Boston has recorded 69 COVID deaths through Monday

In Boston— as of Monday— there have been 4,086 known confirmed cases of COVID-19, 69 deaths, and 489 recoveries.

Another 88 COVID-19 deaths were reported statewide on Monday, bringing the total to 844 deaths attributed to the respiratory disease in Massachusetts. Nearly 44 percent of those deaths, or 378, have been reported in long-term care facilities, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Public Health.

The state is nearly midway through what public health experts believe is the most likely period for the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations to hit Massachusetts, but Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders put it another way during Monday's press briefing: "This is just the eye of the storm."

The state reported 1,392 new COVID-19 cases, much lower than the 2,615 cases logged Sunday, but said no single day's numbers indicate an overall trend because of "day-to-day variability" in reporting by test labs.

A total of 122,049 people in Massachusetts have now been tested for the virus. Race and ethnicity data remains missing or unknown for 66 percent of confirmed cases and 63 percent of deaths.

In his Monday press conference, Mayor Martin Walsh announced that the city is opening a rapid testing center at the Whittier Street Community Health Center in Roxbury.

“A big part of ensuring equity is making sure that communities have access to screening and testing, and that we have strong partners in the community that we can work with,” said Walsh. “Starting today, we will be working with the Whittier Street Community Health Center to make testing more accessible to all residents. The center will be offering scheduled rapid result testing to all.”

Last week, the mayor formed a task force to focus on health disparities in the city. The task force is composed of 24 members including former state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, former State Rep. Marie St. Fleur, Dr. Jean Alves of the Bowdoin Street Health Center, Chief Financial Officer of the Mattapan Community Health Center Guale Valdez, and Reverends Ray Hammond and Gloria White Hammond of the Bethel AME Church.

“At our first meeting we identified priority areas including testing, collecting more data, community action and understanding the economic impacts," said Mayor Walsh. "We’ve already started putting the ideas into action because we know this work is moving quickly and urgently."

There is incomplete data available about race and ethnicity related to COVID-19 cases. The race and ethnicity is only known in about 62 percent of the known cases in the city so far.

But, preliminary data released last week by the city's Public Health Commission indicated that of those in which race and ethnicity is known— 42 percent of Boston residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 are Black.

We know that there are significant inequities that put our communities of color and immigrant population at higher risk for contracting coronavirus, developing severe illness, and impeding them from accessing care," Mayor Walsh said.

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