Testing

The City of Cambridge offers free COVID-19 PCR testing 4 days per week for those who live or work in Cambridge.

Testing is available to children and adults of all ages.

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

 

Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

SUNDAYS: Free PCR Tests are offered on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at 50 Church Street.

MONDAYS: Free PCR tests are offered on Mondays from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., at CambridgeSide Mall, 2nd Floor, above the Food Court.

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.

THURSDAYS: Free PCR tests are offered on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., at CambridgeSide Mall, 2nd Floor, above the Food Court.

  • No appointments are needed at any of the sites
  • Free for all, 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
  • Free parking at CambridgeSide lower level of garage (entrance on CambrideSide Place)
  • Testing at CambridgeSide is located on the 2nd Floor above the Food Court

 

Test Results

COVID-19 testing results 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.

Please note:
The City of Cambridge testing program provides test results only. We are unable to provide individualized documentation for travel purposes (e.g., entering passport information into a patient record). For travel documentation, please seek testing through another location; alternative Cambridge testing options are listed below.

Other Ways to Get Tested

To find other testing options, visit www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing. This site lets you search for testing by zip code. The site also provides information about home COVID-19 tests that can be ordered online.

For information about free regional testing in Framingham, Lynn, New Bedford and Revere, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/regional-express-covid-19-testing-sites-in-massachusetts.

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
  • CIC Health
    •  Kendall Square: 2 Broad Canal Way
    • $80 PCR Test, not eligible for health insurance reimbursement
    • Appointment required
    • Parking discount available
    • More information: www.cic-health.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

Tips and FAQs

Can anyone get tested?

Yes. Testing is available to any Cambridge resident who wishes to get tested. Testing is offered at no cost to residents of all ages, including babies. You do not need to have symptoms or meet any other criteria to get tested.

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.

Is there a shortage of tests? Am I taking away a test from someone who needs it more?

There is no shortage of testing supplies in Cambridge. Anyone who wishes to get tested should do so.

If I was 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?

No. 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 are usually available within 24 hours via email but can sometimes take longer. Getting results via phone can take 1-3 business days.

I need proof of a negative test. How can I get that?

You can get proof of a negative test through the CareEvolve portal. People who cannot access the portal can request a letter of proof via secure email message by filling out this form with their name, test date and date of birth. This service is available during business hours and it will take two to four business days to receive the letter. If "the form" is not an option, people can call 617-665-3848 and leave a message with their name, test date and date of birth and request an e-mailed statement

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.

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