Featured Health & Environment

Boston Further Expands Testing; Antibody Testing Initiative Underway [COVID-19 Weekly Report]

There has been a 12% increase in cases this week among Boston residents, according to the most recent data. The number of positive COVID-19 cases for the week ending May 8th stand at 10,761 with 496 total deaths. There were 86 new deaths, representing about a 20% increase from last week.

The most recent report from the Boston Public Health Commission (which excludes data from May 8th) shows that the downtown neighborhoods of the North End, Downtown, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill reported a total of 328 positive cases of the coronavirus, which is a rate of 58.9 per 10,000 residents. In the previous weekly report, there were 299 positive cases. Within the city, the downtown neighborhoods, 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.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Friday afternoon that the City of Boston would be ramping up testing, with a goal of 1,500 new tests per day. The Mayor’s administration has also teamed up with Massachusetts General Hospital to implement a massive antibody testing initiative on 1,000 Boston residents. The program will test asymptomatic residents for the COVID-19 virus and for COVID-19 antibodies. The City hopes to expand this initiative, targeting specific populations such as first responders.

Mayor Walsh also announced that large events would be canceled until after Labor Day which includes the annual feasts in the North End. Other notable events that have been canceled are the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular that occurs every July 4th as well as all concerts, parades, and festivals. The Boston Marathon was rescheduled for September 14th, 2020.

The City continues to provide meal distribution sites across Boston for those in need. For those in the North End, West End, and Waterfront neighborhoods, the nearest sites can be found at the ABCD North End/West End Pantry located at 1 Michelangelo St. (open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm), the BCYF Nazzaro Center located at 30 N Bennet St. (open Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm), the ABCD West End Senior Center located at 151 Cambridge St. (open Tuesday from 4pm-5:30pm), and the City Hall To-Go located at 151 Cambridge St. (open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-10:30am).

As talk of ending the shutdown on May 18th continues, Governor Charlie Baker cautioned that it would occur in phases with only those businesses with the capacity to implement the appropriate health guidance being allowed to reopen. Massachusetts continues to increase their testing capacity, currently generating an average of approximately 10,000 tests per day. The state has also been one of the first to implement a Community Tracing Collaborative aimed at informing residents of their potential exposure to the virus through contact tracing.

Massachusetts currently has 75,333 positive coronavirus cases. There have been 366,023 total tests across the Commonwealth. Of the total number of tests performed, 21% have returned with a positive result. Hospitalizations have gone down to only 4% of all COVID-19 positive patients requiring hospitalization.

As of May 8th, the state has a total of 4,702 deaths with 986 new deaths this week. About 60% of all deaths are attributed to long-term care facilities with 2,837 reported.