HCN News & Notes

State Announces At-Home COVID Tests for Residents Served Through Local Food Banks

BOSTON  The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced additional distribution of free at-home COVID-19 test kits to expand access for residents across the Commonwealth.

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management, will distribute over 1 million iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen tests to eight of the largest Massachusetts food banks and food access organizations, increasing access to residents who may not have access to COVID-19 rapid tests through more traditional channels.

The iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen test kit deliveries began this week to eight of the largest food banks and food access organizations in Massachusetts (including the Food Bank of Western Mass.) who serve more than 850,000 residents monthly through their networks of more than 570 local food pantries across the Commonwealth. This distribution builds on over 10 million iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen tests that have already been widely distributed across the Commonwealth since January to K-12 schools, early education programs, emergency shelters, immigration-focused community organizations, community health centers, senior housing, health and human services programs and other locations.

“As part of our public health toolkit, the administration is committed to increasing access to convenient at home COVIID-19 tests for our residents,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Partnering with these trusted community organizations is the right thing to do to ensure that individuals facing financial hardship and food insecurity have easy access to getting these tests.”

Food banks and food access organizations will distribute the rapid test kits alongside the food they provide. These organizations have also been provided with COVID-19 Self-Test Instructions to access simple, translated instructions alongside the test kits.

“We are very grateful to the Commonwealth for providing these at-home rapid tests,” said Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Director of Programs Christina Maxwell. “For the population that we serve it is not always easy to access these important health resources, so we are very happy to be able to provide them to our community through our programs and our partner agencies.” 

 For detailed information on testing, visit mass.gov/gettested