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Suffolk County Remains at Low COVID-19 Community Levels

BPHC Encourages COVID-19 Safety During St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations 

BOSTON – March 17, 2023 – The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), is encouraging residents to be mindful of the risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. While Suffolk County is still at low COVID community risk level according to the CDC, gathering in large groups, particularly indoors, increases the risk of transmission.  

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but when you gather in large groups indoors there is always an increased risk of transmitting and acquiring respiratory infections, including COVID-19,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “My advice to everybody is to stay home if you are sick and get boosted if you have not done so yet.” 

New COVID-19 cases have decreased 10% over past 7 days and by 34% over past 14 days. New COVID-19 related hospitalizations have stabilized over the past week (1% increase) but have decreased by 34% over the past two weeks. The latest data from Boston’s wastewater surveillance program show a citywide average of 479 RNA copies/mL, representing a 46% decrease over the past 14 days. Nine of the 11 neighborhoods surveyed are below this average. 

Residents should also make sure they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, and those interested in receiving the $75 gift card incentive for a vaccine or booster should do as soon as possible. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is ending this incentive program after March 31, meaning BPHC will no longer give out the $75 gift cards at its standing clinics. 

BPHC also recommends residents at high risk for severe infection wear a mask indoors to increase their protection against respiratory viruses. Additionally, testing for COVID-19 prior to gathering and staying home if you are sick or if you test positive are recommended. Free rapid test kits are available at BPHC standing sites listed below.  

COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and boosters are free and widely available at BPHC’s five standing sites.  

BCYF Hyde Park – 1179 River St., Hyde Park  

  • Open Tuesdays 12-8pm and Thursdays 7am-3pm  

Boston City Hall – 1 City Hall Sq., Boston   

  • Open Mondays 7am-1pm and Wednesdays 12-5pm   

Bruce C. Bolling Building – 2300 Washington St., Nubian Square  

  • Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 12-8pm   

Josephine Fiorentino Community Center – 123 Antwerp St., Allston  

  • Open Sundays 12-4pm; Mondays-Wednesdays 9am-3pm; Thursdays 5-9pm  

Lena Park Community Development Center – 150 American Legion Hwy., Dorchester  

  • Open Sundays 10am-2pm; Tuesdays and Fridays 9:30am-5:30pm; Wednesday 11am-7pm.   

For more information on testing and vaccination sites around Boston, visit  


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