Charlestown Still Struggling to Get More Resident Testing Done

The rates of COVID-19 cases and the positive rates per test continue to be low and to get lower for Charlestown, but testing of the neighborhood is still much lower than anywhere else in Boston.

A new testing site has been placed at NEW Health Charlestown and has been running a little more than a week, with the hope of ramping up to testing 60 people per week.

To date, after having received the newest neighborhood statistics from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) on Friday afternoon for numbers as of May 21 at 1:18 p.m., Charlestown has had 972 people tested – nearly 50 percent lower than the second closest community of Fenway, which has had 1,719 tested. Just two weeks ago, Charlestown had seen 757 people tested, so only 215 more people have been tested since May 7 despite the rest of the City ramping up significantly.

The neighborhood with the most people tested was South Dorchester, with 6,582 people tested, while East Boston had 4,137 people tested.

Despite that, the numbers for Charlestown are trending in the right direction for most every category. There were 10 new cases since the previous week, bringing the total to 159 positive cases since the outbreak began, with an infection rate of 81.9 per 10,000. The Town had the fewest cases of any neighborhood and the third lowest infection rate – all good news comparatively.

On the subject of testing, the numbers of positive tests was also down, going from 17.2 percent last week to 16.4 percent on May 21. The numbers of positive tests is an important indicator that many health professionals are now watching, noting that it shows more accurately the strength of the virus as time goes on and testing increases.

Positive test percentages have lowered all over the city, with East Boston still having the highest percentage at 34.5 percent positive out of 4,137 tests.

The most cases are still in South Dorchester with 1,890 positive cases, but the highest infection rate at 298 per 10,000 in Hyde Park.

•One new piece of information this week – as of May 26 – was the City began keeping track of deaths in long-term care facilities, or nursing homes.

There had been 622 deaths in Boston from COVID-19 complications and 296 had been in long-term care facilities – at around 47.5 percent of all deaths.

That was new information and shone a light upon where the vast amount of deaths and sickness are occurring – which is in long-term care facilities and in communities/neighborhoods with several of those facilities, such as Hyde Park.

•The divide between men and women remained in the current numbers, with women being more prone to be infected than men – which is an outlier amongst the world trends.

This week, 51 percent of all cases were in women, while 47.5 percent were in men. That was the same as the previous week, but up since the pandemic began.

•The vast majority of cases remains in the older population, with one in three COVID-19 positive persons age 60 or above.

The largest age group with positive cases was age 50-59 with 17.5 percent of all cases. The highest infection rate, as has been the case for some time, is in the 80-plus population, which is at 599 per 10,000. That substantially higher than the next closest age group, 70-79, which is at 328 per 10,000. This trend has been the case for more than a month.

•Racial data continues to show Black/African Americans leading in the numbers of cases for the data available (18.4 percent of the data is missing or incomplete for race). They accounted for 31.3 percent of overall cases.

Yet, at the same time, the group most closely watched is the Latino population, which has been climbing steadily over the last three weeks. They have decreased to 20 percent of all cases after jumping to 24 percent last week. Still, it is much higher than initially in Boston.

White residents account for 20.5 percent of all cases, but 44 percent of all deaths. •As of May 26, there were 12,521 confirmed cases, with 6,019 recovered and out of isolation

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