Boston COVID cases up slightly: Here’s what officials recommend you do

Cases of COVID-19 in Boston have surged 7% over the past week and 24% over the past two weeks as city health officials warn the virus is still spreading in communities, data shows which were released on Friday afternoon.

The executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu said the spikes in COVID-19 numbers over the past few weeks are a reminder that with fall and winter just around the corner, everyone should get vaccinated. The increase in cases does not include results from rapid at-home tests.

“Don’t wait until cases continue to rise or if you plan on spending more time indoors with family to keep up with your vaccines,” Bisola said in a statement. “As we head into the autumn there is a risk of serious illness, but we have the tools to protect ourselves – COVID vaccines, bivalent booster shots, flu shots and wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces. It is important to act now to be safe for fall and winter.”

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Commission data shows the city’s positivity rate as of September 19 is 7.5%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Suffolk County at moderate risk for virus transmission, and officials recommend wearing quality masks or a respirator if a person is at high risk of “getting very sick.”

“If you have domestic or social contact with someone who is at high risk of becoming very ill, you should consider self-testing to detect infection before contact and consider wearing a quality mask if you are indoors with them,” the CDC says.

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The Health Department reported 9,091 new COVID-19 cases, a 7.4 percent seven-day percent positive rate and 45 deaths, according to state data released Sept. 22. Another 194 patients were hospitalized “mainly” for COVID-19.

Boston health officials recommend COVID vaccines for people six months and older, booster doses for people five years and older, and second booster doses for people age 50 and older or for those with moderate to severe immunodeficiency.

Test for COVID-19 before and after attending large gatherings, commission says. Free at-home rapid antigen tests are no longer available from the federal government, but can be purchased from a local retailer. Boston also offers a number of free testing clinics.

According to the commission, over 78% of Boston residents are fully vaccinated. Another 46% of children aged 5 to 11 years are also fully vaccinated and 11% of children aged 6 months to 4 years were fully vaccinated.

“BPHC urges all eligible residents to receive the new Omicron-specific bivalent booster dose as soon as possible to augment and strengthen their protection against the COVID-19 virus,” the commission said in a statement. “Approved by the FDA on September 1, this booster increases immunity against the original COVID-19 strain as well as the newer Omicron variants.”

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