Boston officials report small increases in COVID-19 cases; urge booster shots – The Boston Globe

Boston is seeing small upticks in COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations, officials said Friday, urging residents to get the new Omicron-specific booster shot as the virus continues to sicken residents more than two and a half years into the pandemic.

New cases have increased by 8.5 percent over the past week and 37.7 percent over the past 14 days, figures that don’t include at-home or rapid tests, according to a weekly update from the Boston Public Health Commission.

There have been 155 new COVID-related hospitalizations it the past week, for a 7.6 uptick over that period and a 24 percent rise over the past two weeks, according to the update.

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COVID-19 levels are stable in local wastewater, having ticked down 2.8 percent in the last week, but they have jumped by 24.3 percent over the previous 14 days and at last count contained 614 RNA copies of the virus per milliliter, officials said.

“The upticks in our metrics across the board are a reminder that COVID-19 is still spreading throughout our communities and that people can still get very sick from this virus,” Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the city’s commissioner of public health and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said in the update.

“I advise all residents to take the necessary precautions to stay safe by getting vaccinated or boosted now,” Ojikutu continued. “Don’t wait for cases to increase further or when you plan on spending more time indoors with family to get up to date on your vaccines.”

The public health commission said everyone who is eligible should get the new Omicron-specific booster for the vaccine as soon as they can, adding that the booster increases immunity against both the original virus strain and the newer variants. This booster is available to those 12 and older who completed their primary vaccination at least two months earlier.

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More than 78 percent of Boston residents are fully vaccinated, and 46.6 percent of children in the city age 5 to 11 are vaccinated, officials said. Among Boston children age 6 months to 4 years, 11 percent are vaccinated, officials said.

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