Coronavirus testing became available to the majority of Cambridge residents regardless of symptoms on Friday, according to city and health officials.
The Cambridge Health Alliance began offering COVID-19 testing via a stand-alone testing center at the CHA East Cambridge Care Center on Gore Street.
“Cambridge residents eight years of age and older are welcome, regardless of insurance or immigration status,” the city said in a statement.
Even those who are asymptomatic may get tested if they wish, said David Cerece, a spokesman for the Cambridge Health Alliance.
“If a person feels that he/she has been exposed, it doesn’t hurt to get tested,” Cerece said in an e-mail. “The risk of getting a test when a person presents with no symptoms is that the test will likely be negative. However, there are people who are asymptomatic and test positive.”
Testing will be offered to residents as long as supplies are available, Cerece said. Several thousand test swabs were provided to the group by the state Department of Public Health, he said.
To get a test, people must call to get an appointment using a new hot line number at 617-665-2928. The call center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Results will be available in five days.
"The Cambridge Health Alliance provides vital health care services to many Cambridge residents, and plays a critical role in the City’s COVID-19 response," Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said Thursday in a joint statement. "Expanding the testing capacity for COVID-19 is an important part of the Commonwealth’s strategy for reopening, and this testing site will be a critical resource for Cambridge residents."
Those tested will get a phone call from the Cambridge Public Health Department with the results, the city said.
“All patients will also receive guidance on how to protect themselves and family members while test results are pending. This is available in multiple languages,” the statement said.
“CHA is monitoring the situation and will make changes as circumstances evolve,” the statement said.
CHA has launched two other community testing sites already, one at the CHA Somerville campus, dedicated to testing Somerville residents, and another at the CHA Malden Care Center for Everett and Malden residents, the statement said.
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