every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.and Reopen Boston Business Office Hours every Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. These meetings ensure business owners, customers, and workers have access to all of the guidance and details necessary to return safely, as Boston reopens. For more information, please visit boston.gov/smallbusiness.

All of this guidance is subject change based on evolving COVID-19 public health metrics. For more information about reopening in Boston, visit boston.gov/reopening. For more information about the state’s reopening plan, visit mass.gov/reopening.

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Apr 23
Mayor Janey Announces Awardees Of Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative

​Thursday, April 22, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Office of Health and Human Services today announced the awardees of the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative, which was launched in March to ensure equitable availability to the COVID-19 vaccine. A total of $1.5 million has been distributed to 11 organizations working to increase vaccine access and awareness in communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As we continue to recover from COVID-19, it’s critical that we are intentional about our efforts to support Bostonians disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Mayor Janey. “I am proud to award this funding to community-based organizations committed to expanding access to and awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine. Thank you for your partnership in helping our most vulnerable communities.”

Applicants were charged with developing strategies to enhance and ensure equitable vaccine access for specific communities, neighborhoods and groups experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 positivity or to target outreach for communities facing barriers in obtaining the vaccine. These include Black/African American, Latinx, Asian, Indigenious, 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 April 13, 2021, 168,145 individuals who are 16 years of age or older have been fully vaccinated in the City of Boston. 47 percent of fully vaccinated Bostonians are people of color. 16,498 Asian/Pacific Islander residents are fully vaccinated; 31,243 Black residents are fully vaccinated; 19,073 Latinx residents are fully vaccinated; and 214 American Indian/Alaskan Native residents are fully vaccinated. In comparison, 81,844 White residents are fully vaccinated. For more information on vaccination rates, visit here.

Grantees awarded have created strategies to engage the community in four ways. 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.

The grantees of the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative are: 



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 4.0 percent for the week of April 9-15, 2021, with the neighborhoods of East Boston, Dorchester, South Boston, and Roslindale 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

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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.

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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.


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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

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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 

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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

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