Testing Picks up, While Cases and Rates Remain Low

Testing has picked up and is about to really increase in the coming weeks, as Charlestown’s 149 cases of COVID-19 remain the lowest in all the city.

The numbers of tests have grown by 60 percent in the latest results, which were released on Friday by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) for data through Thursday, May 14. The numbers of tests are expected to increase even more this week as a new testing site was established in the Town. That said, the numbers of those tested is still much lower than any other neighborhood, even as the positive rate for those tests is 17.2 percent – among the lowest in Boston.

The next lowest tested neighborhoods were still far higher than Charlestown, with West Roxbury at 1,581 tests and Fenway at 1,448 tests. Some neighborhoods like parts of Dorchester had tested more than 5,500 residents, and East Boston had tested 3,580 residents with a positive rate of 36.3 percent, which was the highest in the city.

Still, confirmed cases remained very low at 149, up 40 from last week, with an infection rate of 76.7 per 10,000 residents. The infection rate was also one of the lowest in the city, only behind Downtown/Back Bay/Beacon Hill at 62.3 per 10,000 and Fenway at 46 per 10,000.

East Boston, conversely, had 1,281 cases and a rate of 273 per 10,000.

Hyde Park had the highest infection rate at 279.9 per 10,000 – something that could be explained by the large numbers of nursing homes and elderly care centers in that neighborhood, though more research is needed on that matter.

Meanwhile, South Dorchester had the highest number of cases, with 1,746.

A clear need in Charlestown, though, is much more testing of a diverse section of the population to get a clearer picture of where the neighborhood stands.

•On the issue of race, Black/African Americans are still affected at much higher rates than other races, with 39 percent of the cases in Boston coming from that population. The date, however, is incomplete with 20 percent of cases not reflecting any race. Hispanic residents also increased a great deal over the week, climbing to 24 percent of the cases after having been at 17 percent last week.

Whites make up 25 percent of all cases, but whites make up 43 percent of all deaths (244 deaths).

As of Tuesday, May 19, there were a total of 12,050 confirmed cases and 5,121 people had recovered. There were 588 deaths from COVID-19 complications.

•The numbers of women affected by the virus also continued to grow larger than men. That was first reported last week as the two genders evened out statistically for the first time, with men having been affected more previously.

Of all the cases, women made up 51.4 percent and men made up 47.4 percent.

Women’s infection rate also grew, sitting at 166 per 10,000, with men at 165.4 per 10,000.

•Most cases are still concentrated heavily in the older adult population.

Figures showed that one in three cases was a person 60 or older. Those age 50-59, though, made up the largest percentage of cases, with 17.2 percent of cases. Those 80 years old and above, had an infection rate of 578.7 per 10,000, much higher than all other age groups.

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