BOSTON (CBS) - The Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission outlined a four-part strategy to combat the current COVID-19 surge, as the city's positivity rate tops 5%.
Dr. Bisola Ojikutu told reporters that the city is trying to tackle the pandemic from all angles.
"With this increase in cases, emergency department visits and hospitalizations are up compared to two weeks ago. It is important to note, though, among hospitalized individuals approximately two thirds are unvaccinated," Ojikutu.
The strategy includes holding seven walk-in vaccine clinics as well as high-capacity clinics at locations such as City Hall. The city will also provide 20,000 free at home rapid tests to high-risk communities. The last two parts of the strategy include increasing community outreach and doubling down on preventative measures such as indoor masking.
Ojikutu said that about 67 percent of Bostonians are vaccinated but only 21 percent have received their booster shots. She also said that about a quarter of kids ages 5 to 11 in Boston have received their vaccines with large racial disparities.
Asked whether Boston would pursue a vaccine mandate for private businesses, like the one announced in New York City, Mayor Michelle Wu said she is looking at all options.
"Everything is on the table," Wu said.
Mayor Wu announced members of a new COVID advisory committee on Monday. The group will be tasked with helping guide the city's response to any new developments in the pandemic.
On Saturday, a woman in her 20s from Middlesex County became the first case of the Omicron variant confirmed in Massachusetts. The variant has now been detected in 17 states.
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