Boston Mayor Walsh Announces First Tests For General Public

  • April 14, 2020

With Surge Of Infections Underway, Boston Mayor Walsh Announces First Tests For General Public

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday that testing for the novel coronavirus is now being offered to all Boston residents.

The Whittier Street Health Center, in Roxbury, is offering scheduled rapid testing for the general public, Mondays through Saturdays. The clinic is asking residents to schedule tests by phone.

Walsh said the center serves a largely African-American population and he hopes testing will help address racial and other disparities in COVID-19 infections in Boston.


Incomplete data released by the city last week showed that African American residents made up about 40% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Boston, while African Americans represent only about a quarter of city residents.

On Friday, the mayor announced a “Health Equities” Task Force to address disparities in infections among different racial and ethnic groups.

“A big part of ensuring equity is making sure communities have access to screening and testing,” Walsh said.

Meanwhile Walsh said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Boston doubled in the past week, and that the anticipated surge of cases requiring hospitalization is already underway.

Over the weekend, the city re-opened the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center as a temporary field hospital, with 500 beds reserved for homeless COVID-19 patients and another 500 beds reserved as overflow capacity for local hospitals.

The mayor expressed sympathy for residents and businesses struggling during the shutdown; but had criticism for remarks by “certain federal leaders” — presumably including the president — suggesting the economy could re-open as soon as May.

“That’s not only unrealistic it’s completely irresponsible. We are still in the very beginning of this surge,” Walsh said. “We all want to go back to work and we all want to go back to normal society but this is not the time to talk about that.”


Isaiah Thompson  @isaiah_thompson

Isaiah Thompson is a reporter WGBH News.


A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).