Boston's Health Commission has issued a warning amid an "early and rapid" rise of flu cases in the city.
There have been more than 700 cases of influenza reported in the City of Boston in the last week, which brings the total number of cases in the city to 1,784 since Oct. 1, according to a news release.
Boston health officials also noted a rapid increase in flu-related hospitalizations among children during the past week.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
These latest statistics mark a "concerning" trend for the city. The highest number of flu cases reported in a given week last year was 250, which happened during the peak of flu season in mid-December. This spike in flu cases seems to be happening earlier in the season than usual.
According to the data compiled by the city, the highest number of cases reported is among children and adolescents younger than 18, as well as Black and Latinx/Hispanic people.
Neighborhoods with the highest case rates include Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain and the South End.
Boston health officials are urging people to make sure they are up to date on their flu and COVID-19 vaccines, amid the ongoing spread of respiratory viruses and ahead of the holiday season.
“With flu spreading throughout Boston at such a high rate, there’s an urgent need for more residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves and help avoid an even greater influx of cases and hospitalizations during and after the holidays,” Dr. Bisola Ojikutu said, who is the Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “I urge everyone to be safe this holiday season. Stay home if you’re sick and call your doctor to ask about treatments for flu and COVID-19, in addition to staying up to date on vaccinations, wear a mask indoors to reduce your risk of illness."
The Boston Public Health Commission provided the following list of walk-in locations where it provides free flu vaccines, as well as COVID-19 testing, vaccines and boosters. You don't need insurance or an ID.
- Bruce C. Bolling Building – 2302 Washington St., Roxbury.
- Open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 12-8pm.
- Lena Park Development Corporation – 150 American Legion Highway,
- Dorchester. Open Sundays from 10am-2p; Mondays & Fridays from 9:30am-5:30pm; and Wednesdays from 12-7pm.
- Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center – 123 Antwerp St., Allston.
- Open Sundays from 12-4pm; Monday-Wednesday from 9am-3pm; and Thursdays from 5-9pm.
- BCYF Hyde Park – 1179 River St., Hyde Park.
- Open Tuesdays from 12-8pm and Thursdays from 9am to 5pm.