Why did Tufts Medical Center create a testing center at another location?
Increased testing meets a number of critical and urgent public health priorities. First, expanded testing is a major public health priority and absolutely essential to stop the spread of the COVID-19. Testing for first responders and public health professionals is essential, but the goal is also to expand testing the broader public as soon as possible. When that happens, having testing facilities in our communities where they can be safely and easily accessed is important. Chinatown residents, for example, will be able to be tested right here whether they are traditionally a Tufts MC patient or now. Additionally, this new space, created in cooperation with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Schools, will allow us to increase testing five times above the previous capacity. Finally, expanding capacity is another major priority for not only for Tufts Medical Center but for all hospitals in Boston and across the Commonwealth. The new testing center helps to maximize usable space within the Tufts Medical Center and enables us to expand our emergency room access to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
How will people know the testing center was at Josiah Quincy?
We have placed signage at the entrance, and the entrance is staffed by a public safety officer and an interpreter to help direct people to their correct destination. Additionally, we are handing out fact sheets to people as they walk by that have been shared widely with our community partners.
Why the Josiah Quincy School, why not an open area, or an area internal to the Medical Center?
We worked carefully with the City of Boston and Boston Public Schools on this effort. We first evaluated all of our own facilities and then several spaces in the neighborhood, and this space best meets the needs to maintain safety for patients and healthcare workers and enables us the ability to provide greater testing to the local community. The school offers a safe one way in and one way out of the clinic, which is ideal to ensure we are practicing appropriate social distancing. This space also offers ample privacy for the patients who are seeking COVID-19 screening.
Why did you place a testing site in the middle of a city community?
The global healthcare community is working toward making testing available to all, which is important to stop the spread of the virus. Tufts Medical Center has partnered with the City of Boston and Boston Public Schools to do our part to broaden testing as soon as possible. We believe this will benefit not only our city, but Chinatown residents will directly benefit as they will be able to be tested right here, in their neighborhood, whether they are traditionally a Tufts MC patient or not.
We understand not everyone can drive to a remote testing location, and there are also limitations to taking public transportation at this time. We hope this testing center provides a safe and easy option for the community.
Should we be concerned about buildings adjacent to the school? Could the air be contaminated?
Based on guidance from public health and medical officials about how the coronavirus is spread, we took every measure possible to ensure air in the surrounding areas will be entirely safe. These measures included the following:
- Strict safety protocols
- Rigorous infection prevention
- Installing protective surface coverings
- Installing an industrial level HEPA-filter negative pressure HVAC system in the school cafeteria
- The same thorough daily cleaning measures taken at our Medical Center
Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our patients, our health care workers, our neighbor organizations and our community as a whole. COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets from someone who is infected and sneezes or coughs. Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19 and is not believed to be a major route of transmission.
How is the testing site cleaned and waste handled?
Tufts Medical Center is cleaning the hallway and cafeteria with a bleach based cleaner every day and removing all waste from the school and disposing of it at Tufts Medical Center. This cleaning is the same cleaning procedures used at the medical center in our patient care areas.