COVID-19 UpdatesHCN News & Notes

State Announces Expansion of Targeted Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced an expansion of its Stop the Spread initiative, which provides free COVID-19 testing in targeted communities across the Commonwealth.

This expansion includes new testing sites in Agawam, Brockton, Methuen, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, Taunton, and Worcester. The administration previously launched free testing sites in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford, bringing the total number of communities served to 16.

The Stop the Spread initiative is a data-driven, focused effort to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities that are above the state average in total cases, positive test rate, and have experienced a decline in testing levels since April. All residents of these 16 communities, including asymptomatic individuals, are urged to use these sites to get tested. While these sites are being launched in these communities, they are open to all residents of the Commonwealth.

Since launching Stop the Spread on July 10, 19,083 residents have been tested at these free testing sites. So far, the COVID-19 Command Center has received results back for 17,189 individuals, with a positivity rate just under 1.8%. The Command Center expects these numbers to change as additional testing results continue to come in.

“It was welcome news to learn that our call for testing outside of I-495 was heard and that some action was taken,” state Sen. Eric Lesser said. “The inclusion of Agawam and Springfield in the‘Stop the Spread testing initiative will take some pressure off our local healthcare systems and will help some of our most vulnerable populations access COVID-19 testing at no cost, without prior referral, and close to home. While this is welcome news, much more needs to be done to expand testing capacity in Western Massachusetts, a highly diverse region that encompasses nearly 3,000 square miles and remains the poorest area of our Commonwealth. We all have a part to play in stopping the spread of the COVID-19, and that starts with an even playing field that includes all areas across our Commonwealth.”

Residents of the 16 communities can visit to find testing locations, which will be available through Aug. 14.

If they test positive for COVID-19, residents are asked to answer the call when they are contacted by the Community Tracing Collaborative or their local board of health. Also, any individual who needs a safe place to isolate can call (617) 367-5150 to access an isolation and recovery site at no cost.