As Boston tries to get a handle on the city’s COVID-19 spike the positive test rate in Jamaica Plain remains above 5 percent according to the latest data released by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).
Last week the BPHC reported that of the 21,182 Jamaica Plain residents tested for COVID 5.7 percent were found to be positive–an increase of 3.6 percent from the 5.5 percent reported at the end of last month. The citywide average is 7.2 percent of those tested–a 7 percent reduction over the course of last week two weeks. .
According to the BPHC data, Jamaica Plain’s infection rate also increased.
Jamaica Plain went from 227.8 cases per 10,000 residents to 250.3 cases per 10,000 residents–or a 9.8 percent increase.
However, Jamaica Plain remains several points under the citywide infection rate average which is now at 296.8. cases per 10,000 residents.
Ninety-one more Jamaica Plain residents became infected with COVID-19 in the past two weeks and the number of total cases here went from 920 cases two weeks ago to 1,011 cases last week.
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 last week were set at 21,395 cases and deaths from the virus were totaled at 874. This seems like a huge jump from last week’s numbers but the BPHC explained the numbers posted Tuesday, “include a one-time increase that is part of an ongoing effort to ensure data accuracy in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The additional cases are no longer active and were contacted appropriately when the individual tested positive. The additional deaths are spread out over the last 3 to 6 months.”
In response to the spikes here and across the city, Mayor Martin Walsh is urging everyone to get tested in order to stop the spread.
The philosophy of Walsh’s administration is now, ‘the more people who know they have COVID, the more we can isolate the sick from the healthy’.
In order to ensure more people get tested Walsh said Tuesday the city has continued to add free testing resources, especially in neighborhoods with higher case rates.
A complete list of testing sites in the city can be found at, www.boston.gov/departments/public-health-commission/covid-19-testing-sites.
“As we see an increase in COVID-19 activity, it is vital that we continue to ensure access to testing, especially in neighborhoods and communities where there’s a greater positivity rate. And, in addition to the City of Boston providing availability,” said Walsh. “I need every Bostonian to get tested, even if they aren’t showing symptoms, so individuals can protect their health and the City can be guided by accurate public health data.”
The Mayor said at the nearby Roxbury mobile site in Nubian Square, there were 841 COVID-19 tests given.
The Mayor noted that the City has passed the 20,000 case mark, or 2.9 percent of Boston’s population, a clear indicator of the reach of the virus and the work needed to prevent further spread.
Last week Walsh unveiled the city’s “Get the Test, Boston” pledge, campaign, and social media toolkit. The new initiative to encourage everyone to get tested regularly for COVID-19.
He discussed the importance of getting tested as part of keeping yourself and your family safe, and helping the City track the presence of the virus and respond effectively.
“The City is currently investing in more testing resources, more contact tracing capacity, and more ability to support people who need to quarantine,” said Walsh. “But, despite increased access, we’ve seen our daily testing numbers fall off in recent weeks.”
The Mayor said we need to get more people tested, and asked for everyone’s help.
“Reasons to get tested immediately include having COVID-like symptoms, having been exposed to someone with a confirmed case, having been part of a large gathering, or having recently traveled,” he said. “In addition the virus is spreading among people who don’t have symptoms who may not know they’ve been exposed. So we want everyone to be proactive and get tested if you are leaving your house for any reason.”
The Mayor said that he gets tested regularly and that it’s a quick and painless experience. He also called it an opportunity to arm yourself with knowledge and be part of our community’s defense against this virus.
“We will soon have stickers available at our mobile testing sites that say “I got the test” to help raise awareness and show there is no stigma to getting tested,” he said. “We also have a social media toolkit available and we’re asking everyone to promote the importance of getting tested throughout their networks.”
The Mayor recognized that work hours can make it harder to find time to get tested, so he is asking employers to make it easier for workers to get tested.
“The “Get the Test, Boston” Pledge is a commitment that employers and individuals can make to support testing access,” said Walsh. “It keeps your workforce healthy and productive, it prevents an outbreak that could hurt business, and it’s a way to help our city avoid having to roll back reopening. The City of Boston is taking the Pledge and offering eligible City employees one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during work hours. Employees will receive regular compensation for their time spent testing, and will not be required to use sick or personal time for that hour.”
Other employers can fulfill the Pledge in ways that work for them and their industry.
“All you have to do is encourage your employees to get tested and provide them with information about how and where to get tested,” said Walsh. “You can also consider giving paid time off, or other forms of flexibility, for workers to get tested during work hours.”