Free service will augment existing test site at Somerville Hospital
SOMERVILLE, MA – The City of Somerville, Cataldo Ambulance, and Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) formally launch their mobile COVID-19 testing unit in Somerville this week. The mobile unit, designed to lower barriers to testing and offer equitable access, is the next phase of the City’s COVID Action Plan to control the spread of the virus via testing, contact tracing, and safe isolation. The mobile testing unit will accept patients by appointment at roaming locations, as well as hold designated testing days for residents of senior housing buildings. This testing is in addition to the Crown St. testing location at Somerville Hospital, where the City and Cambridge Health Alliance have offered free testing to Somerville residents since April.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have learned that increased testing and contract tracing are vital in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “But if we’re going to expand testing effectively and equitably, offering more testing can only be part of the plan. People also need to be able to access the testing site. We’re happy to have been able to work with our partners at Cataldo and CHA to bring testing directly to our residents.”
Individuals seeking tests at either the Somerville Hospital site or the mobile testing site do not need to be symptomatic and do not need insurance or a doctor’s referral. Immigration status will not be checked. The only requirement is that individuals must be Somerville residents and MUST CALL 617-665-2928 to set up an appointment. City of Somerville Health and Human Services Department staff will call residents of senior housing ahead of time to schedule on-site appointments.
“Mayor Curtatone and the City of Somerville have been incredibly supportive of the COVID-19 testing at our Somerville campus since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Assaad Sayah, MD, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance. “We share their commitment to this public health imperative and are excited to partner with Cataldo Ambulance to use a mobile testing service to provide another avenue for Somerville residents to access this important resource.”
Cataldo Ambulance staff will be administering the tests and CHA will process the tests. Everyone who is tested will receive guidance on how to protect themselves and family members while test results are pending. This information is available in multiple languages. For those who test positive, City Public Health nurses will reach out to conduct contact tracing and offer ongoing support as needed to residents to ensure they can recover safely. Those who need guidance, food, counseling, or supplies will be aided in accessing information and support. Individuals who must isolate and need notes for employers will receive them from the Board of Health.
“We are happy to be able to assist some of the city’s most vulnerable residents by providing mobile testing. Many residents don’t have the means, or desire, to leave their own communities in order to get tested. The City offering the ability to have tests brought directly to them is a great service,” said Dan Hoffenberg, Vice President of Cataldo Ambulance Service.
The schedule for the coming weeks is as follows:
Wednesday, June 17, noon to 2 p.m. – Prospect Hill Academy, 17 Franklin St.,
Friday, June 19, 1 to 3 p.m. – Prospect Hill Academy, 17 Franklin St.,
Wednesday, June 24, noon to 2 p.m., Prospect Hill Academy, 17 Franklin St.,
Friday, June 26, 1 to 3 p.m. – Prospect Hill Academy, 17 Franklin St.,
Monday, June 29, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., East Somerville Community School, 50 Cross St.,at the Glen St. entrance
Wednesday, July 1, 10:30 a.m. to noon, East Somerville Community School, 50 Cross St., at the Glen St. entrance
“Fighting COVID-19 requires a multi-prong approach of hand washing and cleaning, face coverings, social distancing, and testing and contact tracing,” said Doug Kress, Director of the City’s Health and Human Services Department. “This mobile testing unit will allow us to reach more residents and gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation in Somerville.”
As additional testing dates are scheduled they will be posted on http://www.somervillema.gov/covid19. Residents can also call 311 for more information.
For more information and regular COVID-19 updates, visit http://www.somervillema.gov/coronavirus and sign up for City alerts at http://www.somervillema.gov/Alerts. We urge you to sign up for every alert method you are able to receive: phone call, text, email. Also follow FB.com/SomervilleCity and @SomervilleCity.