A city analysis of public-health data from 2016 and 2017 shows Bostonians are having healthier babies and are less likely to grow up smoking, or do lots of binge drinking or have unsafe sex than in years past. But the numbers also show a rapid rise in opioid deaths and too many of us are anxious and torpid - fewer Bostonians are exercising and rates of certain chronic diseases remain unchanged. Read more.
The Boston City Council agreed today to hold a hearing on the recent decision of the Boston Public Health Commission to shutter two programs, with a total of 40 beds at the Southampton Street shelter, aimed at helping homeless people - in particular those who are HIV positive - gradually reenter society. Read more.
The Boston Board of Health voted today to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco in the city from 18 to 21. That includes e-cigarettes.
UPDATE: It's norovirus, Boston Public Health Commission reports
When news broke of an apparent foodborne illness striking down BC students who ate at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle, the chain issued a press release that made it sound like it had closed the outlet voluntarily.
In fact, Boston health inspectors ordered the place shut yesterday, both because of those ailments and for two other key reasons:
"There was an employee that was sick during their shift on Thursday."
"Chicken on the service line is 128F and steak is 124F. Provide proper hot holding of 140F or above."
Public-health official say that there have been 65 cases so far - some among people not affiliated with BC.
City health officials and police are trying to figure out what's causing a sharp increase in drug overdoses in Boston this year.
The Boston Public Health Commission said today the city had 32 suspected overdoses this past weekend - concentrated downtown and in East Boston and Dorchester. The same period last year saw just 8 overdoses.
In a statement, the commission said samples from street purchases by Boston Police "have not indicated more potency or drugs laced with particular potentially-fatal substances."
UPDATE: Roxbury Here has a much more detailed report on the Roxbury meeting.
City officials will meet with residents tomorrow evening to discuss their plans for the Radius Specialty Hospital on Townsend Street.
The Bay State Banner reported last week the Boston Public Health Commission is thinking of using the facility for 265 beds in "closed campus" programs - participants would be bused in and out and would not be allowed to leave the Radius campus during their stays.
Apparent enterovirus cases in Boston have been on the decline since they peaked the week of Sept. 20, the city's director of infectious disease said today.
Dr. Anita Barry told the Boston Public Health Commission board that emergency-room visits and hospital admissions for children and teens with severe asthma or other respiratory problems are still running ahead of last year but that rates have been dropping steadily since last month.
Crews are working seven days a week to prepare two dormant public-health buildings in Mattapan for long-term use by halfway programs, while the city looks to rent or buy additional space - including possibly in the closed Radius hospital in Roxbury - for the several years before the bridge to Long Island can be repaired.
WFXT reports the city today shut the long decaying bridge to Long Island, forcing the Boston Public Health Commission to find alternate quarters for the more than up to 400 homeless people who normally spend the night at a shelter there.
Several city councilors say they're not opposed to medical marijuana but that Southampton Street is just the wrong place for one of the two dispensaries provisionally approved by the state because it's already in the middle of an area with large methadone clinics, a jail, trash-transfer facilities and the BU biolab.
And at a hearing today, councilors expressed major disappointment in state officials, none of whom showed up.
Have you seen the new Boston Public Health Commission ads with the guy with the blood-drenched face? Boston Biker has, and is not amused:
Helmets are good, and people should wear them. But showing a kid who looks like someone took a bat to his face is not going to get more people to ride their bike, and I think we would all be better off if more people rode their bikes, with or without helmets.
The Boston Public Health Commission yesterday enacted regulations that prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 - and their use in the workplace. the new rules will also soon make it illegal to sell single cigars and doubles the fines for violations.
The Boston Public Health Commission today approved draft regulations to ban the sale of "e-cgarettes" to minors, prohibit the sales of single cigars and double the fines for violating the city's tobacco-control rules.
The proposed e-cigarette regulations would cover devices that "are made of plastic and metal and heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge to create vapor that the smoker inhales," the board said in a statement.
A Vermont teenager who volunteered at the New England Aquarium is Boston's latest measles patient, the Boston Public Health Commission reports.
The commission says anybody who worked at or visited the aquarium's main building after noon on May 19 or 22 and who isn't sure of their measles immunity status, should stay away from the public until June 9 or June 12, depending on which day. Although measles usually shows up 10 to 12 days after exposure, it can take up to three weeks to develop.
The Boston Public Health Commission reports a sharp rise in flu cases in the under-5 set likely signals the start of more widespread flu cases among adults.
Emergency-room visits for flu-like symptoms in general is up sharply over the past month, but especially among children under 5, the commission said today. Lab-test sampling - not everybody who shows up at an ER with fevery aches has samples sent for testing - shows 21% of cases are now among kids under 5, the commission said.
Went to the Ohrenberger School in West Roxbury today for my swine-flu shot (yep, I'm in one of the risk groups). Based on what I'd read about some other flu clinics, I was braced for a long wait.
But no. There were a gazillion Boston Public Health Commission workers and EMTs there and lots of arrow signs and staunchions and stuff, and even with all the stops along the way to pick up brochures and fill out paperwork and hand in paperwork, I don't think I was there for more than ten minutes.