Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration right now introduced plans to extend entry to at dwelling COVID-19 check kits for residents throughout the Commonwealth. The Administration has secured 2.1 million iHealth Labs over-the-counter (OTC) at-home speedy antigen checks that will probably be delivered to 102 cities with the best share of households beneath the poverty stage. These free checks will probably be out there for distribution to the general public by every municipality, with an emphasis on rising entry for people and households who’re going through monetary hardship.
“With the vacations approaching, we encourage residents to make the most of speedy checks as a handy method to preserve relations and pals secure at gatherings,” mentioned Governor Charlie Baker. “Whereas these checks are broadly out there at many pharmacies and retail areas throughout the Commonwealth, we’re making it even simpler for residents to get free speedy testing by these initiatives.”
“Massachusetts has developed a nation-leading testing infrastructure, with free testing out there throughout the Commonwealth,” mentioned Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Rising entry to those free OTC speedy antigen check kits will function one other device to fight COVID-19.”
Whereas the preliminary 2.1 million OTC speedy antigen checks will probably be distributed to 102 high-need communities throughout the Commonwealth, the Administration is finalizing plans to permit municipalities and different public entities to instantly buy checks from check producers at fastened, state-negotiated costs. The Administration posted a procurement alternative on Friday, December 10 for producers, and municipalities will have the ability to order in January 2022. The Administration will present extra particulars on how municipalities can procure these checks later within the coming weeks. Municipalities are capable of make the most of American Rescue Plan Act funding, in addition to Federal COVID-19 Reduction funding to buy the speedy antigen check kits.
At-home COVID-19 speedy antigen check kits are a quick, straightforward and handy method to check for COVID-19. Along with the Administration offering iHealth Labs OTC at-home speedy antigen check kits and permitting municipalities to instantly buy checks, residents can go to native pharmacies or order on-line to buy speedy check kits on their very own, as wanted.
Massachusetts performs extra COVID checks than nearly every other state within the nation because of the a whole bunch of present testing areas throughout the Commonwealth, together with 38 free state sponsored Cease the Unfold testing websites. Residents can proceed to entry these COVID testing websites in the course of the holidays. All testing websites are listed right here: mass.gov/gettested.
How these communities had been chosen:
The 102 municipalities within the Commonwealth with the best proportion of households at or beneath the poverty stage are receiving iHealth Labs OTC at-home speedy antigen check kits on this preliminary distribution. All twenty of the Commonwealth’s most disproportionately impacted fairness communities had been included by these standards. In whole, the 102 municipalities account for almost 3.7 million Massachusetts residents.
iHealth Labs OTC at-home speedy antigen check kits will begin to be delivered to the eligible communities this week by the Massachusetts Emergency Administration Company, in partnership with the Massachusetts Nationwide Guard. Assessments will probably be distributed proportionally throughout the 102 communities based mostly on the proportion of households residing at or beneath the poverty stage inside their respective communities.
Whereas every metropolis or city will have the ability to decide how greatest to distribute checks inside their group municipalities are requested to prioritize these most in want, allocating equitably and at areas accessible to people and households who’re decided to be in excessive want and as rapidly as attainable in the course of the vacation season.
The Commonwealth is paying $5 per check. All checks are available packs of two. The checks will be accomplished in quarter-hour with out the necessity to ship a pattern to a laboratory; a cell phone or laptop isn’t wanted for any a part of the check. People 2 years of age and up can use the checks no matter vaccination standing or whether or not or not they’ve signs.
CDC final week issued steerage on self-tests just like the iHealth checks, with data on when to contemplate self-testing, easy methods to full the checks, and easy methods to react to a optimistic or detrimental consequence. Go to right here to view the steerage.
COVID-19 speedy checks are one in all many risk-reduction measures, together with vaccination, that may shield people by lowering the probabilities of spreading COVID-19.
For detailed data on testing, go to mass.gov/gettested