Suffolk County

Health officials elevate Boston area to ‘high COVID-19 risk’, public urged to take precautions

BOSTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that Suffolk County’s Community Risk Level for COVID-19 has been elevated from “medium” to “high” and now officials are urging the public to take precautions.

The Boston Public Health Commission says the city continues to see concerning levels of COVID-19 across many of its local wastewater samples, including a 42% increase of viral concentration over the past 7 days and a 116% increase in the past 2 weeks.

“We should all be masking indoors, staying home when sick, and testing for COVID-19. In addition, getting boosted is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness and hospitalization,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). “Based on the trends, it is imperative that we all protect ourselves and others. I understand there’s a very high level of pandemic fatigue, but the numbers speak for themselves.”

The high risk announcement comes just days after Boston schools are considering a “temporary masking mandate.”

Boston health officials say in addition to the wastewater samples, the city’s COVID-19 testing sites are reporting a 22% increase over the past week and through January 4, hospitals have reported a 41% increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations.

The BPHC recommends the following steps to protect you and your loved ones from the recent surge in cases:

  • Get your omicron-specific bivalent booster as soon as possible. If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccination, begin the series immediately.
  • Wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask indoors and on public transportation.
  • Test for COVID-19 before and after attending indoor gatherings.
  • Stay home if you’re sick or test positive for COVID-19.
  • Get your annual flu shot.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW