Whittier Street Mobile COVID Testing Hits Back Bay, Newmarket

The Whittier Street Health Center on Tremont Street has wheels, and their mobile COVID-19 testing lab is coming to the area for free testing of all residents – no appointment necessary.

The Mobile testing facility travels through the area and takes walk-up patients for COVID-19 testing, just this week performing its 5,000th COVID-19 test – and landing near the South End in Newmarket (1000 Mass Ave.) and in the Back Bay (29 Stanhope St.).

Whittier Director of Nursing Melissa Leaston staffs the Mobile unit in her haz-mat suit and tests patients who want to check their status. She said results were coming in quickly, but now it has gone to about four or five days because of all the testing that needs to be done in other hot-spot states like Texas and California.

They test everyone age 5 and up.

“Obviously, we want to diagnose people so they can quarantine and not make other people sick,” she said on Monday while setting up at Newmarket outside Alianza Hispana. “The big thing is asymptomatic carriers and identifying them so they don’t make others sick.”

The test is a quick nasal swab, and once registered with the mobile clinic, it takes only a few minutes and patients are on their way.

“The mobile unit helps because we have several folks who may not have the ability to get to us at Whittier and may not be able to afford a test,” she said. “Our testing is free and it’s been invaluable, especially for people who live in congregate living situations.”

The unit began operations in June and has been travelling to a number of locations throughout the city. Leaston said a lot of people might be leaving this summer for vacation or to see family or to go back to work. Getting a quick and free test clears them to do those things without worry.

“A lot of folks have said they were going to be travelling or they’re returning to work and need to be tested,” she said. “They want to be cleared before leaving or returning to work.”

They expect to continue testing throughout the summer at least.

The upcoming schedule includes:

•Thursday, July 16, Boston Living Center, 29 Stanhope St. (Back Bay). 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Tuesday, July 21, Nubian Square, 2343 Washington St. (Roxbury). 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Friday, July 24, Boston Living Center, 29 Stanhope St. (Back Bay). 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Saturday, July 25, Tropical Food Market, 450 Melnea Cass. (Roxbury). 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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