BPHC Urges Vaccines and Boosters, Testing, and Masking Amid High Concentrations in Wastewater
BOSTON – October 7, 2022 – The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today provided the following updates on the latest COVID-19 trends for the City of Boston as of October 6, 2022:
- The concentration of virus in local wastewater has increased by 3.1% over the past seven days, and by 99.9% over the past 14 days (data as of October 3).
- There are now 874 RNA copies of COVID-19 per mL in the wastewater.
- New COVID-19 cases in Boston have decreased by 0.5% over the past seven days and increased by 1.1% over the past 14 days (Data as of October 3).
- These data do not include at-home testing results.
- Boston hospitals had 170 new COVID-19 related hospital admissions this week (data as of October 6).
- This rate was stable over the past 7 days increasing by 0.3%, but represents a 13.7% increase over the past 14 days.
- Suffolk county remains at medium community risk for transmission, according to the CDC.
“The elevated concentration of COVID-19 in our wastewater is very concerning.” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Combined with flu season, increases in COVID-19 related hospitalizations will cause major strain on Boston’s health care system. It’s important we get ahead of this by getting boosted, obtaining a flu shot, wearing masks indoors, testing for COVID, and isolating if positive to help reduce transmission.”
BPHC alerted residents about the elevated levels on September 30 and encouraged proper COVID-19 safety measures. BPHC continues to closely monitor all metrics and is working with Boston’s hospitals and provider networks to ensure they are prepared for such a scenario. Improving uptake of the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters, which provide the broadest protection and immunity against the original COVID-19 strain and the omicron variant, is critical to this goal. BPHC reminds residents that staying up to date on vaccinations by getting boosted is the most effective way to reduce the risk of severe infection that can result in hospitalization.
As part of its prevention efforts, BPHC administered 783 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during a free vaccination clinic at White Stadium in Franklin Park this past Saturday. These large-scale vaccination clinics have proved highly successful at increasing vaccine uptake and equity. A total of 1,450 COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses were administered during the events on September 17 and October 1. Of those doses, 42%, or 609 doses, were administered to children and teens under the age of 18. BPHC will continue to provide residents with opportunities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by bringing care directly to their communities.
Based on the latest data, BPHC recommends the following strategies to prevent COVID-19 transmission:
- Test for COVID-19 before and after attending large gatherings, especially if you know you will be around high-risk individuals, such as seniors, those who are immunocompromised, and those who are unvaccinated.
- Wear masks indoors, especially in crowded indoor settings like public transportation.
- Stay home and isolate if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19. If you test positive, be sure to contact a health care provider about oral antivirals or monoclonal antibody therapy.
o The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering free telehealth services for Paxlovid, an oral antiviral that has been proven to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 significantly. For more information, visit their website.
o COVID-19 vaccines are now recommended for everyone ages 6-months and up.
o Booster doses are available for everyone ages 5 and older.
o Second boosters are recommended for individuals ages 50 and older, as well as those who are 12 or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised.
- Gather outside and choose outdoor activities as often as possible.
o Open windows and doors to ensure good indoor ventilation.
Vaccine and booster trends:
- 78.7% of Boston residents are now fully vaccinated.
- 47.0% of Boston children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated.
- 12.3% of Boston children ages 6-months to 4-years old are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are free and widely available throughout Boston. For more information, or to find a vaccination clinic in your community, please visit boston.gov/COVID19-vaccine.
Johanna Kaiser (she/her)
Boston Public Health Commission