With the number of those infected with the COVID-19 virus has increased in some neighborhoods places like the North End seem relatively stable.
According to Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) data the infection rate in the North End, West End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay and Downtown remains low.
In BPHC data released last Friday North End, West End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay and Downtown had an infection rate of 62.3 cases per 10,000 residents up slightly from 53.7 cases per 10,000 residents a week ago. The number of confirmed cases increased from 299 to 347.
When compared to other neighborhoods the North End, West End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay and Downtown has the second lowest infection rates among residents second to only Fenway.
The stats released by the BPHC as part of its weekly COVID-19 report breaks down the number of cases and infection rates in each neighborhood. It also breaks down the number of cases by age, gender and race.
Citywide there are currently 12,050 positive cases of coronavirus–confirmed and presumptive as of Wednesday. So far, 5,121 of these 12,050 residents have fully recovered. There have been 588 COVID-19 related deaths among Boston residents, up from 442 a week ago.
At the mayor’s daily press briefing on Tuesday, Mayor Martin Walsh said the city continues to build a citywide strategy for increased testing, which includes an effort that starts next week to test all first responders.
“Overall, the data tells us that we have been moving in the right direction on new cases, positive test rates, and hospitalization for about 3 weeks,” said Walsh.
He also said every data trend gives a reason for caution, in terms of how gradual the city’s progress is, how necessary precautions have been, and how much potential there is for new outbreaks if residents don’t keep doing the right things.
On Monday, May 18, Governor Charlie Baker launched Phase 1 of a statewide reopening plan.
Walsh stressed that reopening does not mean “back to normal”—it means bringing caution and a commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 into workplaces and community spaces.
“Boston will continue to meet the needs of families, seniors, and small businesses, as well as continue to follow the science and public health guidance, while monitoring the data at the city and state levels,” he said.
The Public Health Emergency declared on March 15 in the City of Boston remains in place until further notice. The same applies to the guidelines for physical distancing and face coverings, as well as the citywide recommended curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
At the press conference the Mayor noted that Boston is one of the most densely populated cities in the country, which is home to a very diverse population, and doubles in size as a regional workforce enters its workplaces every weekday. Special precautions unique to Boston will need to be taken into account.
“The City will continue to focus on equity and meeting the needs of vulnerable communities, families with children, seniors, and small businesses,” said Walsh.
The biggest question on most businesses owners’ minds is how Boston will start to reopen the North End’s small businesses that are tourist hotspots during the summer months.
Reopening small businesses:
Under the statewide plan retail stores are allowed to open for curbside pickup on May 25, as well as some services, including hair care and car washes.
“Boston’s approach is the City is ready to help small businesses create plans that not only meet state guidelines, but go beyond them,” said Walsh. “However, we are also urging caution. The Boston Transportation Department has helped facilitate safe curbside pickup for essential businesses, and will expand that work as needed. The City is also developing creative public space solutions for pedestrians in business districts.”
If businesses don’t feel comfortable opening the Mayor said the City will back them in that decision and continue to make services and resources available to them.
“The City will provide more information in the days and weeks ahead to help employers and community organizations stay safe and connected,” said Walsh. “Small business owners can reach out to our Office of Small Business.”