The Boston Public Health Commission on Thursday encouraged residents take precautions against COVID-19 following a “significant spike” in virus particles found in local waste water, suggesting higher levels of community spread, officials said.
The levels are the highest seen since May and have more than doubled over the past week, the commission said in a statement, pointing to increased time indoors related to the changing seasons, beginning of the school year, and arrival of college students in the city.
Because testing data often lags behind waste water measures, officials expect to see rises in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the coming days, they said.
“This spike in our waste water concentration is of great concern and another reminder that the pandemic is far from over,” Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the city’s commissioner of public health, said in the statement. “The key to protecting ourselves remains the same, and these tools are particularly important given this current trend: get vaccinated, get boosted, and wear masks indoors.”
The commission will host a free, family-focused vaccination and booster clinic at Franklin Park’s White Stadium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with $75 gift cards available for those age 18 and under who get boosted or vaccinated, as well as an accompanying parent or guardian who gets boosted or vaccinated, according to the statement. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged and can be made online online, officials said.
Officials also recommend that people continue to wear masks indoors in public spaces to lower their risk of infection.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the eligibility requirements for gift cards at the Saturday vaccination clinic. The Globe regrets the error.