The Boston Public Health Commission is encouraging precautions before Thanksgiving

Pre-collection testing, obtaining COVID-19 and influenza vaccination can minimize transmission.

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today advised residents to remain vigilant to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and RSV when celebrating Thanksgiving, as indoor gatherings and travel increase the likelihood of transmission.

Levels of the COVID-19 virus in local wastewater are now 404 RNA copies per ml, a 3.3% increase over the past 7 days and a 17.5% increase over the past 14 days. (Data up to November 18).

In addition, the 7-day total of new hospital admissions with COVID-19 increased 44.1% over the past seven days and remained stable, increasing 21.6% over the past two weeks. (Data as of November 17). Boston hospitals are straining to accommodate an influx of pediatric flu and RSV patients, and an increase in COVID-19 cases could put even more pressure on our health care system, so BPHC is urging residents to take appropriate precautions.

“As many people travel and spend time with family, we can reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, influenza and RSV,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of Boston Public Health Commission. “Staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations, getting a flu shot, wearing a well-fitting mask when traveling, and getting tested for COVID-19 before gatherings are important ways to protect yourself, family and friends this holiday season .”

BPHC encourages residents to get tested for COVID-19 before gathering, stay home if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19, wear masks indoors, and while traveling for added protection, keep windows open to encourage proper air filtration, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. Good hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing, regular disinfection of shared surfaces, and covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing are also effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19, RSV, and influenza. If you plan to take a PCR test, be sure to do so by Tuesday, November 22 to ensure you can get your results in time.

COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and tests, as well as flu shots, are widely available in Boston. BPHC offers free COVID-19 and flu services at various locations around the city. The sites below will also have rapid antigen tests for distribution this week while supplies last.

The site holiday hours for next week are as follows:

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building (2302 Washington St., Roxbury)

  • Tuesday, November 22, 12 – 8 p.m. PCR testing, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, flu shots

  • Wednesday, November 23, only distribution of vaccines and boosters against COVID-19, flu shots and rapid antigen test

  • Saturday, November 26, 12 – 8:00 p.m., distribution of only COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, flu shots and rapid antigen tests

BCYF Hyde Park (1179 River St., Hyde Park)

  • Tuesday, November 22, 12 – 8 p.m., testing only

Josephine Fiorentino Community Center (123 Antwerp Street, Allston)

  • Sunday, November 20, 12 – 4 p.m., testing only

  • Monday, November 21, 9 am to 3 pm, testing only

  • Tuesday, November 22, 9 am – 3 pm, testing only

  • Wednesday, November 23, 9 am – 1 pm, testing only

Lena Park Community Development Corporation (150 American Legion Hwy, Dorchester)

  • Monday, November 21, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m

  • Wednesday, November 23, 12 – 7 p.m. Vaccination and Rapid Antigen Test Distribution only

If you or someone in your family tests positive for COVID-19 or the flu, ask your doctor about treatment. Treatments for COVID-19 and flu are available for adults and children and can save lives.

For more information on where to find a COVID-19 vaccination or testing clinic near you, visit boston.gov/covid19.

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