As millions prepare to travel for Christmas and the New Year holiday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has announced expanded free, mobile COVID testing this week for the city's residents regardless of their symptoms.
The new locations include the Washington Park Mall in Roxbury, the Anna M Cole Community Center in Jamaica Plain, and the Boston Renaissance Charter School in Hyde Park.
The expanded testing comes as the city reported an 8-percent positivity rate last week alone, up from 7.2% the week prior.
"Expanding access to COVID-19 testing, particularly in communities facing higher positive test rates of COVID-19, is vital to our response. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have placed equity at the center of our response to ensure every Bostonian can stay healthy," Walsh said in a statement. "As we continue to see elevated COVID-19 activity in Boston, I want to thank our partners for their continued support for the City of Boston and our residents. In Boston, our decisions and planning are guided by public health metrics and the safety of all Bostonians."
Residents say they agree with any additional testing.
“I think it’s a good thing there’s more testing. My son has been tested, he’s a millennial,” said one mom in West Roxbury.
Just last week, the City of Boston rolled back to the second step of phase 2, meaning gyms, movie theaters, and indoor event spaces in the city are shuttered for three weeks.
Walsh said Wednesday that the city has been averaging about 450 cases a day for the last six weeks.
The testing at the mobile sites is being done in conjunction with community health centers and is meant to fill any gaps in testing.
“We think it’s an excellent idea because we tried to actually get testing. We’ve been quarantining as best as we can to have my 90-year-old mother over to my house for Christmas and we’ve tried all of the CVS, everything within 15 miles of West Roxbury, we couldn’t find anything, so it’s pretty impossible,” said Claudette L’Huillier of West Roxbury.
In addition to the city's mobile testing sites, there are 30 testing locations across Boston. Here's what you need to know about the city's expanded testing:
East Boston Neighborhood Health Center: HYDE PARK
Free COVID-19 testing in Hyde Park is operating five days a week, totaling 40 hours of testing availability. Additionally, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center's testing capacity has expanded to 500 tests per day at its mobile site. Testing is drive-thru only, and is located at Boston Renaissance Charter Public School at 1432 Hyde Park Avenue. Individuals must make an appointment online, available through Saturday, Dec. 26. Testing will not be available Thursday, Dec. 24 or Friday, Dec. 25.
"Testing takes on renewed importance during the holiday season, especially given the current surge in cases, and we're honored to partner with Mayor Walsh to support this critical need for the City of Boston," said Manny Lopes, president and CEO of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. "Safe preparation and planning starts now."
Whittier Street Health Center: ROXBURY
Whittier Street Health Center has COVID-19 testing available in Roxbury at Washington Park Mall, located at 333 Warren Street until Dec. 26. Anyone can get tested for free, regardless of symptoms. Individuals are asked to pre-register by calling 617-858-2406 before visiting the site during the hours of operation listed below.
- Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 23, 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 24, 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 26, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
"We are grateful to partner with the City to provide consistent access to COVID-19 testing, which is crucial to help identify, treat, isolate or hospitalize people who are infected. In addition to testing, we also always want to encourage people to follow the CDC guidelines to wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance," said Frederica M. Williams, President & CEO of Whittier Street Health Center. "These prevention strategies are critical in controlling the spread of the virus and keeping all of us safe and healthy."
LCG Boston: Jamaica Plain
In Jamaica Plain, testing is available in partnership with LCG through Wednesday, Dec. 30 at the Anna Mae Cole Community Center, located at the Mildred Hailey Apartments at 24 Heath Street. Testing is available to anyone at no cost and regardless of symptoms and insurance. It is by walk-up only during the hours listed below.
- Sunday, Dec. 20, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 21, 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 23, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 27, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 28 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 30, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
COVID-19 Coverage in Boston
The mobile site testing initiative was originally announced by Walsh in May as a way to help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing.
The mobile testing teams have previously been located in Roxbury, Allston, South Boston, Mattapan, East Boston, and Dorchester.
For more information on where you can get a test, go to Boston.gov/coronavirus or call the mayor's health line with any questions at 617-534-5050.