Free COVID-19 test kits will be making their way to communities in the state with high percentages of families living in poverty.
In a news release, Gov. Charlie Baker said more than 2.1 million iHealth over-the-counter at-home rapid antigen tests will be distributed in 102 municipalities where the free tests will be set up for distribution to increase testing access for families facing financial hardship.
“With the holidays approaching, we encourage residents to utilize rapid tests as a convenient way to keep family members and friends safe at gatherings,” Baker said in a statement. “While these tests are widely available at many pharmacies and retail locations across the Commonwealth, we are making it even easier for residents to get free rapid testing through these initiatives.”
According to the release, the Baker administration is also working on a plan that would allow municipalities, along with various public entities to buy tests directly from manufacturers at a fixed price negotiated by the governor.
Currently, according to the release, the Baker administration issued a procurement announcement on Friday that would allow towns to order tests with a January 2022 availability. More information will be made available in the coming weeks, the release reads, and towns will be able to use federal COVID-19 relief funding to purchase the test kits.
According to the release, the state has performed more COVID-19 tests than other states due to “hundreds of existing testing locations” across the state, including 38 free state-sponsored Stop the Spread testing sites. For information about testing sites, visit mass.gov/gettested.
The 102 communities encompass 3.7 million residents, according to the release, and iHealth Labs test kits will begin to be delivered to those communities by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, which is working with the Massachusetts National Guard.
Municipalities, according to the release, are responsible for distributing the tests and “are asked to prioritize those most in need, allocating equitably and at locations” that are accessible to everyone.
According to the release, the state paid $5 for each test, and tests come in two-packs. Users will be able to complete the test in 15 minutes and there is no need to send anything to a lab, nor is a computer or smartphone necessary for completing the test.
This article was originally posted on Massachusetts making COVID-19 tests available in poorest communities