7 min readBy Published On: March 9th, 2021Categories: News0 Comments

Please see below for updates from Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s press briefing on Tuesday, March 9.

Latest COVID numbers:

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts yesterday (Monday) reported 892 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 559,975; and 18 new deaths bringing the total to 16,103.

  • The City of Boston today (Tuesday) reported 105 new confirmed cases for a total of 60,058; and 1 new death for a total of 1,287.

The latest complete data is for the week ending February 28:

  • An average of 4,113 Boston residents were tested for COVID each day.

  • The 7-day average for daily positive tests was 176.

  • The average daily positive rate was 3.6%.

  • The Mayor said that these numbers are much better than the numbers Boston experienced in January, but there has been a slight uptick in cases over the last 10 days or so and the City is continuing to work around the clock to get those numbers as low as possible.

Importance of remaining vigilant leading up to St. Patrick’s Day:

  • The Mayor said that everyone has a role to play in keeping themselves and others safe: wear a mask with a good fit; wash your hands frequently, and continue to practice social distancing and avoid gatherings.

  • He said that all of these things are especially important with St. Patrick’s Day coming up. The parade is canceled, and there should be no large gatherings of any kind. The limits on private gatherings remain at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Restrictions remain in place at restaurants, including those that are typically busy on St. Patrick’s Day. There will be 90-minute limits on seating, and the City won’t allow lines outside restaurants. The City will be enforcing safety protocols.

  • The Mayor also made an appeal to the people of Boston to do the right thing and not host or attend gatherings for St. Patrick’s Day. He said:

“We’ve made so much progress in bringing our numbers down. More people are getting vaccinated and the warm weather is coming. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. So please, don’t put our progress at risk because you want to have a St. Patrick’s Day party. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to celebrate when the pandemic is all over. But right now, we need to focus on keeping one another safe and getting through this final stage. Please do your part to protect our city.”

Testing update:

  • The Mayor reminded everyone to make testing part of their regular routine.

  • We have over 25 testing sites in the City of Boston. The City continues to support mobile testing sites that are free and open to all, regardless of symptoms. This week they are:

    • In Jamaica Plain: at the Anna Cole Community Center in the Mildred Hailey Apartments.

    • In Hyde Park: at Boston Renaissance Charter School.

    • In Dorchester: at the Strand Theatre; and Prince Hall Grand Lodge.

  • For information about how to access these sites and others, visit Boston.gov/coronavirus or call 3-1-1.

Vaccine update:

  • The City continues to support the State on vaccine rollout.

  • Right now, adults 65 and older, and adults with two underlying health conditions, are eligible to get the vaccine. That’s in addition to everyone who was eligible in Phase 1. Starting this Thursday, March 11, educators will be eligible. The full updated schedule is at Mass.gov.

  • The City is now able to provide weekly vaccination data for Boston residents. As of March 3, more than 113,000 Bostonians aged 16 and older have received their first dose and more than 56,000 Bostonians aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated with both doses. About 20% of the Boston population aged 16 and older has received at least one dose and about 10% of the Boston population aged 16 and older is fully vaccinated. Data broken down by neighborhood and demographic is available at BPHC.org.

  • The Mayor said that the City of Boston will continue to support the State’s rollout, and will work to increase equity in this process for any resident or community that may face barriers. The City is focusing on improving access in Black communities, Latinx communities, Asian communities, and immigrant communities, and on improving access for elderly residents and those with disabilities.

  • In Boston, we currently have close to 20 vaccination sites that are open to all eligible residents. Those include:

    • Eight community-based sites: In Mattapan, Roslindale, Dorchester, Hyde Park, the South End, East Boston, South Boston, and Allston.

    • Nine pharmacies: In neighborhoods including Mattapan, Roxbury, Dorchester, East Boston, the South End, and Hyde Park.

    • And two mass vaccination sites: Fenway Park; and the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, where we continue to hold 50% of appointments for local residents of color.

  • On Friday, the City launched a mobile vaccination pilot clinic at Martin Luther King Towers in Roxbury. This week, our mobile vaccinate clinic will be going to Hyde Park. More mobile clinics will be offered in other BHA communities moving forward.

  • Over 100 senior buildings in Boston are providing onsite vaccination for residents. That includes both public and private housing. 10 more senior buildings began clinics this week.

  • The Mayor thanked the BHA, the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston EMS, the City’s Age Strong Commission, and all of the City’s partners in this work.

  • The Mayor urged all seniors and everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to take it as soon as they can. He also encouraged residents aged 65 and older who need help registering to call 3-1-1 and get connected to the City’s Age Strong Commission. Help is available in multiple languages.

  • Veterans of all ages, enrolled in VA Healthcare, can get vaccinated at any VA Boston Healthcare facility. For more information or to enroll go to Boston.va.gov.

  • The CDC has released new guidelines for activities that fully-vaccinated people can safely do. That is available at CDC.gov. And the City will be sharing this guidance over the next day or so.

Announcing the B-Local App:

  • The Mayor said that over this past year, the City has gotten creative to support small businesses. We have helped restaurants get set up with online ordering, expanded outdoor dining, and distributed about $16 million in direct relief. Soon, he said, we will roll out another tool called the “B-Local App

  • The B-Local App helps residents find local, Black-owned, woman-owned, and Main Street businesses. Customers can collect “Boston Points,” and use them like cash at participating businesses. The City will reimburse small businesses for Boston Points redeemed at their establishment.

  • The Mayor said that as the City gears up to launch the app, we are recruiting local businesses to participate. It’s open to all sorts of businesses, including restaurants, retail, gyms, nail salons, and more. To learn more or sign up, visit  Boston.gov/B-Local.

Update on the Boston Public Schools:

  • This week marks exactly one year since we first closed the Boston Public Schools at the beginning of the COVID crisis. The Mayor remarked on how much progress the City has made since then.

  • Last week, BPS welcomed all students from pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade back to in-person classrooms, if their families opted in. Grades 4-8 are scheduled to return to classrooms next week, starting on Monday; and grades 9-12 are due to return the week of March 29, public health data permitting. They join the high-priority students who have been in school since the fall.

  • BPS has comprehensive health and safety measures in place, with social distancing, air filtration, sanitizing, signage, and more. The Mayor said that he was grateful to everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this happen. He said that this is a great example of Boston coming together, getting creative, and doing the right thing for our young people.

  • The Mayor said that over the past week, he has visited several BPS schools that have welcomed students back for in-person learning. He shared some stories about these visits, and closed with this reflection:

“It makes me very proud that we’re able to bring students back in a smart and safe way. This is yet another sign that we’re moving toward recovery, and there are brighter days ahead. We’re all grateful for that. For now, the City continues to monitor the data, promote testing and vaccination, and direct resources where they’re needed the most.”

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