Boston's Covid-19 testing positivity rate has fallen from a peak of roughly 32% a couple weeks ago to 18.9% on Friday, Dr. Bisola Ojiktu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said this morning.
Similarly, the daily number of cases on Friday was 50% below the number the week before she said. However, Covid-19-related hospitalization was up 12%, so we're not out of the woods yet, she said.
Ojikutu spoke at a press conference called by Mayor Wu on the city's planned vaccine mandate for its workers, under which they have to show they've been vaccinated or be placed on unpaid leave. The press conference was inside City Hall; outside, Boston firefighters protested.
Wu said the requirement was delayed another week both because many city workers have gotten vaccinated over the past two weeks and because of "major steps forward" in negotiations with city unions over the past weekend.
Wu did not give specifics of the progress, although she did give one example of the sort o "impact bargaining" over the mandate with the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association: A question of whether a police office who is put on unpaid leave can get his job back if he gets a shot a few days later.
She said well over 90% of all city workers have now gotten at least their first vaccination: 94% at BPS, 95% at BPD, 91% at BFD, 95% at BPL, 96% at ISD and 97% at Parks and Recreation. She said several smaller departments, such as the city clerk's office, are at 100% compliance.
Wu said that despite the second week of delay in starting the mandate, the city will be put it into place, now after Jan. 30.
""We are very clear that this policy is necessary and important for public safety and health" of both workers and the public at large, she said.