LAST UPDATED MAY 19, 2020

John Romano, Wharf District neighborhood liaison

COVID-19 CASES
The City of Boston has 12,050 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive). So far, 5,121 of these 12,050 residents have fully recovered. Unfortunately, there have been 588 COVID-19 related deaths in Boston residents.

The City posts race and ethnicity data for deaths, as well as for confirmed cases here.

The Boston Public Health Commission will be providing the updated total of cases in Boston residents as it is received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Information can be found at boston.gov/coronavirus or bphc.org.

Massachusetts has 83,421 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) and 5,592 deaths reported at this time. Massachusetts has also tested 435,679 individuals to date. 

The City of Boston has two dashboards to provide statistics on COVID19 cases in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. View them here.

The City of Boston has a free texting service to provide daily updates and information about the coronavirus. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to opt-in for English. Language and communications access remains a priority for Mayor Walsh, so this text service which was available in Spanish, Haitan Creole, French, Cabo Verdean Creole, and Portuguese, now includes Somali, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Russian.

 

  • Text BOSEspanol to 888-777 for Spanish

  • Text BOSKreyol to 888-777 for Haitian Kreyol

  • Text BOSFrancais to 888-777 for French

  • Text BOSKriolu to 888-777 for Cabo Verdean Creole

  • Text BOSPortugues to 888-777 for Portuguese

  • Text BOSSoomali to 888-777 for Somali

  • Text BOSChi to 888-777 for Simplified Chinese

  • Text BOSbilAraby to 888-777 for Arabic

  • Text BOSViet to 888-777 for Vietnamese

  • ext BOSRus to 888-777 for Russian


Updates in 10 total languages can additionally be accessed through boston.gov/coronavirus#multilingual-help. Each language has its own page and hosts multilingual print materials distributed citywide. 

TESTING UPDATE

  • Last week, the citywide positive test rate was 13.9%. This was a new low and brings the city’s cumulative positive test rate to 27%, down 2 percentage points from the week before. The City has continued targeted outreach and testing in neighborhoods seeing the most cases, and as a result, those communities’ positive rates continue to go down.

  • The City also continues to build a citywide strategy for increased testing, which includes an effort that starts next week to test all first responders. 

  • Overall, the data tells us that we have been moving in the right direction on new cases, positive test rates, and hospitalization for about 3 weeks. 

  • Every data trend gives a reason for caution, in terms of how gradual our progress is, how necessary our precautions have been, and how much potential there is for new outbreaks if we don’t keep doing the right things. 

REOPENING

Implementing Phase 1 of the State’s Reopening Plan in Boston:

On Monday, May 18, the Governor launched Phase 1 of a statewide reopening plan.The Mayor stressed that reopening does not mean “back to normal”—it means bringing caution and a commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 into workplaces and community spaces.

  • Boston will continue to meet the needs of families, seniors, and small businesses, as well as continue to follow the science and public health guidance, while monitoring the data at the city and state levels.

  • The Public Health Emergency declared on March 15 in the City of Boston remains in place until further notice. The same applies to the guidelines for physical distancing and face coverings, as well as the citywide recommended curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

  • The City will continue to focus on equity and meeting the needs of vulnerable communities, families with children, seniors, and small businesses. 

 

Reopening construction:

  • Under the statewide plan: Construction can start the week of May 18.

  • Boston’s approach: Boston has a phased-in approach with comprehensive health and safety requirements. 

    • Starting this week of May 18: Work on schools, hospitals, smaller residential projects, and open-air construction can restart.

    • Starting on May 26: Other work allowed by the state may resume.

  • Contractors must submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan before returning to work. 

 

Reopening office spaces:

  • Under the statewide plan: Office spaces will be allowed to open with 25% capacity starting on May 25. 

  • Boston’s approach: The City will take this step on June 1.

  • This timeline allows the City to work in collaboration with building owners and employers on safety plans that meet robust public health standards.

  • Every employer must create and implement plans for workplaces to minimize the spread of the virus, as outlined by the State.

  • The City is creating guidelines for offices to follow, based on national best practices and expert input.

    • These guidelines include shift scheduling, work-from-home policies, physical spacing, PPE, cleaning protocols, ventilation, employee communication, and more. These guidelines will be shared next week (week of May 25).

 

Reopening small businesses:

  • Under the statewide plan: Retail stores are allowed to open for curbside pickup on May 25, as well as some services, including hair care and car washes. 

  • Boston’s approach: The City is ready to help small businesses create plans that not only meet state guidelines, but go beyond them. However, we are also urging caution. 

  • The Boston Transportation Department has helped facilitate safe curbside pickup for essential businesses, and will expand that work as needed. The City is also developing creative public space solutions for pedestrians in business districts.

  • If businesses don’t feel comfortable opening, the City will back them in that decision and continue to make services and resources available to them. 

  • The City will provide more information in the days and weeks ahead to help employers and community organizations stay safe and connected. Small business owners can reach out to our Office of Small Business

 

Reopening houses of worship:

  • Under the statewide plan: Places of worship are allowed to open starting this week, at 40% capacity and with strict distancing practices and face coverings.

  • Boston’s approach: Places of worship must take a very cautious approach and are urged to not reopen if they have doubts about being able to plan, implement, and monitor strict safety guidelines. 

  • The Statewide “Safer at Home” policy remains in place, which advises against people 65 and older leaving home unless absolutely necessary. The Mayor urged seniors to adhere to the advisory and hold off on going back to places of worship, even if services restart. He also asked faith leaders to reach out to their elderly parishioners, to guide them and support them in putting safety first, and keep them connected in other ways.

  • The City has been getting questions about church choirs and hymns. The Mayor says they shouldn’t happen yet, given the added risk of virus transmission from singing in addition to speaking. Face coverings must be worn at all times.

 

2020 CENSUS

We are reminding residents to take the 2020 Census during this time of physical distancing. To date, 49.4% of Boston's households have responded to the 2020 Census, which is lower than the statewide average response rate of 61.4%. We need to increase the rate of response.

  • Much of the funding that comes from the Census count helps the most vulnerable among us. It provides, for instance, health care (Medicare and Medicaid), public education (grants for special education and Boston Public Schools), food and nutrition programs (SNAP and free school breakfast/lunch programs), affordable housing (Section 8 vouchers), and child care (Head Start) for low-income families.

  • The 2020 Census is a way to directly increase community power. It will impact our daily lives for the next 10 years. Many of Boston’s communities are at risk of an undercount. We need a complete and accurate count because all of Boston deserves to be seen, heard, and invested in.

  • The Census has never been more accessible. You can respond to the 2020 Census online (my2020census.gov), over the phone, or by mail. You can respond to the 2020 Census online or over the phone in 13 different languages.

 

OPEN SPACE SURVEY

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department is undertaking a Parcel Priority Plan to identify and evaluate land that should be protected as open space. Creating new open space and protecting existing open space will depend on practical concerns and available resources. Please consider sharing your feedback with the Parks Department about where you would like to see more open space in our neighborhood! Learn more here

RENTERS' RIGHTS TOWN HALL MEETING

If you have any questions about your rights as a tenant, join the The Department of Neighborhood Development and Greater Boston Legal Services on Tuesday, May 26, at 6 p.m. for a virtual town hall, where we will discuss tenants' rights during and after COVID-19. The town hall will be a WebEx event and can be accessed here.

FRESH TRUCK OPEN AIR MARKET

The Mayor's Office of Food Access has modified the Fresh Truck weekly markets to provide fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables while keeping our staff, volunteers, and shoppers safe during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information visit www.thefreshtruck.org, email info@thefreshtruck.org, or call (617) 297-7685.

Important points on the markets:

  • Fresh Truck Open Air Markets are a safe and convenient way to purchase fresh produce at low prices.

  • Customers can choose from several options of pre-packed $10 bags that obtain a mix of fruits and vegetables.

  • Fresh Truck Open Air Market accepts cash, credit, EBT, and HIP.

  • Markets are conveniently located in various neighborhoods. 

 

Schedule:

  • Monday: 11am-1pm | Charlestown BHA & Newtown 38 O’Reilly Way  

  • Tuesday: 2-4pm | East Boston PJK School 343 Saratoga Street   

  • Wednesday: 11am-1pm | South Boston West Broadway BHA 7 Joyce Hayes Way

  • Thursday: 10am-12pm | South Boston Mary Ellen McCormack BHA Sterling Square   

  • Friday: 11am-1pm | Dorchester Franklin Field BHA 9O Ames Street; 11am-1pm | Brighton Faneuil Gardens BHA 45 Faneuil Street

 

BOSTON RESILIENCY FUND REMINDER

The Boston Resiliency Fund provides grant funding to nonprofits supporting communities, families, & individuals in the City of Boston who are most immediately and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. For more information including translated materials, visit boston.gov/resiliency-fund.

CITY OF BOSTON COVID-19 OPERATIONS
All essential City of Boston services such as public safety, public health and maintenance operations including street cleaning, parks maintenance, trash and recycling pick up, etc will continue to be in operation.

  • City Hall is open to the public only on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm

  • Public access to 1010 Massachusetts Avenue is limited to the Boston Public Health Commission on the 2nd Floor and residents must be accompanied when entering the building. 

  • Everyone entering City Hall, including employees and members of the public, will be required to complete a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms, including elevated temperature.

  • Residents are required to make appointments if they need to visit any of the essential services offered out of City Hall, and can learn more about the status of city departments and hours of operation here

HELP COVID-19 EFFORTS

  • Stay home. If you must go outside, practice physical distancing from others (6 feet apart); avoid crowded places.

  • Wear a face covering if you absolutely must go outside. Face covers help reduce the risk of a person spreading the virus, especially if they are asymptomatic. Visit CDC guidelines on face coverings for more information and guidance. 

  • Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911. The City of Boston’s EMTs and hospitals have the capacity and ability to treat everyone.

  • Observe the recommended curfew for everyone in Boston except for essential workers to stay at home from 9 pm to 6 am daily 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; avoid shaking hands

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • If you think you might be sick, please call your doctor or 311 to be connected to the Mayor's Health Line 617-534-5050. Buoy Health has created a free online diagnostic tool which screens for COVID-19 at buoy.com/mass.

  • Donate supplies to first responders here

  • Donate to the City of Boston Resiliency Fund here

  • Volunteer with the City of Boston here 

  • For Food access needs, visit our Food Resources Map or call 311

  • Fill out the 2020 Census. The Census informs how billions of dollars in federal funds will be allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers annually for the next 10 years. It’s more critical than ever to ensure that all Bostonians are counted. 

 

STAY INFORMED
Receive the latest COVID19 info from reliable sources. Visit: bphc.org/coronavirus; boston.gov/coronavirus; mass.gov/2019coronavirus.   Call: 311 or 211.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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