Jamaica Plain’s weekly COVID test rate increases

Omnicron variant shows up in Boston

     Jamaica Plain and the city’s weekly COVID positive test rate continues to rise post Thanksgiving and ahead of the Christmas Holiday. Adding to the bad news, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) announced this week that the Omnicor variant has been detected in Boston.

     A week after Mayor Michelle Wu announced several measures to help combat the explosive rise in cases in Boston, Jamaica Pain’s  weekly positive test rate approached 4 percent last week with the citywide weekly positive test rate near 7 percent. Last Monday, Wu said Boston health officials will distribute 20,000 free rapid antigen home tests,offer free masks to neighborhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19 and appointed a 17-member COVID advisory board to help with the latest outbreak.

     According to the weekly report released Monday by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), 2,264 Charlestown residents were tested and 3.6 percent were found to be positive–this was a 20 percent increase from the 3 percent that tested positive between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.

     The citywide weekly positive test rate also increased last week. According to the BPHC 28,854 residents were tested and 6.7 percent were COVID positive–this was a 29 percent increase from the 5.2  percent reported by the BPHC on December 6.

     This week the BPHC released a statement stating that they have identified the Omnicor vagrant in three Boston young adults over the age of 18.

     “None of these individuals were fully vaccinated,” read the statement. “All individuals experienced mild disease, and none required hospitalization. BPHC is monitoring this situation closely and continues to work with city and state partners to inform policies and prevention efforts.”

     The Omicron variant was declared a Variant of Concern (VOC) by the CDC on November 30, 2021. Available data suggest that the Omicron variant spreads more easily than other COVID variants. Scientists are also still working to determine if the Omicron variant is associated with higher rates of severe disease and death, as well as the efficacy of current COVID treatments against the Omicron variant.

     “As we learn more about the Omicron variant and continue to monitor the increasing rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the City of Boston with the current surge, BPHC asks all residents to take precautions to protect themselves and vulnerable members of our communities, help identify COVID-19 infections rapidly, and prevent additional spread,” the statement read.

     These precautions, said the BPHC, is for residents to get fully vaccinated and boosted; get tested if you are exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID infection, regardless of your vaccination status; get tested and isolate immediately if you are experiencing COVID symptoms, regardless of your vaccination status; and wear masks in indoor public settings in accordance with the City of Boston.

     Eighty-two additional Jamaica Plain residents became infected with COVID-19 last week and the number of total cases since the start of the pandemic increased to 3,998.

            Citywide positive cases of coronavirus increased 3.7 percent and went from 89,745 cases to 93,035 confirmed cases in a week. There were 11 additional deaths in Boston from the virus in the past week and the total COVID deaths is now at 1,483.

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