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Officials Continue to Push the Importance of Face Coverings, Remaining Vigilant [COVID-19 Weekly Update]

There were nine new  COVID-19 cases this week in the Downtown, North End, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay neighborhoods, according to the Boston Public Health Commission’s weekly report through July 16th. The total number of cases for the downtown neighborhoods stands at 506, a rate of 90.8 per 10,000 residents. About 1.8% of all Emergency Department visits were for COVID-19-like-illness, down from 2.5% the prior week.

The City of Boston has 13,810 cases of COVID-19 with 137 new cases this week according to Boston’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard. There were only three new deaths in the City with the total number standing at 720 (two of the deaths reported on Friday, July 17th occurred in April).

Boston recently started offering free 90-day Bluebike passes to essential workers. The bike-sharing system launched the program in an attempt to support retail, restaurant, grocery store, and pharmacy workers by offering free public transportation to their essential jobs as the City continues its phased reopening.

Step 1 of Phase III in Boston began this week on Monday, bringing back many of the area’s museums and guided tours. However, officials continue to urge residents to wear their face masks and practice physical distancing. The Commonwealth remains among one of the few states making progress toward containing the coronavirus while the South and West continue seeing cases surge.

“This is no time to let down our guard,” stated Governor Charlie Baker during a press conference on Thursday, July 16th. “It’s very clear from the research and the data, that face coverings are the most important and significant way to stop the spread.”

State Representative Jon Santiago, along with Representative Mindy Domb and Senator Harriette Chandler, recently filed a bill aimed at controlling a potential second surge in the Commonwealth. Under the proposed legislature, the mandatory mask ordinance would be further enforced by a fine of up to $100 for those who refuse to comply.

The bill also seeks to require a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from states experiencing a high rate of infection. There would be a fine of up to $1000 for those who do not isolate upon arrival.

Massachusetts currently has 106,487 total confirmed positive cases and 6,392 presumptive cases according to the most recent dataThere were 1,769 new COVID-19 cases reported this week with 572 of those being probable cases. There have been 8,402 total deaths with 106 new deaths among confirmed and presumptive cases. Approximately 63% of all confirmed and presumptive coronavirus deaths are linked to residents of long-term care facilities.

The North End Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center recently retested their staff. One employee tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in quarantine. Visitation has been expanded to include five days a week, including weekends.