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Boston will follow the state and lift all COVID-19 restrictions May 29, Janey says

Boston will follow state and lift COVID-19 restrictions on May 29, Janey says
Acting Mayor Kim Janey said Monday that Boston will align with state guidance and lift all COVID-19 restrictions on May 29. (Photo by David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

Acting Mayor Kim Janey said Monday that Boston will align with state guidance and lift all COVID-19 restrictions on May 29.

“But let me be clear,” Janey said during a City Hall briefing. “Our battle against COVID is not over. Reopening our city will only work if we all continue to do our part to fight the pandemic.”

Janey briefed reporters hours after Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts was lifting all restrictions on businesses May 29, with vaccination rates continuing to climb and infection rates remaining low.

“There is good news to share in Boston’s fight against COVID-19,” Janey told reporters. “According to the most recent data, 58 percent of Boston residents have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. We are making progress all across our city, from Roxbury to Roslindale, East Boston to West Roxbury, Boston residents are getting their shot at rates that outpace the rest of the country.”

Janey credited the city’s multi-pronged approach to vaccinations - including mass vaccination sites, community health centers. and mobile vaccine units - for getting much of the population covered.

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“As mayor, I have led a COVID-19 response that is driven by data,” Janey said. “I want everyone to know that COVID data trends in Boston continue to move in the right direction. We have the lowest numbers of active cases since we began tracking over a year ago, in April of 2020. This is because of the efforts Boston residents have made together. ... I want to congratulate the more than 391,000 Boston residents who have already been vaccinated with at least one shot.”

City Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez also briefed reporters, providing several data points showing the Hub has the pandemic on the defensive.

“As of May 11, we are only seeing an average of 63 cases per day in the city,” Martinez said. “Our positivity [rate on tests] is down to 2.1 percent, with no neighborhood over 4.3 percent.”

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The good news doesn’t stop there.

“Our hospital metrics have also gone down,” Martinez said. “We have less than 65 COVID-positive patients in our Boston hospitals. And we have not seen those low numbers in over a year.”

Obviously, Martinez continued, the vaccines are doing what is they’re supposed to do.

“It is clear the vaccines are working to [keep] people from developing serious cases of COVID and greatly decreasing the spread of the virus,” Martinez said. “But while the data shows us it’s working, as the mayor said we must double down on those efforts.”

Martinez said the fight against the virus is not over.

“Our residents are making tremendous progress, but we have more work to do,” Martinez said. “In our communities of color, we still see rates behind that of white Bostonians. And we need to continue our on-the-ground outreach and mobilization to ensure there’s access and awareness of its importance, and that all barriers are broken down to ensure our hardest-hit communities get vaccinated.”

Earlier Monday, state Representative Jon Santiago, a Boston mayoral candidate, had urged the city to follow the state’s lead and open the floodgates on May 29.

“As an ER doctor who serves on the frontlines of COVID, I understand the pandemic as well as anyone,” Santiago said in a statement. “Boston needs to re-open on May 29th - like the state. Our neighborhoods and small businesses can’t wait.”

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Separately during the briefing, Janey highlighted her efforts to reach communities hit hard by the pandemic.

“Only about 30 percent of our Black and brown neighbors are vaccinated, and we must do better,” Janey said. “Today, I am doubling our city’s investment in the Vaccine Equity Grant initiative. The initiative will now provide $3 million in total grants to neighborhood groups working on the ground, door to door, to bring vaccines to the communities that need it most.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


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