6.8 min readBy Published On: December 3rd, 2020Categories: News0 Comments

Please see below for updates from Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s press briefing on Thursday, December 3, 2020

COVID-19 cases and testing data:

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts on Wednesday reported 4,613 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 225,787 cases. The state reported 46 new deaths, for a total of 10,588 people who have passed away due to COVID-19.

  • The City of Boston today reported 542 new cases, for a total of 28,595 cases. The City reported 4 new deaths, leaving a total of 929.

  • For the week ending on November 26:

    • An average of 4,570 Bostonians got tested each day, down from 4,800 the week before. That number does not include college testing.

    • The average number of daily positive tests was 195, and Boston’s current community positivity rate was 3.9%, both of those metrics showing slight upward movement.

    • Dorchester, East Boston, and Hyde Park were the neighborhoods with the highest positive rates, falling between 7% and 7.8%.

Increased viral activity and need for vigilance:

  • The Mayor said that after a couple of weeks of declining numbers we are now seeing, in the wake of Thanksgiving, a significant uptick in COVID activity.

  • On Wednesday and Thursday, we recorded a combined 960 new cases in Boston, and Wednesday’s number for Massachusetts was the highest since the pandemic began.

  • In addition, we are seeing more patients admitted to Boston hospitals due to COVID-19. Since Friday, we’ve seen an increase of about 70 patients.

  • We’re going to be monitoring the data, working closely with our hospitals and health care leaders, and bringing relief and resources where they are needed.

  • In the meantime, Bostonians must double-down on their personal precautions. Wear a face covering that covers your nose and your mouth when you are outside your house. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect your surroundings, especially at work. If you are an employer, make sure your workers have what they need to be safe, and allow as many people to work from home as possible.

  • The Mayor asked seniors, in particular, to take extra care and continue to stay at home as much as possible.

Continuing free testing access:

  • The Mayor repeated his request that everyone get tested, especially if you have reason to think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, or if you spent Thanksgiving with a group larger than your immediate household.

  • Currently, we have over 30 testing sites in Boston. You can find them listed and mapped at boston.gov/coronavirus, or you can call 311.

  • Our free mobile testing sites this week are in:

    • East Boston, in Central Square Park;

    • Roxbury, at Washington Park Mall;

    • Jamaica Plain, at Anna Cole Community Center. This site will continue into next week, with dates and times to be announced.

  • The City will continue to invest in free mobile sites and bring them to neighborhoods where COVID activity is higher. Our mobile sites are free and open to anyone, regardless of whether you have COVID symptoms or not.

Free home heating replacement for eligible senior homeowners:

  • The Mayor said we’re going to continue to provide support for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID, and he highlighted an important benefit for senior homeowners.

  • With cold weather approaching, we want to make sure older Bostonians can stay warm, especially because we want them to be able to stay inside their home, safe from COVID.

  • Seniors Save helps residents over the age of 60 replace their home heating system. We created the program in 2014 and in total we’ve provided over 220 seniors with new heating systems. This year, we more than doubled the amount of funding you can get, with grants of up to $8,000. The cost of replacing your heating system has gone up, so we made sure the program reflects that.

  • New energy-efficient systems will lower the risk of heating emergencies during cold weather, and they also lower energy bills.

  • The Mayor encouraged seniors to look into this program before the really cold weather hits. Applications are through the Boston Home Center, by calling 617-635-HOME or visiting boston.gov/DND. You can call 311 and contact the Age Strong Commission for help accessing this benefit or any other.

Launching Community Choice Electricity:

  • Community Choice Electricity (CCE) is our policy to combine the buying power of Boston’s homes and businesses in order to provide more stable and affordable electricity rates for residents and bring more clean energy into our city. It’s an important part of our climate action strategy to become carbon-neutral and protect our environment. We designed it, in partnership with the community and advocates, with the goal of saving residents money and giving them more choices.

  • Boston’s CCE is the largest municipal power aggregation program in New England, and one of the largest in the United States. The Mayor said the City is proud of how it advances our climate goals by putting choice and savings in residents’ hands.

  • Tomorrow, we will begin sending notices to residents who are enrolled in Eversource Basic Service. The notice lets you know that you’re being enrolled in the clean energy program starting February 1, 2021. You don’t have to do anything to get that benefit and be part of this program. It also tells you your options, and allows you to opt out and stay on your current plan. We’re also providing discounts for 20,000 low-income residents, through a solar energy program.

  • For anyone who wants to learn more about Community Choice Electricity and how it works, starting Monday, December 14, the City’s Environment Department will host a series of 11 online webinars, translated into 10 languages.

  • More information is available at boston.gov/community-choice-electricity.

Holiday tree lightings:

  • The Mayor let everyone know that the City has put up trees in every neighborhood, in all the familiar locations. We couldn’t have the in-person events this year to light them, but we have lit them up as usual, along with the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Copley Square tree, the trellis in Christopher Columbus Park, and the big tree on Boston Common.

  • The tree on the Common is an annual gift from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. That tradition began as a token of thanks for Boston’s assistance after the Halifax explosion of 1917, when close to 1800 people lost their lives. This Sunday is the 103rd anniversary of that day. This year’s tree is dedicated to our health care workers, who stepped up in 1917 to help Nova Scotia and have worked incredibly hard to save lives this year.

  • We can’t gather the usual large crowd for the Boston Common Tree lighting show this year. But the Mayor spoke to Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, and they are committed to preserving the tradition.

  • Tonight (Thursday night) you can watch a pre-taped tree lighting show at 7pm on WCVB-Channel 5. It will feature the Mayor as well as performers including the Boston Pops, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, an actor from the Hamilton stage show, performers from Nova Scotia, and Grammy award-winning headliner Shaggy. WCVB will also be streaming the broadcast on wcvb.com.

Supporting Toys for Tots and helping needy families in a difficult year:

  • The Mayor was joined at the press conference by United States Marines and volunteers with the Greater Boston Toys for Tots program. He said the City works closely with Toys for Tots because they have a history and track record, in our community and across the country, of helping families bring every child an experience of holiday joy.

  • He said that while the needs in our communities are greater than ever this year, collecting toys will be a challenge. We can’t have the in-person or work-place toy drives we usually have. So we all need to work harder than ever to make sure we help Toys for Tots meet their goals and help the families in our community.

  • The City will have donation boxes at City Hall, at firehouses, at the stand-alone BCYF community centers, and at City of Boston Credit Union locations. We’re also going to be supporting their operations wherever we can.

  • The Mayor introduced Marine Staff Sergeant Howard Brown, who talked about how the public can help by donating new, unwrapped toys or making financial  contributions.

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