City of Cambridge to Further Expand COVID-19 Testing in Cambridge

The City of Cambridge announced today that it will further expand COVID-19 testing for Cambridge residents via a new mobile testing pilot program that will initially be launched in The Port neighborhood and in all senior housing buildings overseen by the Cambridge Housing Authority. This pilot program expands the City’s mobile testing capabilities with key populations. The initiative, which is being funded by the City of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and coordinated by the Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD), is a partnership with the Broad Institute and Pro EMS.

The pilot program will be launched in phases, with senior housing testing for residents only beginning at the end of this week and testing in The Port launching the week of May 18. More details on this pilot, including the hours of operation and telephone number to schedule an appointment, will be released later this week

“Expanding testing to key areas of the City is a critical step in our response to COVID-19. We are incredibly fortunate and grateful for the ongoing collaboration with MIT, the Broad Institute and Pro EMS,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale in a joint statement. “We want to thank MIT for partnering with the City to fund this initiative. This new testing pilot will be a critical resource for understanding the impact COVID-19 is having on specific communities in our City and the data will help inform our public health strategies for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Cambridge.”

“Our decision to expand testing in The Port neighborhood and in senior housing sites is based on data the Cambridge Public Health Department has been reviewing regarding COVID-19 area hot spots and how we can best mitigate the impact of the virus in more densely populated locales”, said Claude A. Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer. “The more testing we can conduct, the more information we will have to better understand the infection rate in Cambridge at a given point in time and continue to ease the spread”.

The City of Cambridge has had a strong partnership with the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Pro EMS, which together has provided three rounds of rapid testing in all 7 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, as well as in a number of homeless shelters throughout the city. Cambridge was among one of the first municipalities to work with the Broad Institute and to implement a rapid testing pilot program.

As important as it is to identify and track Cambridge residents who test positive for COVID-19, it is equally important to identify those people with whom a positive case has come into contact in order to conduct contact tracing. CPHD has conducted extensive contact tracing since the city’s first case was reported in March. Contact tracing entails the department’s public health nurses reaching out to notify individuals that they were in contact with someone who tested positive, ask if they are experiencing any symptoms, and urge them to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Contacts are called every day for a symptom and temperature check for the duration of their quarantine.

COVID-19 testing is currently available to all Cambridge residents via a stand-alone testing center at the CHA East Cambridge Care Center located at 163 Gore St., Cambridge. Cambridge residents eight years of age and older are welcome, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Individuals must call to set up an appointment using a new hotline number at 617-665-2928.

The City is committed to identifying new resources to help residents and businesses navigate this difficult time. For more information and to sign up to receive updates on COVID-19, please visit the City’s dedicated information page: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19 

Page was posted on 5/12/2020 1:04 PM
Page was last modified on 5/12/2020 1:14 PM
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