JP’s weekly COVID test rate increases nearly 40 percent

The COVID 19 virus continues to spread across Jamaica Plain with 2 out of every 10 residents tested for the virus last week turning out to be positive. Deaths from the virus are also rising at an alarming rate citywide as Boston hospitals deal with the latest surge

According to the weekly report released Monday by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), 3,491 Jamaica residents were tested and 19.1 percent were found to be positive–this was a 20 percent increase from the 38 percent that tested positive between December 27 and January 3.  

Six hundred sixty seven 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 6,148.

The citywide weekly positive test rate also increased over 30 percent last week. According to the BPHC 42,254 residents were tested and 31.9 percent were COVID positive–this was a 75 percent increase from the 18.2 percent that reportedly tested positive for the week ending on January 3. The weekly positive test rate has increased 239 percent in Boston since December 27. 

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 27 percent last week and went from 108,336 138,042 cases to confirmed cases in a week. There were 40 additional deaths in Boston from the virus in the past week and the total COVID deaths is now at 1,550. Deaths were up 471 percent last week when compared to the 7 deaths that occured in the city between December 27 and January 3. 

With COVID infections spreading like wildfire Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a new initiative to require vaccination in certain indoor spaces in the city, including indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment establishments. The new “B Together” initiative will begin January 15 and will phase in second vaccine doses and youth vaccination requirements. Both patrons and employees of indoor venues will be required to show proof of vaccination and the indoor mask mandate remains in effect. 

“Vaccines are the most powerful tool we have to fight this pandemic. Vaccination saves lives, and closing vaccination gaps is the best way to support and protect our communities, businesses, and cultural institutions during this pandemic,” said Mayor Wu at a City Hall press conference Monday. “The vast majority of COVID-related hospitalizations are of unvaccinated individuals, which is impacting our entire healthcare system and compromising the health of our communities. Today’s steps to protect community members in certain indoor establishments and throughout our city workforce will help ensure that everyone in Boston will be safe. City government must take down barriers and direct our resources for easy access to testing and vaccination to protect our city and all of our communities.”

Starting Saturday, January 15, 2022, patrons of covered businesses will be required to show proof of vaccination upon entering the premises. The order states that individuals can demonstrate vaccination by showing their CDC vaccination card or a photo of their card, any official immunization record or digital image from a pharmacy or health care provider, or on any COVID-19 vaccine verification app. The city also announced plans to create its own app, modeled on the successful Key to NYC app that has supported the vaccine requirement effort in New York City. 

“COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Boston. The B Together initiative is just one component of a multilayered, comprehensive strategy that the city has implemented to address COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Boston residents,” said Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission Dr. Bisola Ojikutu. “We must also ensure that every Bostonian has easier access to vaccines and boosters, and we will be rolling out new sites across the city.”

Businesses included will also be required to post a notice at all entrances. The city will begin a weeks-long campaign to educate residents and businesses about the new policy, utilizing city outreach workers and inspectional services. Businesses found not in compliance will receive verbal and written warnings. Repeat offenders may be subject to fines. 

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