7 min readBy Published On: January 26th, 2021Categories: News0 Comments on Recap of Mayor Walsh’s Press Briefing from January 26th

Please see below for updates from Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s press briefing on Tuesday, January 26.

COVID-19 cases:

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts on Monday reported 3,477 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 479,402 cases. The state reported 45 new deaths, for a total of 13,889 people who have passed away due to COVID-19.

  • The City of Boston today reported 212 new cases, for a total of 51,718 cases. The City reported 3 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,136.

Our latest complete test data is for the week ending January 17:

  • An average of 5,351 people were tested each day. That is down slightly compared to the week before and does not include college testing.

  • The average number of positive tests each day was about 416, also down from the week before.

  • Our current community positivity rate was 7.2%. That is lower than the week before.

  • The Mayor said positive test rates have gone down in every neighborhood, which is a good sign, but East Boston, Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Mattapan still have the highest positivity.

  • He said that, while there has been some improvement in recent weeks, it’s still vital that everyone remains vigilant. We should all continue to wear our masks, avoid gatherings, and wash our hands and disinfect surfaces. We should think about the simple steps we can take on a daily basis to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

  • We should also continue to reach out and check in on people who may be struggling with isolation, to let them know that they’re not alone, and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • He said we will make it through this, if we all stay focused, and take it one day at a time, and he thanked everyone who continues to do their part to protect our city.

Update on COVID testing:

  • The Mayor continued to emphasize the importance of getting tested. There are more than 30 testing sites citywide. We also have mobile sites which are free and open to all, regardless of symptoms.This week they are:

    • In Dorchester, at Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall. This is a walk-up site with on-site registration.

    • In Hyde Park, at Boston Renaissance Charter School. This is drive-thru only and you must book an appointment through our online scheduler.

    • In Roxbury, at Washington Park Mall. Pre-registration is required.

    • In Jamaica Plain, at the Mildred Hailey Apartments. This is a walk-up site with on-site registration.

    • Dates and times vary, so visit Boston.gov or call 3-1-1 for complete details.

  • The Mayor also announced that the Strand Theater in Upham’s Corner in Dorchester is now operating as a testing site. This is a partnership between the City of Boston, the Strand Theater, Brookside Community Health Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, and Upham’s Corner Community Health Center.

  • Testing started at The Strand yesterday, and it will be operating on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:30 am – 4 pm. Visit Boston.gov or call 3-1-1 for more information.

  • The Mayor said that The Strand is a beloved cultural institution that the City and the community have worked hard to revive in recent years, and he’s proud of the way we’re using the space to meet the needs of the community during these difficult times.

Vaccine update:

  • The City continues to support the State’s vaccine rollout, and is working with them to expand the number and the types of vaccination sites to ensure an equitable process.

  • Yesterday the State announced that a new mass vaccination site will open at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury next week. This is a partnership between the State and the City, and is in addition to the planned vaccination site at Fenway Park.

  • The City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission will continue to monitor the data, and help the State direct resources where they’re needed most. This includes smaller priority group clinics, neighborhood sites, and mobile teams.

  • More information, including the full schedule of the vaccine rollout is available on the State’s website at Mass.gov/COVIDvaccine.

  • The Mayor reiterated that he knows that people have lots of questions about the vaccine, and the City is committed to making this information as clear and accessible as possible. Last week, the Boston Public Health Commission held a virtual COVID-19 vaccine information session, and we will share a recording of the session online. This Thursday, we’re holding the same live session in Spanish. You can tune in at BPHC.org.

  • The Mayor said this about the importance of getting vaccinated:

We’re making it clear to everyone: The vaccine is safe, it’s free, and it’s one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones.

We understand that some people are hesitant to take this vaccine. That is especially true in Black and Latino communities. We’re talking to residents about their concerns, and making sure that everyone has the facts.

COVID-19 has hit communities of color the hardest. We don’t want communities of color to miss out on this vaccine — because it’s the best tool we have to put this pandemic behind us and begin to heal. The City of Boston will continue to empower local residents to share information in their communities, and in their languages.

Again, I urge everyone to take the vaccine when your time comes, and I thank everyone who has taken it already.

Updates on the City’s reopening plan:

  • The Mayor gave an update on Boston’s reopening plans.

  • In mid-December, he announced that Boston would temporarily pause our reopening, and move back into a modified Phase 2, Step 2. He said we anticipated an increase in cases around the holidays, so we took action to slow the spread, protect hospital capacity, and avoid a more severe shutdown later on.

  • This pause was set to expire tomorrow, January 27, and we are extending this pause through the end of this month.

  • On Monday, February 1, Boston will move forward into Phase 3, Step 1. At that point, all businesses and activities that are allowed to operate in Phase 3, Step 1 can re-open, with capacity limits in place.

  • That includes:

    • Indoor fitness centers and health clubs, including gyms using alternative spaces.

    • Movie theaters.

    • Museums.

    • Aquariums.

    • Indoor recreational and athletic facilities.

    • Indoor recreational venues with potential for low-contact use, like batting cages, driving ranges, bowling alleys, and rock-climbing.

    • Sightseeing and other organized tours, including bus tours, duck tours, harbor cruises, and whale watches.

    • Indoor historical spaces and sites.

    • Indoor event spaces.

    • Indoor and outdoor gaming arcades.

  • Most businesses will still be subject to the 25% capacity limits the State extended through February 8. In addition, all gatherings and events remain subject to capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, which applies to public and private spaces. For a list of sectors subject to the extended capacity restrictions, visit Mass.gov/Reopening.

  • The Mayor noted that, throughout the pandemic, Boston has taken a cautious approach, and we only move forward with reopening if public health experts say it’s safe.

  • He said everyone has a role to play in making sure we can bring back more activities, safely. That includes wearing your mask; social distancing; and washing your hands. He also asked businesses to enforce all safety protocols and let their employees work from home when possible. He said that if everyone does their part, we’ll be able to move forward with reopening, faster.

Thanking Bostonians for their resilience:

  • The Mayor closed by sharing the words of inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, who spoke at the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris last Wednesday, January 20.

  • He noted that Ms. Gorman has ties to Boston, and she spoke at the City of Boston’s Immigrant Heritage Month Celebration this past July. During a difficult time for our city, she helped to highlight how resilient we can be.

  • He said that she echoed those values in DC last week. He recited part of her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb”, which says:

“The new dawn blooms as we free it,

For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

  • He thanked the people of Boston for their resilience and kindness, and said we will get through these hard times, stronger than ever before.

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