The Boston Resiliency Fund recently awarded NEW Health Charlestown, located at 15 Tufts St., a $60,000 grant to help open their COVID-19 testing site located right behind the health center.
The site will be the first testing center dedicated to Charlestown, and it is much needed as the Town has the lowest rate of testing by far for any neighborhood in Boston. By May 7, there had only been 757 tests performed on residents of Charlestown. That was about half of the next comparable neighborhoods, including South Boston that had tested more than 1,400 residents.
The new testing site will offer residents of Charlestown who have at least one symptom of COVID-19 to get tested after a referral from their primary care provider. The Charlestown testing site will also be open to residents of the North End with at least one symptom and a referral from their primary care provider.
“These resources will help us buy the necessary equipment and supplies as well as paying some salaries of our workers as we establish and promote our testing capability,” said NEW Health Charlestown CEO Jim Luisi.
He expects the site to be open soon, and details will be forthcoming.
Mayor Walsh announced the opening of the test site in Charlestown last Wednesday evening, May 6, as part of an announcement that the City was moving rapidly to increase testing in all neighborhoods. There are an average of 1,100 tests done per day citywide and the aim is to get 1,500 tests per day completed.
“Testing helps people get the care they need and avoid passing the virus on to others,” said Mayor Walsh. “Increasing our testing efforts allows our public health experts to better track the outbreak and it will continue to be essential in our progress toward recovery. Public health models tell us that the more testing we can do, the more we can reduce our positive infection rate, giving us the data and confidence we need to move forward safely.”
The Fund was created by Mayor Marty Walsh, who coordinates the City’s fundraising and philanthropic efforts, to provide essential services to Boston residents whose health and wellbeing are most immediately impacted by COVID-19 and to assist first responders and critical care providers.
In addition, the Mayor also announced mobile testing that will hit every neighborhood, focusing on those who cannot get out to the health center.
The City has a targeted goal of mobile testing an average of 150 residents a day, operating six days per week. Mobile testing will help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing.
As a recipient of federal funds and part of the nation’s network of 1,600 community health centers in 15,000 communities across America, NEW health is the public health arm of the federal government. Since opening in 2015, the health center has been providing care to thousands of Charlestown residents through primary care, behavioral health, addiction services, dental and vision.