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Walsh: Everybody in Boston should get a Covid-19 test

COVID-19 Media Availability 10-29-20

Mayor Walsh today urged all Bostonians to get tested for Covid-19 even if they have no symptoms and haven't been to any gatherings.

At a press conference this afternoon, Walsh said the city is now giving all its workers a paid hour off every two weeks to get tested, and said some 20 local employers have pledged to do the same. The city is now distributing "I got tested!" stickers for testing sites to distribute that people can wear next to their "I voted!" stickers.

Walsh said widespread testing both helps individuals either stay healthy or get help if they test positive and the city as a whole by helping public-health workers track the spread and try to reduce it.

"We know the virus is spreading among people without symptoms and people who don't know they've been exposed," he said.

Nothng Boston has now seen five straight weeks of increases in Covid-19 cases - for the week ending Oct. 24, 7.8% of tests came back positive - Walsh said such testing is critical, especially since recent weeks have seen a decline in the total number of Bostonians getting tested.

"We're entering into a very critical time in this pandemic, the most critical time since the beginning," he said. He said that Boston numbers are still nowhere near what they were at the start of the surge in April, so now is the time to act to curb the new growth. Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez said Boston hospitals currently have about 100 Covid-19 patients, compared to roughly 1,500 at the peak of the first surge in the spring.

The increased testing will determine whether Boston has to take additional shutdown steps, he said. He added that the last thing we want to do is shut down restaurants and stores again, but recent numbers are worrying. "We're jumping pretty high" over just the past couple weeks, he said.

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"some 20 local employees have pledged to do the same" doesn't seem to make sense in this context. Thx.

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Yes, should read "employers," fixed (but it shouldn't have been wrong to begin with).

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Shouldn't have laid off the copy editing department.

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I'm foggy from the rain and leaf mold.

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But I wonder if the mayor has actually tried to get one using the methods available to ordinary people. For example in the Fenway, which hosts the Longwood Medical Area, we not have a walk-in or drive-in testing clinic available where residents can get tested without first making an appointment to see a doctor. That’s shocking, and it’s a disgrace.

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https://fenwayhealth.org/care/medical/covid-19-testing/

"Fenway Health conducts COVID-19 testing on both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. There is no charge to you, but we will collect insurance information for everyone who is insured at the time of registration. You do not need to be a Fenway Health patient to be tested at our testing site."

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get a test there without first seeing one of their doctors. There is no walk in testing.

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The Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Park Drive has drive through testing most days now in their parking lot.

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If Marty wants us all to get a test, then make them easily available. This summer there was free walk up testing in at least 3 locations I am aware of in Fields Corner and Colman Square. I got a test that way. I strongly urge the mayor to bring back that program. But it was only daytime hours so difficult for people who work .
Dot House Health on Dot Ave has free walk up testing, or do they? On their website they have contradictory information. On one page they say call for triage and an appointment. On another page they say walk up no appointment necessary

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but the city is doing free testing: https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-health-commission/covid-19-tes...

Then scroll down to mobile testing sites.

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I tried to get one about a month ago when I was having some covid symptoms. Couldn't find an open appointment anywhere even close to the city. I took the test on the city website and it told me to go to the emergency room immediately. I called the hospital it listed first and they said they don't do covid tests for people off the street. Checked all of the CVSs and urgent care clinics and nothing was available.

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Some of Boston's testing sites offer no-charge, no-appointment, no-insurance walk-up testing to the general public, and have offered it basically since the pandemic began, but as far as I can tell the city's testing site map (https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-health-commission/covid-19-tes...) does not provide a way to figure out which sites those are other than clicking on every marker on the map to see the details.

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So the symptoms went away... I don't get it. You thought you had Covid but didn't do anything?

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You thought you had Covid but didn't do anything?

What is there to do, beside lay low, rest, manage symptoms, and, if things take a turn toward they hypoxic, check into the hospital?

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Yeah. What don't you get? In retrospect, I think it was because of a candle I was burning in my office, but I had a lot of chest discomfort and some trouble breathing for about a week. I still have no idea if I had it or not, because I was never able to find a place to get tested. Even when I contacted my PCP, he referred me to two urgent care clinics that I had already tried.

What would you have liked me to do? I've been quarantining since March. I basically don't leave the house except to run and walk the dog. And whenever I do leave, I wear a mask and stay as far away from other people as I possibly can. During the time when it was painful to breathe and I was convinced that I had a highly contagious respiratory disease, I stopped running and my wife did all of the dog walking.

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It wasn't meant to be critical. I guess I figured you'd get a diagnosis some way or another. I would think you'd be freaking out, even if the symptoms ended up not being Covid.

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I guess I figured you'd get a diagnosis some way or another.

I guess you learned how it actually works. Not meant to be critical.

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This seems like the opposite of a smart testing strategy.

Also the riskiest thing I've done in the past 3 weeks (besides vote) was go get a Covid test. I haven't been around that many people in months and some of them were coughing!!!

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But it also seems to be a good way to make the denominator larger and get the citywide positivity rate down. Lets see if it works.

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If it brings down the overall city positive rate, he can re-open schools. And as a parent of two BPS students, and spouse to a BPS teacher I do not want my family in buildings that are not properly ventilated or cleaned. Remember the ventilation/CO2 "testing" BPS ran was in empty buildings! No people, no CO2. So there is no way to know if the airflow needed to keep COVID19 at arms length inside a school is true or not. But it is the hill he is obsessed with climbing.

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Getting as many people as possible tested will provide important information on how many people are positive and what proportion of positives are asymptomatic. The latter is particularly important to know for formulating useful public health measures to check the spread. It would be especially useful if they can make it work for children and adolescents, not just adults.

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Since I looked it up for myself, thought I'd share:
https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-health-commission/covid-19-tes...

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I reiterate that there is no walk in testing available in the Fenway, which hosts the Longwood Medical Area. Shocking. The shoemaker’s children have no shoes

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...no questions asked. Whittier St Health Center had a pop-up mobile van at the Morville Elderly Housing today. I don't have symptoms but I think it's a good idea to get tested every couple of weeks. I've been tested a couple of times at Brookside Health Center in JP, but they closed early today so I called Whittier and went to Morville House. The whole thing took about 15 minutes. I should get results on Tuesday.

Good luck!

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It's not that hard--you can even get take-home tests from drugstores. I live in JP--there are half a dozen places w/in walking distance. I work for a college--they provide free tests. Lots of employers do. You're wildly overrating your inconvenience.

https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f03...

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Cost is. That anyone should have to pay for a test --including taxpayers footing the bill for unnecessary doctor's appointments to get *approved* for the test -- is absolutely disgusting. Testing should be universal and free, with results reported within 24-48 hours to have any value whatsoever.

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Whittier Health on Tremont still has testing. I went last month. It's walk up. They just take your ID and key it in and ask for a phone number. Took me less than 15 mins for total trip.

http://www.wshc.org/assets/COVID-and-call-to-action.pdf

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But where to get them Mayor Walsh? The city has no mobile clinics in Roslindale even though it's a hot spot.

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If you call Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental, you should be able to get an appointment for a test (or for that matter, the CVS on Centre Street in West Roxbury).

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