Boston health officials, citing data suggesting that COVID-19 is on the rise in the city, urged residents Friday to take precautions, including wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces.
“Cases are increasing, as are hospitalizations. We are following our citywide trends closely, and we suggest that everyone follow recommended precautions to reduce risk,” Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said in a statement.
“Based on current trends, it is essential that people protect themselves and others by wearing masks within indoor crowded settings, testing, isolating if they’re sick, and staying up to date with their vaccinations, which will reduce the risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” she said.
One example of an “indoor crowded setting” where people should wear masks is public transportation, the public health agency said.
The agency said that, as of Thursday, COVID-19 cases had increased by 38.9 percent over the last seven days, and daily hospital admissions and the amount of coronavirus in local wastewater were also up.
Data posted on the city’s coronavirus Dashboard showed that case numbers have turned up since the Fourth of July, but the numbers were still below a recent wave in May and far below the harrowing surge earlier this year.
While there have been “recent upticks,” the agency noted, “instances of severe illness are still low.”
The agency attributed the increases to the emergence of the highly infectious BA.5 variant, as well as people gathering and traveling during the July 4 weekend.
The agency offered a host of suggestions for how people can protect themselves and others.
It recommended, among other things, that people:
– Test for COVID-19 before and after large gatherings, especially if vulnerable or unvaccinated people attend;
– Stay home and isolate if they’re sick or test positive;
– Contact a health provider about treatments if they test positive;
– Get vaccinated and boosted;
– Have gatherings outside and choose outdoor activities;
– Open windows and doors to improve ventilation.
Martin Finucane can be reached at [email protected]