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Mayor Walsh says city trying to help residents facing eviction stay in their homes

Mayor Walsh.
Mayor Walsh.Matt Stone

Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Thursday said the city’s working to help residents facing eviction stay in their homes with the statewide eviction moratorium set to end Oct. 17.

Walsh said an ordinance being filed with the City Council would require that any property owner who sends an eviction notice, or notice to quit, to a tenant must also provide that tenant with a notice outlining that person’s rights and resources during an eviction process.

Noting that the city’s “facing a potential crisis” with the moratorium set to end, Walsh said officials are also sending out a mailer in nine different languages to about 46,000 households around the city that might be at risk of eviction. The notice, he said, “tells them clearly that they don’t have to [immediately] leave their homes if they receive a notice to quit.”

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Walsh also addressed reports of a video of a Black jogger stopped by men sporting ICE badges on the VFW Parkway in West Roxbury.

“It was a disturbing video to watch. It was unacceptable in so many ways,” said Walsh. He said ICE has “not confirmed or denied” whether their agents were in Boston, and that he spoke with the jogger Wednesday morning depicted in the video.

“Incidents like this have no place in our city” or nation, Walsh said, adding that he’s reached out to Boston police with a request that they contact federal authorities to see what’s happening.

“Clearly he was shaken up yesterday,” Walsh said of the jogger. “It’s still unclear why this happened.”

Walsh was joined at the news conference by city Health and Human Services chief Marty Martinez, who reported that the rate of positive coronavirus tests has crept up to a level the city hasn’t seen since early June.

For the seven-day period ending Oct. 3, the average number of positive tests per day has spiked from 65.6 the prior week to 73, out of about 1,800 people tested per day, Martinez said. He said the average positive test rate for the week ending Oct. 3 was 4.1 percent, the first time the city had hit that mark since June.

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“We continue to see an increase in COVID activity week after week,” Martinez said.

He said city officials continue to take steps to mitigate the spread, including mobile testing in hard hit areas. He said officials are also working to determine whether the 4.1 percent reading represents a trend or “simply a bump in the road.”

Asked what’s driving the spike in cases, Martinez said “unfortunately it’s a combination of a lot of different things.”

He said “most neighborhoods are seeing an uptick,” with people under 29 accounting for the “largest uptick.” In addition, he said, during the last two weeks, officials have seen “the largest population being within the Latino community.”

Martinez stressed that “that doesn’t mean that anything in particular is happening, but we know who it’s happening to, and why we see the rates continuing to climb. So there’s not one reason, but I think it’s really important, the mayor’s earlier message - everything that Bostonians can do to socially distance, to wear face coverings and to not gather in groups and wash their hands, all of that’s really important.”

Walsh said there were 63 new cases in Boston Tuesday, bringing the city’s total since the start of the pandemic to 17,712. There were no new deaths Tuesday, he said, so the city’s tally of coronavirus fatalities remains at 764.

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“Our prayers go out to the families of those who lost loved ones during this terrible time, and also to the families that are sick and suffering with COVID-19,” Walsh said.

He urged people to continue taking precautions such as face coverings, hand washing, and physical distancing, and he stressed that residents should “avoid parties and large gatherings of any kind. Please don’t put a party ahead of your ability to get our kids back in school.”

Walsh also announced that with the city positivity rate rising, officials will delay the start of in-person learning for the next phase of students who were slated to return on Oct. 15, but will continue in-person classes for students who have already returned.

He also chided President Trump for holding a recent Rose Garden ceremony that he called possibly the biggest “breach of national security in the history of our country,” as few of the many guests wore masks and were seen hugging and shaking hands amid coronavirus pandemic.

“In that one event, the president of the United States has come down with COVID-19,” Walsh said during his regular press conference outside City Hall. “Three US senators, the secretary of our treasury, and a whole host of other people ... by not taking the precautions they should have.”

Felicia Gans of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

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Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.