COVID tests for CHA seniors

Fire Dept. will go door-to-door

TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2020—see update at the end of this article

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020— Beginning next week, residents of Cambridge Housing Authority elder-and-disabled properties will be offered a free test for COVID-19. This is a City-sponsored initiative. The Housing Authority has welcomed it, but the work will be done by City personnel. The Cambridge Fire Dept. will go door to door and will give the test to any resident who wants one. The test is voluntary—no one will be required to take it. 

They hope to finish all units in the elder/disabled buildings by Memorial Day. 

Elders not covered by this initiative include

• those who live in CHA family developments, and 

• those with CHA vouchers who live in properties not managed by CHA

Also during the week of the 18th, reusable masks will be distributed to elders residing in CHA-managed apartments. This will be the third time the CHA has delivered masks to tenants.

The elder-buildings initiative is an element in a City effort to expand testing for the virus, emphasizing the hardest-hit neighborhoods and elders first. "The pilot program will be launched in phases, with senior housing testing for residents beginning at the end of this week and testing in The Port launching the week of May 18."

On May 4, City Manager DePasquale appointed a temporrary commission to advise on how to reopen major construction activity in the city. Its 23 members represent city agencies, building trades, contractors, and the universities. They will help the City to draft a safe reopening plan.


The City has provided these details about the testing—

If you're a resident of The Port: Tests at the Pisani Center, 131 Washington Street, by appointment only.  make your appointment by phone 617-665-3795 

or online:

hours : 12 noon - 8:00 p.m. 


Tuesday, May 19

Thursday, May 21

Saturday, May 23

Tuesday, May 26

Thursday, May 28

Saturday May 30

If you're homeless or in congregate living: Testing at the same times and place as above. Appointments will be scheduled by service providers.

Testing in CHA senior housing will begin as follows:

  • Wednesday, May 20, beginning at  9:00 a.m. at Millers River Apts
  • Thursday, May 21, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Cheryl-Ann’s Place 5 Temple Street,  YWCA 7 Temple Street, and JFK Apts. 55 Essex Street (to begin after all testing is finished at Millers River).

Appointments are not necessary at CHA senior housing sites. EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians) and paramedics from the Cambridge Fire Department – with logistical support from the Cambridge Police – will conduct the testing, which is voluntary and free of charge.

Results of the testing will be reported to the Cambridge Public Health Department, and staff will call residents with their results.

thanks to Michael Johnston CHA; City of Cambridge