The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) shared the following updates on the city’s COVID-19 metrics:
COVID-19 particles in Boston’s wastewater decreased by 47% over the past 14 days and are now at an average of 1,014 RNA copies/mL (data as of Jan. 29).
Seven out of the 11 neighborhood’s tested are below the citywide average.
The XBB variant accounted for 83% of all viral particles sampled.
New COVID-19 cases per day increased by 1.4% over the past seven days, which is considered a stable trend, but have decreased by 16% over the past 14 days (data as of Feb. 5).
Boston hospitals had 179 new COVID-19 related hospital admissions through February 6. This trend decreased by 8% over the past seven days and by 15% over the past 14 days.
BPHC also announced it will continue to offer free COVID-19 vaccines at sites throughout the city at least through the end of 2023. The decision comes after the Biden administration announced its plans to end the national public health emergency for COVID-19 on May 11, which will end federal funding for state and local COVID-19 responses. Free vaccinations have been a major part of BPHC’s effort to control the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and remove barriers to care that led to major racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and mortality.
“Offering free COVID-19 vaccines has been an indispensable part of our pandemic response in Boston and will become even more important as the national public health emergency ends,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission and Commissioner of Public Health. “Equity-focused, public health polices like this are why we have been able to significantly reduce pandemic related racial and ethnic health disparities in Boston.”
New data from BPHC show the city has made substantial progress over the past two years in narrowing the racial inequities in COVID-19 mortality rates. At the outset of the pandemic, Black and Latinx residents in Boston saw higher case and mortality rates due to COVID-19. In 2020, Black residents had an age-adjusted mortality rate of 171.2 per 100,000 residents, the highest among any ethnicity. Latinx residents had the second highest annual mortality rate in 2020 of 141 per 100,000 residents. These rates have decreased by more than 60% for both in 2022. COVID-19 mortality rates among Black individuals in Boston are now down to 58.9 per 100,000 residents and 53.6 per 100,000 for Latinx residents. Though inequities have narrowed, age-adjusted mortality rates are still significantly higher among Black and Latinx Bostonians than white Bostonians (22% and 12% higher, respectively) due to COVID-19.
Much more work remains to close these gaps and ensure greater health equity in Boston, namely increasing COVID-19 vaccination and booster uptake, which remains the most effective to prevent severe COVID-19 infection that can result in hospitalization and death.
Suffolk County remains at medium risk for community transmission according to the CDC. As such, BPHC reminds residents to take proper precautions to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.
Test for COVID-19 before and after gathering indoors.
Contact a health care provider about treatment options if you test positive.
Stay home if you’re sick.
Wear a mask indoors and on public transportation.
Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.
If you have not received a COVID-19 booster since September 2022, you are due to receive the bivalent, omicron-specific booster.
Get your annual flu vaccination.
Wash hands and disinfect shared surfaces regularly.