Boston's days of falling coronavirus rates appear to over, at least for now, and Mayor Marty Walsh says he's concerned that the latest numbers may indicate a greater surge in cases than the city saw in the spring.
The city has reported more than 400 coronavirus cases for two straight days, "a significant uptick, quite honestly," from what it had been seeing before Thanksgiving, Walsh noted at his regular update on COVID-19 in Boston Thursday afternoon.
"The feel I'm getting here is that these numbers could exceed what we saw in April in May, and then we have real problems," Walsh said.
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As of Wednesday, the latest figures available, Boston had recorded 28,053 coronavirus cases, an increase of 418 over the previous day. Six new deaths were reported, for a total of 925. On Tuesday, the city reported 407 new coronavirus cases, which Walsh said then was the most in a single day since June.
Boston's not alone in seeing a serious uptick in COVID-19 cases -- Massachusetts on Wednesday reported its highest number of cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
Walsh said he had been encouraged when the city was recently reporting an average of under 200 cases per day. That's changed: "If we're in the 400 range, I'm going to be very concerned." Particularly concerning is the rising numbers of hospitalizations in the city.
Where just a few days ago he'd been talking about what it would take to reopen Boston Public Schools, "it's in the back of our mind what happens now if these numbers continue to go up," he said Tuesday.
Asked what options the city has to combat the rising case numbers, Walsh said his administration has done nearly all it can. Schools are closed for all but students with the greatest need for in-person learning, there's a curfew in place aimed at ending late-night gatherings -- which Walsh believes is at least partially driving the uptick in cases -- and there's a mask order as well.
"There's not much more we can do other than shutting down, and that's a last resort," he said.
Statewide, Massachusetts health officials reported that the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 jumped by more than 4,600 on Wednesday — a one-day record since the start of the pandemic — while the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths increased by 46.
The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 10,588 and its confirmed caseload since the start of the pandemic to nearly 225,800.
There were nearly 1,260 people reported hospitalized Wednesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 260 in intensive care units.
The average age of those hospitalized was 68.
The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities rose to 6,819.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.