BOSTON (WHDH) - Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Tuesday said that Boston is seeing a “significant and concerning” spike in COVID-19 activity as the city’s positivity rate nears 10 percent ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Every metric tells us that we’re in the midst of a significant and concerning increase of COVID activity here in the city and the Commonwealth,” Walsh said during a news conference at City Hall. “The daily cases are starting to look like the numbers we saw near our peak in April and May.”
Coronavirus hospitalizations in the city are also increasing but they have not quite yet reached peak levels, Walsh noted.
The citywide rate for new positive COVID-19 tests has reached 9.6 percent, with Dorchester, Hyde Park, and East Boston being the hardest-hit areas, according to Walsh.
Boston has rolled back the return to in-person learning and issued a stay-at-home advisory after 10 p.m., but Walsh stated that his administration “will have to do more” if health metrics continue to trend negatively, including a ban on indoor dining.
“As we said in the spring, we’re going to put health and the health of our community first in front of everything else,” Walsh said. “There is no economic recovery without public health.”
Walsh also explained that contact tracing teams have linked much of the recent virus transmission in the city to workplace settings and private gatherings.
“In the workplace, quite honestly, I think people are letting their guard down,” Walsh said. “It’s understandable. You work with the same people every day so you feel like their members of your household.”
Walsh urged all residents to spend Thanksgiving with household members only to avoid large outbreaks in the coming weeks. He also reminded everyone to adhere to the indoor gathering limit of 10 or fewer people.
“I don’t want to close the city down. I don’t want to give fines to people on Thanksgiving…But I’m asking you this year to be careful here,” Walsh said.
In an effort to better understand the alarming trend, Walsh said health officials on Wednesday will begin releasing new data on the average number of daily cases, average number of daily tests, community level positivity rates, ICU capacity, available hospital beds, and the average number of people visiting the emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms.
Despite the regression in progress made in the fight against the virus, Walsh urged residents to not be fearful and continue to take the safety precautions that proved to be effective over the summer.
“My message today is we don’t have to go down the road of fear…We can turn these numbers around,” Walsh said. “We are one of the places in America that went through a major surge already so we already know what to expect.”
There has been an average of 224 new daily coronavirus cases reported in Boston over the last five days, up from about 10 daily cases over the summer.
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