Testing Begins to Ramp Up, But Still Far Below Other Neighborhoods

More residents are being tested than previously, but Charlestown still lags far behind the rest of the city’s neighborhoods in the numbers being tested – yet at the same time there are still relatively few cases and a rather low percentage of positive cases in those that were tested.

To date, there have been 1,097 residents tested for COVID-19 since the outbreak started, and that’s up 125 people from last week, according to numbers released by the Boston Public Health Commission as of May 29 at 12:11 p.m.

In this weeks’ numbers, Charlestown reported a total of 172 positive cases of COVID-19 and that was up by 13 cases. Last week the number grew by 10 cases, and the increases week-over-week have hovered in the teens for some time. It is the lowest numbers of cases in any neighborhood in the City and the third lowest infection rate (88.6 per 10,000) – just behind Fenway and the Downtown/Beacon Hill/Back Bay areas.

Still, though, there hasn’t been a major uptick in testing that would bring Charlestown up to where other neighborhoods are at. There were 1,097 people tested by June 1 in Charlestown, which was an increase, but was pretty far behind the next lowest community – Fenway – which had tested 1,863 residents. NEW Health Charlestown has initiated testing in Charlestown two weeks ago, and are still ramping up. However, more testing is needed still, and that site was the first in the Town since the outbreak.

Of those tested, Charlestown has one of the lowest positive test rates in the city, at 15.5 percent. Only the Fenway is lower, but barely, at 15 percent.

Contrastingly, in East Boston, the positive test rate was at 32.7 percent – the highest in the city –  but there had also been 4,601 people tested there. East Boston had 1,457 positive cases.

The most testing had been done in South Dorchester, where 7,321 people were tested, and there was a 27.6 percent positive rate. There were 1,945 cases reported there.

The highest infection rates still remained in Hyde Park, where the rate was 308.6 per 10,000 and 1,056 cases. Testing in Hyde Park was at 4,087 people and a positive rate of 26.1 percent.

With the recent return to business for several places, and large-scale gatherings such as protests on the Boston Common, many health professionals are going to be monitoring the numbers carefully and looking for more testing over the next two weeks.

•On the subject of race, Black/African Americans are still disproportionately affected by the virus, having 4,080 cases and 38 percent of all cases in the city. Latinos had the second highest at 26 percent and 2,793 cases. Whites made up 25 percent of the cases in Boston, at 2,685. That did come with incomplete information, as only 84 percent of reported cases had a known race attached to them.

However, when it came to deaths, there were more whites who had died than any other race, having 274 deaths that made up 44 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the city. Black/African Americans made up 35 percent of deaths, with 221 people. Latinos had far fewer deaths than cases, having 66 deaths at 11 percent of the total. Asian residents made up 6 percent of deaths (40).

This week, the BPHC released infection rates by race using the same substantial, but incomplete, data. Black/African Americans had an infection rate of 258.4 per 10,000, while Latinos had a rate of 195.5 per 10,000. White residents had an infection rate of 86.1 per 10,000, and Asians had the lowest rate at 56.9 per 10,000.

•The gender trend continues to defy the national numbers, with women having more cases of COVID-19, and only a slightly lower infection rate than men.

Women made up 51 percent of all infections in Boston, and had a rate of 182.5 per 10,000. Meanwhile, men accounted for 47.6 percent of cases, and had an infection rate of 184 per 10,000.

Nationwide, men are known to be more affected by the virus than women, leaving Boston as somewhat of an anomaly.

•For age groups, as has been the case for months, the old one is, the more likely they are to get infected. One in three COVID-19 cases came in persons 60 or over.

The largest age group that was affected by percentage were those ages 50-59. They made up 17.5 percent of all cases, with those 30-39 making up 16.2 percent. Those 20-29 and 40-49 both made up about 15 percent of the cases citywide.

For infection rates, those 80 and over jumped to 603.6 per 10,000 – the highest rates by age and the first time going over 600. Those age 50-79 hovered around a rate 300 per 10,000 rate. Those 0-19 had a rate of 40.9 per 10,000.

•Overall, as of June 2, there were 12,818 confirmed cases in Boston, and 7,103 had recovered. There were 649 deaths recorded. Despite widespread violations, the city curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. is still in effect and anyone over the age of 2 must wear a face covering when in public and not able to social distance.

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