Cases Rise by 30 in Charlestown, Rates Still on the Low End of the Spectrum

Though confirmed cases did rise by 30 in a week’s time, the infection rate for the Charlestown neighborhood still remained low as compared to other neighborhoods in Boston – in some cases nearly three times lower that places like Hyde Park.

Charlestown registered 103 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 4 p.m. on April 23, with the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) releasing the weekly neighborhood stats late last Friday. That gave the Town an infection rate of 53.1 per 10,000 residents – allowing it to remain one of the least affected neighborhoods in the city.

This week, there had been a total of 410 people in Charlestown tested for the virus since testing began, and 22.7 percent were positive. That was also low compared to the rest of the city, with a Citywide positive rate of 33.6 percent. Again, compared to neighboring Eastie, Charlestown’s numbers were far lower. Nearly half of all Eastie residents tested were positive, with 1,171 tested and a positive rate of 46.8 percent.

It was in stark contrast to neighboring East Boston where cases have climbed quickly as testing at that neighborhood’s health centers ramped up last week in earnest. In Eastie, which is literally a stone’s throw across the Inner Harbor from Charlestown, there were 688 confirmed cases and an infection rate of 146.6 per 10,000. That is nearly seven times more cases than Charlestown, and begs the question of how inequities in working conditions and socio-economic status have borne out during the pandemic here. Rarely are the wealthiest neighborhoods in Boston affected dramatically, while the poorer neighborhoods with residents who are more likely to be essential workers still going to jobs – and likely going to them via public transit – have shown huge numbers of infections.

Charlestown had the lowest number of cases for all neighborhoods, but not the lowest infection rate. Fenway continued to have the lowest rate at 22.3 per 10,000 and 122 cases. Charlestown most resembled South Boston, which has 216 cases and a 53.9 per 10,000 rate. Downtown/Beacon Hill/Back Bay had 236 cases and a 42.4 per 10,000 rate.

The highest rate in Boston was in Hyde Park, where they had 617 cases for a rate of 180.3 per 10,000. Next was Mattapan with 440 cases and a rate of 148.7 per 10,000. The South End was another hot spot with 531 cases and a rate of 148.5 per 10,000, but that is explained by the high rate of testing within the homeless population there. Homeless people who tested positive for COVID-19 at Boston Medical Center or Pine Street Inn at the South End were attributed to the statistics of that neighborhood.

The most testing (2,400 tests) and the most cases (1,033 positive) came out of South Dorchester once again, which has the highest neighborhood population in the city.

The rates of positive cases in older adults continued to skyrocket in this week’s statistics, with an infection rate of 359.8 per 10,000 in those age 80 and above.

“There continues to be a low percentage of Boston resident COVID-19 cases under 20 years of age,” read the report. “More than 1 in 3 COVID-19 cases were in persons age 60 years and above. In general, COVID-19 rates increase with age.”

Those between age 70-79 had a rate of 204.2 per 10,000, and those 60-69 had a rate of 181.2 per 10,000. Contrastingly, those age 20-29 had a rate of 59.1 per 10,000, and those 0-19 had a rate of 12 per 10,000.

Racial statistics, which are incomplete with 31 percent of cases not having an assigned race, mirrored what was seen last week. The Black/African American community outpaces all other races in percentage with 41.8 percent of known racial cases, as compared to whites with 27.5 percent.

The percentages for deaths were slightly lower, however, with whites making up 44 percent of the deaths in Boston (84), and Black/African Americans making up 31 percent of deaths. For deaths, 83 percent of the statistics had a known race, leaving 17 percent of deaths with an unassigned race.

It is the second week that the BPHC began publishing racial data for COVID-19 cases and deaths – even though it is incomplete data.

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