At his daily press briefing last week, Mayor Martin Walsh unveiled a new COVID-19 testing resource website that includes a map of testing sites in East Boston.
Mayor Walsh announced that the city has recently created a second mobile testing team through a partnership with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. This partnership will allow for expanded COVID testing through Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Health Center’s Central Square testing site on Border Street across from Liberty Plaza Shopping Center (see sidebar for hours).
In addition, CVS on Saratoga Street in East Boston began testing this past Friday (see sidebar for hours). This site is a drive-thru testing site through a partnership with the city.
These two expanded sites join the Health Center’s drive-thru and walk-up testing site on Orleans Street (see side bar for hours).
Walsh said all the information on expanded testing can be found at the new resource website at https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-health-commission/map-covid-19-testing-sites.
“As the City monitors the data, we continue to support residents with outreach and testing access,” said Walsh last week. “We have two mobile testing teams in operation: one in Central Square, East Boston and one in Nubian Square, Roxbury. Both sites are testing at no cost to you, and you do not have to have symptoms to get tested. Overall, Boston has nearly 30 active testing sites across the city, which can be found on the testing map.”
The Mayor urged everyone to get tested, especially if you have been out of the house, at a gathering, or have any concern at all about your exposure. He said there is no cost to get tested, it doesn’t hurt, and it is a quick process.
“It’s very important for both your personal health and our city’s progress,” he said.
The Mayor also said the city has a team of officials from across departments meeting and working together on enforcement measures for COVID restrictions. They include the Boston Public Health Commission, the Health and Human Services cabinet, Inspectional Services, the Parks Department, Neighborhood Services, and the Boston Police Department.
“We are discussing efforts to tighten enforcement on gathering limits, restrictions on unpermitted public events, and unsanctioned activities in parks,” said Walsh. “We are working to help restaurants follow restrictions on table size, distancing, and masks. We will be conducting spot checks and visits with businesses to ensure regulations are being followed. And we will continue our prevention efforts to remind everyone of the risks and guidelines.”
The Mayor said he understands the pressure that small businesses are under, and that the City wants to provide support to them.
“If you own or manage a restaurant, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Small Business team at boston.gov/SmallBusiness,” said Walsh. “We have guidance and we still have funds available to help you implement the steps you need to take.”
Wlash said the team is giving special attention to gatherings and house parties here in Eastie and across the city that are putting people at risk. One such party on Marion Street was recently broken up by police.
“We continue to get reports of house parties in neighborhoods,” said Walsh. “We are in conversation with elected officials who have expressed their concerns. We are tracking locations where parties continue to happen, and will be working through Inspectional Services to curtail these events. If you are concerned about a party, call 9-1-1.”
The Mayor spoke directly to people who have been going to parties. He said he understands the need to socialize, but right now, residents need to focus on activities that don’t cause the virus to spread.
“Roughly half of our new cases continue to be people under the age of 30 years old, and that is a trend happening nationally,” said Walsh. “A study was published recently on COVID hotspots around the U.S. It found that, a month before an area sees major activity, you see elevated rates in young adults. They are more active, many are taking fewer precautions, and the virus takes hold. Then, a month later, the virus is spreading throughout the community.”
Because of this behavior, the Mayor said older people are getting the virus, more people are in the hospital, and more people will die.
“If you are thinking about going to a party, don’t just think about the people at that party,” he said. “Think about all the people that everyone at that party has been in contact with, and will be in contact with. Think about the person a month later who gets sick or loses their life, and their family can’t visit them. And think about our need as a city to prevent another surge and avoid shutting down. That’s what’s at stake when you go to a party. Not going is a small sacrifice you can make. This time will pass, we will have parties again, but, right now, it’s up to all of us to keep each other safe. So I thank everyone who is taking precautions, and I would appreciate everyone’s cooperation. We can’t do this without everyone’s help.”
Testing sites in East Boston
CVS Pharmacy drive-thru
1150 Saratoga Str., East Boston 02128
Contact CVS for hours
East Boston Community Health Center
Central Square Park – Border Street across from Liberty Plaza Shopping Center
Contact: pre-register by calling 617-568-4500
Hours: Wednesay. Oct. 21, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 22 – Friday Oct. 23, 1-5:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
164 Orleans St., Boston, MA 02128
Contact: pre-register by calling (617) 569-5800
Hours: Drive Thru Testing: Monday-Friday 8-11:30 a.m.; Walk-Up Testing: Monday-Friday 1-4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.