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Boston Public Health Commission Encourages Precautions Ahead of Thanksgiving

Testing before gathering, getting COVID-19 and flu vaccinations can minimize transmission.

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

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

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

“As many people travel and spend time with family, we can reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19, flu, and RSV,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, getting a flu shot, wearing a well-fitted mask while traveling and testing for COVID-19 before gathering are important ways to protect yourself and your family and friends during this holiday season.”  

BPHC encourages residents to test 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 promote proper air filtration, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. Proper hygiene practices like washing hands often, regularly disinfecting shared surfaces, and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing are also effective for reducing the spread of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu. If you plan on getting a PCR test, make sure to do so by Tuesday, November 22, to ensure you can get your results back in time. 

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

The sites' holiday hours for the coming 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 vaccines 

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

  • Saturday, November 26, 12 - 8 p.m., COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, flu vaccines, and rapid antigen test distribution only 

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 a.m. – 3 p.m., testing only  

  • Tuesday, November 22, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., testing only  

  • Wednesday, November 23, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 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 & rapid antigen test distribution only 

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

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

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