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47% COVID-19 Patients Have Recovered; Construction and Some Sectors Reopen [COVID-19 Weekly Update]

Nearly half, 47%, of COVID-19 patients have recovered in the City of Boston. Boston’s total reported number of cases stands at 12,306. According to the most recent data, there were 779 newly reported positive cases citywide, a 7% increase from last week.

The North End, Downtown, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill have had a total of 434 positive cases of the coronavirus, a rate of 77.9 per 10,000 residents, in the most recent report from the Boston Public Health Commission. Within the city, the downtown neighborhoods, Allston/Brighton, Charlestown, Fenway, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, and West Roxbury have relatively lower incidence rates while Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale, Roxbury, and the South End have higher incidence rates.

Boston’s Emergency Departments (ED) reported that 4.5% of all ED visits were for COVID-19-like illness (CLI). This is down from 5.2% the prior week.

Boston experienced a 27% decrease in COVID-19 related deaths this week with 45 new deaths reported. There has been a total 603 deaths in the City. There were no new deaths statewide on May 18th.

While Massachusetts began its phased reopening, the City of Boston has delayed allowing some sectors to reopen while officials work on proper guidelines to distribute to employers for a safe return to work. Houses of worship are allowed to reopen as long as strict guidelines can be enforced. This week, construction on schools, hospitals, smaller residential projects, and open-air projects was allowed to restart. On May 26th, other construction approved by the City will be allowed to resume.

Office spaces will be allowed to reopen on June 1st at a capacity that will later be determined by Mayor Marty Walsh. Employers must implement a strategy outlined by the City in their workplaces to minimize the spread of the virus which includes shift scheduling, work-from-home policies, physical spacing, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, ventilation, and more. The City expects to share a comprehensive guideline by next week.

“We have to get it right,” said Mayor Walsh during a press conference on May 19th in regards to reopening. He expressed concern over the various longtime Boston businesses who have permanently closed and stated that the City cannot afford a second shutdown.

The City continues to work with small business owners and has launched a website to connect small businesses with vendors to acquire PPE for their employees. A survey about how the coronavirus has impacted your business can be filled out here.

Mayor Walsh stated in a press conference on May 21st that officials were considering offering the Boston Parklets Program again which was first introduced in 2016. This would allow businesses to set up tables in parking spaces to serve customers. Other possible solutions have included closing lanes dedicated for parking for businesses to utilize. Mayor Walsh disclosed that the likelihood of closing entire streets in Boston was slim, using Hanover Street as an example because of the fire station that would require access to open streets.

Massachusetts currently has 90,889 positive cases. There have been 511,644 tests conducted across the Commonwealth with about 17% of those cases resulting in a positive case. Hospitalizations have declined slightly with approximately 2.5% of all COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.

The state has reported a total of 6,228 deaths with 636 new deaths this week. About 61% of all deaths are attributed to long-term care facilities with 3,807 reported. There has been a 50% decrease in the average of COVID-19 deaths over a three day period since April 15th.

Last week, the North End Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center had three COVID-19 positive cases. Two of those patients have since recovered. The facility was recently audited by the state and scored a 28/28 for infection control.

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