HCN News & Notes

Massachusetts to Distribute 3.5 Million Free At-home COVID-19 Tests to Residents

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced plans to distribute 3.5 million free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to municipalities to make available to residents across the Commonwealth. The new municipal distribution plan builds on the successful distribution of more than 2 million rapid tests to municipalities this past spring. In addition to the rapid antigen tests, municipalities can also request essential PPE, including KN95, surgical, and children’s masks.

Allocations to municipalities will be based on population size. Municipalities can request tests and PPE through Sept. 16, and shipments are expected to arrive before mid-October. These distributions of free tests build upon statewide contracts in place since December 2021 that allow municipalities and eligible entities to order test kits directly from manufacturers at state-negotiated prices.

An additional 1.5 million rapid antigen tests will also be made available to food banks in the Commonwealth to reach those who are most vulnerable. More than 1.5 million tests have already been distributed to food banks and local organizations that support access to food across Massachusetts this year.

“This distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests builds on our work over the past several years to partner with municipalities to ensure residents can protect themselves from the virus,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “Rapid tests, along with other resources like vaccines, boosters, and treatments, provide residents with the tools they need to manage COVID-19.”

Added Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, “throughout our time in office, we have focused on collaborating with our municipal partners, and that has been especially true throughout the pandemic. This latest distribution of rapid tests is part of our ongoing work to provide local officials with the tools and resources they need to protect their residents and communities.”

Since December 2021, the administration has distributed more than 25 million rapid antigen tests.

“Testing is one critical tool for managing COVID-19, rather than COVID managing us, and we remain committed to ensuring that all Massachusetts residents have access to free tests,” said Marylou Sudders, secretary of Health and Human Services. “Taking an at-home test is part of the steps that individuals can take — including staying up to date on vaccines, staying home when sick, and wearing masks as needed — to protect themselves and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”