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City of Boston launches major expansion of COVID-19 testing

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Published by:

Public Health Commission

In this next phase of testing expansion, the City is aiming to reach an average of at least 1,500 diagnostic tests per day to residents.

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that his Administration is moving forward with a rapid expansion of COVID-19 testing, building on his continued commitment to ensure equitable access to testing for Boston residents. In this next phase of testing expansion, the City of Boston is aiming to reach an average of at least 1,500 diagnostic tests per day to residents, targeting efforts in each neighborhood, while prioritizing populations most vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19. The City has been working continuously to increase testing in Boston and currently an average of 1,100 tests are conducted per day of Boston residents across all available testing sites, up from an average of 680 tests conducted per day the previous week.

"Testing helps people get the care they need and avoid passing the virus on to others," said Mayor Walsh. "Increasing our testing efforts allows our public health experts to better track the outbreak and it will continue to be essential in our progress toward recovery. Public health models tell us that the more testing we can do, the more we can reduce our positive infection rate, giving us the data and confidence we need to move forward safely."

As part of the expansion, the City will work to expand the current testing infrastructure that exists to increase the number of community health centers offering testing and increasing their testing capacity by 50 percent in the next month. In addition, the City will partner with two hospitals to expand community-based testing over the next month. 

Mobile testing

The City will expand mobile testing capacity in Boston with a targeted goal of testing an average of 150 residents a day, operating six days per week. Mobile testing will help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing.

Surveillance testing for targeted populations

As part of the ongoing work to make testing available for groups at risk of faster spread and more severe illness from COVID-19, the City will work to complete universal testing for individuals experiencing homelessness and then begin universal testing for other high-impact populations and sites, including first responders.

Additionally, the City of Boston is moving forward with universal COVID-19 testing for all unhoused individuals in Boston. The City recently secured 1,000 tests donated by the Boston company Orig3n. As testing is completed, individuals who are positive will get the care and support they need to recover. Individuals who are negative will be placed in designated areas to allow for better social distancing and help slow the spread of the virus.

Antibody testing

As the City ramps up testing, a large-scale antibody testing initiative is underway to help better understand the spread of COVID-19 in Boston, which will help inform the path to recovery. The City is working with Massachusetts General Hospital to test 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents for both the COVID-19 virus and COVID-19 antibodies. The data and collective results are expected to be available next week. Following this study, the City is looking to expand antibody testing to more Bostonians including targeted populations such as first responders. 

The City of Boston has been partnering with community health centers to increase access to testing, particularly in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. This week, the number of tests among Boston residents increased by 44 percent from the previous week, according to the latest data from the Boston Public Health Commission. There have been close to 28,000 COVID-19 tests in Boston residents, accounting for about 4 percent of the City's population. Out of the total number of tests, the percentage of those who tested positive went down from almost 34 percent to 32 percent in the last week. 

Testing among East Boston residents increased by 76 percent during the last week and had a lower percent positive of positive tests compared to previous data, but still had the highest percentage positive among all neighborhoods. Mattapan, Roxbury, West Roxbury and Hyde Park experienced the largest decreases in percent positives comparing the past week with previous data. The latest numbers of cases by Boston neighborhoods are available here.

Mayor Walsh and the Resiliency Fund Steering Committee have dedicated over $1,000,000 to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct culturally appropriate outreach and education to community health centers across City of Boston neighborhoods, including Bowdoin Street Community Health CenterCodman Square Community Health CenterThe Dimock CenterDotHouse HealthMattapan Community Health CenterUphams Corner Community Health CenterWhittier Street Community Health CenterCharles River Community HealthFenway HealthGreater Roslindale Medical & Dental CenterHarbor HealthEast Boston Neighborhood Health CenterHarvard Street Neighborhood Health CenterSouthern Jamaica Plain Health Center, and Brookside Community Health Center. The Fund has also supported telehealth services and equipment at those community health centers as well to connect testing to safe treatment options at home.  

Boston is offering testing in five hospitals and 18 health centers. Residents can find a map of testing sites on boston.gov/coronavirusResidents are asked to call ahead for pre-screening and to schedule an appointment, unless otherwise noted. Residents can click on the interactive map to find the testing center with hours, address and contact information. It will be updated as new sites become available for testing.

TESTING FACILITY ADDRESS CONTACT

Codman Square Health Center

637 Washington Street

Dorchester, MA 02124

617-822-8271

The Dimock Center

45 Dimock Street

Roxbury, MA 02119

617-442-8800

Ext. 2683

DotHouse Health

1353 Dorchester Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02122

617-740-2292

Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center

632 Blue Hill Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02121

617-825-3400

Mattapan Community Health Center

1575 Blue Hill Avenue

Mattapan, MA 02126

617-296-0061

Whittier Street Health Center

1290 Tremont Street

Roxbury, MA 02120

617-427-1000

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

10 Gove Street 

East Boston, MA 02128

 

Drive Thru Location:

525 William F McClellan Hwy East Boston, MA 02128

617-569-5800

Upham's Corner Health Center

415 Columbia Road

Dorchester, MA 02125

617-388-5007

Bowdoin Street Health Center

230 Bowdoin Street

Dorchester, MA 02122

617-754-0100

Brigham and Women’s Mobile Testing

At BCYF Tobin from May 4 -9, 2020

1481 Tremont Street 

Roxbury, MA 02120

 

*Walk-in basis only, from 9 a.m. -5 p.m.

South Boston Community Health Center

Coming soon

 

Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center

4199 Washington Street Roslindale, MA 02131

617-323-4440

Charles River Community Health

Coming soon

 

Fenway Health

1340 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02215

617-927-6000

Daniel Driscoll Neponset Health Center (Harbor Health)

398 Neponset Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02122

617-282-3200

Brookside Community Health Center (accepting patients from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center)

Coming soon

 

NEW Health Charlestown

Coming soon

 

Brigham and Women's Hospital

(Boston main campus)

75 Francis Street

Boston, MA 02115

617-732-5500

Carney Hospital

2100 Dorchester Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02124

617-296-4000

Massachusetts General Hospital 

55 Fruit Street

Boston, MA 02114

617-726-2000

St. Elizabeth Medical Center

736 Cambridge Street

Brighton, MA 02135

617-789-3000

Tufts Medical Center

885 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02111

617-636-0019

Residents will not be charged for testing regardless of insurance or immigration status. Call the Mayor's Health Line at (617) 534-5050 for help with health insurance applications, navigating Boston's health care system, and with COVID-19 questions.

Resources and information about COVID-19 are available online. Resources available on boston.gov and through City departments include support for renters and homeowners; small businesses; free meals for Boston students and families; free toiletries for Boston students; emergency childcare centers; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; transportation options for health care workers; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. 

For additional questions or programs, please visit our coronavirus website or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on a regular basis, available in 11 languages.