Citing a 65% increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, the Boston Public Health Commission on Thursday recommended a new series of precautions for residents.
The commission is urging residents to get tested, stay at home if they feel sick, keep up to date on their vaccinations and recommending the wearing of masks indoors. The renewal of the mask recommendation includes public transportation, government buildings and crowded indoor venues.
“With COVID-19 cases rising, we are urging all Bostonians to take extra precautions to protect yourselves, your family, and our community. If you are feeling unwell, get tested at one of our free City sites or take a rapid test. It’s also important to stay up to date on your vaccinations,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “We are recommending that individuals protect themselves and others by masking indoors, particularly in crowded places. These precautions are how we protect the progress we’ve made in our community.”
Boston's warning comes just days after a federal judge overturned the CDC's recommendation that masks be worn on all forms of public transit, including trains, planes and ferries. That has led agencies like the MBTA and Massport to drop their mask mandates.
Increased testing is a major part of the new recommendations. Free, walk-in testing sites are available and open all around the site. to Find out where you can get a test, visit boston.gov/covid19-testing. At-home rapid testing kits are also available for purchase at locations across the city.
Right now, about 73% of Boston residents are fully vaccinated and 53% are fully vaccinated and boosted. Second boosters are also available for anyone 50 or older or anyone 12 and up with an underlying health condition that compromises their immune system. Free vaccine and booster clinics are open across the city, and can be found by visiting boston.gov/covid19-vaccine.
Health officials said the community positivity rate in Boston has climbed to 6.9% after being as low as 2.2% in early March. The amount of COVID particles in local wastewater samples has risen by over 100% over the past 14 days, suggesting that cases could go even higher.
Statewide, COVID cases are rising too.
On Wednesday the state reported 1,853 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the grand total since the pandemic began to 1,596,013. There were 24 new deaths reported, bringing the death toll to 19,085. The seven-day average positivity rate came in at 4.34% on Wednesday.
There are 373 patients currently hospitalized with the virus, of which 107 are primary cases. As of Wednesday's data, there are 29 patients in ICU and 10 patients intubated.