Residents in line for testing

Testing

The City of Cambridge offers free COVID-19 testing 7 days a week for people who live or work in Cambridge. Please see below for details.

As a reminder, a negative test does not mean you cannot spread COVID-19, or get infected with COVID-19, at a later date.

Through a partnership with CIC Health, appointment-only testing is available 7 days per week to people who live or work in Cambridge at CIC Health’s 295 Third Street location in Cambridge during the following hours:

  • MONDAYS - FRIDAYS: Free PCR tests are offered Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS: Free PCR tests are offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.  

Testing Details:

  • To schedule an appointment, please visit https://www.cic-health.com/cambridge. You will need to create a new account and select one of the available appointment slots through CIC’s system.
  • Walk-ins will not be accepted at this site.
  • Residents will receive test results administered at this site through the CIC’s system.
  • Free for all people who live or work in Cambridge, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
  • No identification or Social Security number is required.
  • Site is wheelchair accessible.
  • Appointments for the week will be released on Friday mornings.
  • Several metered parking spots are available nearby on Third St and the site is a 5-min. walk from Kendall T stop (red line). Paid garage parking is also available nearby.
  • Questions related to creating an account, booking an appointment, or accessing test results from the CIC testing site should be directed to CIC’s Customer Service Team at support@cic-health.com or by calling 877-280-2937.

Test Results:

  • COVID-19 testing results from the appointment-only CIC testing site will be provided by CIC Health through their registration system. Questions related to creating an account, booking an appointment or accessing test results at the Saturday testing site should be directed to CIC’s Customer Service Team at support@cic-health.com or 877-280-2937.
Book Appointment

The City offers walk-in testing without appointments on the following days and times:

  • WEDNESDAYS: Free PCR tests are offered on Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church.

Testing Details:

  • No appointments are needed at any of these sites.
  • Free for all people who live or work in Cambridge, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
  • Testing is available to children and adults of all ages.
  • No identification or Social Security number is required.
  • Sites are wheelchair accessible.
  • Testing sites are for those who live or work in Cambridge only.

Test Results:

  • COVID-19 testing results from the walk-in sites on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday will be shared with residents who receive testing at the City of Cambridge testing sites. Test results are typically available within 48 hours on the online patient portal. Residents receive an email from careevolve@lknotification.com, ELLKAY@lknotification.com, or NoReply@lknotification.com alerting them when results are ready on the portal. This email will have a link to the online patient portal and is sent out once the test results are finished processing, usually within 48 hours. Please check your spam folder in case your email was sent there.
  • If you have not heard about your test results within 48 hours, or if you have any questions regarding testing, please email covid@proems.com with your name and date of birth in the request and someone will be in contact with you. Alternatively you can call 617-362-8308 and leave a message, including your name and date of birth and someone will follow up.

Frequently Asked Questions: City Testing Sites

Can anyone get tested at City of Cambridge testing sites?

Free testing is available to anyone who lives or works in Cambridge. Testing is offered for people of all ages, including babies. You do not need to have symptoms or meet any other criteria to get tested. No identification or Social Security number is required.

What type of test is this?

It is a PCR test, which is considered the best and most accepted diagnostic test.  

Does the test hurt?

This is a painless procedure! The City’s testing sites use short nasal swabs, not the long ones that “tickle the brain.” When you get tested, a medical provider will show you how to gently swab the inside of each nostril for a few seconds. The swab (which looks like a Q-tip) won’t go any further inside your nose. The sample will be sent to the lab for testing. Note: Upon request, the medical provider will do your nasal swab if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself.

If I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or in a higher-risk situation, such as traveling through airports, how long should I wait to get tested to get the most accurate result?

After exposure to the coronavirus, it can take up to four to five days for the infection to be detectable by the test. Getting a test too early can lead to a false negative test result. This means that you might test negative but still have COVID-19.  

Is the Cambridge Public Health Department encouraging all residents to get tested on a regular basis?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for figuring how often someone should seek testing. This varies by person and scenario. For instance, you may want to consider getting tested more often if you are frequently in contact with people outside your household, either through your job, school, or personal activities. CPHD encourages residents with specific concerns to seek advice from their medical provider.

How long will it take to get my test results?

Results from City of Cambridge Walk-In testing are usually available within 24-48 hours via email, but can sometimes take longer.

I need proof of a negative test from a City of Cambridge testing site. How can I get that?

You will receive your test results by email and this document is your proof of a negative test. If you have problems accessing your test results, you should contact your testing site administrator:

What does a negative test result mean

A negative test result means you most likely did not have COVID-19 at the time that you were tested. As noted above, however, a false negative result is possible if you have recently been exposed to COVID-19 but the infection hasn’t had time to develop to the point where it can be detected by a test.

If I get a negative result, does that mean I don’t need to worry about precautions such as wearing a mask, physical distancing and hand washing?

If you are not vaccinated, it is very important for you to continue to take these precautions to protect yourself and others. Even if you did not have COVID-19 at the time of your test, there is still the potential for you to become infected after you have a test.

What are some other ways or places to get tested?

To find other PCR testing sites in Massachusetts, go to the state’s Find a COVID-19 Test web page. This site lets you search for PCR testing by zip code. To find free testing sites, click the “free testing” box before you hit the “search” button.

Self-Pay

  • Individuals may choose to pay directly for COVID-19 testing. Costs vary by site.

Testing sites in Cambridge include:

  • Carewell Urgent Care
    • Fresh Pond: 601-603 Concord Ave
    • Inman Square: 1400 Cambridge Street
    • Appointment not required
    • Insurance covers testing only if it is medically necessary (i.e., a clinician determines that the person has symptoms or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19)
    • More information: www.carewellurgentcare.com
  • Walgreens
    • 330 River Street
    • Testing is free regardless of insurance status.
    • Drive-through testing
    • Appointment required
    • More information: www.walgreens.com

Healthcare providers

  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you can also call your primary care provider to ask about testing options. Most healthcare systems have testing available for their patients. Details about Cambridge Health Alliance testing are provided below:

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA)

  • COVID testing is for CHA patients only.
  • Testing is at 195 Canal Street in Malden (CHA Malden).
  • Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Appointments required; CHA patients should call their primary care provider to make an appointment.
  • More information: www.challiance.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-alerts

At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Where to Get At-Home COVID-19 Tests

  • You can order at-home tests for free through the federal government. The tests are delivered through the mail. Each order now includes eight tests. Order here. You do not need to enter any health insurance information.
  • You can get at-home tests for free at local pharmacies through your health insurance plan. Health insurance covers eight at-home tests per month for each person on your plan. Some insurance plans allow you to use your insurance card to pick up tests at a pharmacy for free. Other insurance plans will pay you back for at-⁠home tests.
  • You can purchase tests at local retailers and pharmacies.

Expiration Dates Extended

At-home tests have an expiration date, located on the outside package. However, many expiration dates have been extended through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To check for a new extended date, you can search the FDA’s List of Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests.

If you find your test is still expired even with the extended date, do not use it. It could give an inaccurate or false test result.

More Information: To learn more about at-home test kits, see the Cambridge Public Health Department’s Guide to At-Home COVID-19 Tests.

Frequently Asked Questions: At-Home Rapid Tests

Is there someone at the City you notify if you test positive for COVID-19 with a home test? I want to be “counted” as a case.

Local health departments in Massachusetts and the state health department do not document home antigen tests. The only way to be "counted" in the data is to get a confirmatory PCR test. Most doctors' offices provide confirmatory testing or recommend where you should go so that risk to others is minimized.

I tested positive for COVID-19 with a home test kit. How can I document my recovery from infection for work and travel?

The Cambridge Public Health Department recommends that you get a confirmatory PCR test. Most doctors' offices provide confirmatory testing or can recommend where you should go so that risk to others is minimized. For international travel, you may also need a signed letter from a licensed health care provider stating that you are cleared for travel.
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