Mayor Wu said the city installed heating tents outside the Anna Cole Covid-19 testing site in Jackson Square today so that if people continue to have to wait in a long line for a test, at least they don't have to freeze.
But at a press conference after touring the testing site at Tufts Medical Center, Wu said the city is also now planning a "high capacity" testing site for walk-in patients, possibly at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, to help alleviate the wait - which has sometimes reached three hours - for testing at Boston's increasingly overburdened existing test sites.
She said the city is now trying to work up an online system to let people know what the wait times might be at specific sites.
Wu added that at Tufts, the "vast majority" of Covid-19 patients at Boston hospitals now are unvaccinated. Dr. Helen Boucher, an infectious-disease specialist at Tufts, said that "almost 90%" of the people in the hospital's ICU with Covid-19 are unvaccinated.
Wu and hospital officials said that one of the issues with having large pockets of unvaccinated patients in hospital beds is that that causes a ripple effect as hospitals are forced to cancel or postpone procedures for patients who need other types of medical care.
Wu said that roughly 650 BPS teachers were out today, both because of Covid-19 and other reasons. But she said that at some schools, up to a quarter of all teachers are out - and that central administrators, including Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, were summoned for teaching duty today.
She said BPS may have to look at "snow day" scenarios at harder hit schools because of the state's continuing "rigidity" in not allowing any remote learning at all.
Wu added she is confident that the majority of city workers who have yet to get shots will do the right thing and get shots by Jan. 15, when the city's new vaccine mandates go into effect. The mandates both require all city workers to get at least their first shot by then and require people to show proof of at least one shot to enter restaurants, museums, arenas, gyms and other public indoor spaces.