City Program Administers over 11,000 Free COVID-19 Tests

The City of Cambridge has provided over 11,000 free COVID-19 tests to people in Cambridge since last spring through its mobile testing program. Residents can get tested regardless of whether they have symptoms or feel ill. No health insurance or ID is required.

“This has been a highly successful program,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “Demand for testing remains high, and we’re now testing several thousand people a month at two neighborhood sites. I especially want to thank the Cambridge Public Health Department, Pro EMS, Cambridge Police and Fire departments, and the Broad Institute for their support and ongoing commitment to this initiative.”

Since July 1, over 7,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered through the city-funded program. This is in addition to tests provided to residents at other venues, such as urgent care centers, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies. According to state data, a total of 25,496 tests were administered to Cambridge residents during the two-week period ending September 12, the third highest total in Massachusetts for that period, after Boston and Worcester.

Of these tests, 0.16% were positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days. This low "positivity rate" indicates that the level of coronavirus transmission, relative to the amount of testing, is extremely low at this point in time in Cambridge. The positivity rate for the Commonwealth was 0.9% during the same 14 day period.

“September is National Preparedness Month, and a good reminder to all of us to continue to take actions that prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include getting tested, especially if you have symptoms or feel that you might have been exposed to the virus,” said Claude A. Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer and Director of the Cambridge Public Health Department.

Mobile testing began in Cambridge in early April when the Cambridge Public Health Department teamed up with Pro EMS ambulance service and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide onsite testing to every resident and staff member in all skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Cambridge. This effort was supported by the Cambridge COVID-19 Task Force, whose members represented the Cambridge Health Alliance, the Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge Police and Fire departments, Pro EMS, and Mount Auburn Hospital. Later in April, the Cambridge Fire Department helped expand the initiative to homeless shelters, senior housing, and neighborhoods that were experiencing higher rates of COVID-19.

City-funded testing sites, available to all residents, have been operating continuously since July. Testing is currently being offered at two neighborhood sites in West Cambridge and The Port. To learn more about getting tested, go to the City’s testing web page, Cambridgema.gov/covid19/testing.

Page was posted on 9/18/2020 3:50 PM
Page was last modified on 9/18/2020 6:20 PM
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