Last week Beacon Hill’s cumulative COVID-19 positive test rate and the weekly positive test rate both remained the same while the rest of the city has begun increasing.
According to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) last Friday, overall since the pandemic started 47,686 Beacon Hill, Back Bay, North End, West End and Downtown residents have been tested for COVID-19 and the data shows that 6.4 percent of those tested were COVID positive. This was the same percentage reported by the BPHC two weeks ago.
Last week, 2,533 residents were tested and 2.9 percent were positive–this was also the same percentage reported by the BPHC two Fridays ago.
However, positive test rates were also on the rise citywide. According to the BPHC 25,845 residents were tested and 4.2 percent were COVID positive–this was a 16.6 percent increase from the 3.6 percent positive test rate reported by the BPHC two weeks ago.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Office of Health and Human Services announced the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative last week that will target communities hit hard by the pandemic like Eastie.
Janey said the program provides funding to non-profit organizations working to increase vaccine access and awareness for communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant applications will open Wednesday, March 31, 2021 and the deadline to apply is April 9, 2021. With a total of $1.5 million in available funding, grant awards will range from $100,000 to $250,000 to be used by organizations over four months.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve known that certain neighborhoods and communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Janey. “Creating this grant initiative will fund organizations closest to the individuals most affected, helping the City respond on a local, community-based level. I look forward to working with the grantees to further our efforts in vaccinating our more vulnerable communities.”
Applicants will develop strategies to target equitable vaccine access in specific ethnic communities, Boston neighborhoods, and other groups experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 positivity. Applications should also target outreach for communities facing barriers in obtaining the vaccine. These include Black/African American, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and immigrant communities; persons with disabilities; individuals over the age of 65; and the neighborhoods of East Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale and Chinatown, where positivity rates have consistently been higher and vaccination rates have been lower than the citywide average.
“In Boston, we are committed to continuing to prioritize local access and equitable planning when developing strategies to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to all of our residents,” said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. “The grant program will build on our community partnerships and help ensure every Bostonian who is eligible has the necessary support needed to get vaccinated.”
The BPHC data released last Friday showed Beacon Hill, Back Bay, North End, West End and Downtown had an infection rate of 548.4 cases per 10,000 residents, up 2.4 percent from 535.5 cases per 10,000 residents reported two weeks ago.
An additional 72 residents became infected with the virus last week and the total number of cases in the area increased from 2,984 cases to 3,056 cases as of last Friday.
The statistics released by the BPHC as part of its weekly COVID19 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 positive cases of coronavirus increased 2.9 percent percent last week and went from 62,170 cases to 63,993 confirmed cases in a week. Fourteen additional Boston residents died from the virus last week and there are now 1,341 total deaths in the city from COVID.