Baker-Polito Administration Expands Free Testing To 16 Communities But Not Framingham, Which is 12th in State For COVID-19 Cases

FRAMINGHAM – Today, July 27, the Baker-Polito Administration expanded its “Stop the Spread” initiative, which provides free COVID-19 testing in targeted communities across the Commonwealth. The State doubles the number of communities to a total of 16, but Framingham was not included.

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, with today’s expansion, to 16.

“We are deeply disappointed, again, by not being included in the Stop the Spread initiative,” said Framingham Health Director Sam Wong to SOURCE.

“We communicated with the state’s Covid Command Center two weeks ago about this initiative to advocate for a Framingham testing site.  Since then, the state has not communicated with us on this topic,” said Dr. Wong. “We have been advocating to the state on setting up a free testing site in Framingham since March.  We still believe that the state should set up a free testing site in Framingham.”

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.

The population of the new cities in which the free testing will be conducted – Agawam, Brockton, Methuen, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, Taunton and Worcester – make up approximately 10% of the Commonwealth’s population. However, these communities have seen 15% of the Commonwealth’s positive tests in the last two weeks.

The statewide positive test rate over the past two weeks is approximately 1.7%, but in these 8 communities, the positivity rate is nearly 50% higher, at 2.3%.

“Framingham currently ranks #12 in total confirmed cases among all municipalities,” said Dr. Wong to SOURCE.

“Our % Positive since the beginning of the pandemic is 16.1%.  Our recent numbers have been much better, however.  We have some of the results provided to us on a weekly basis,” said Dr. Wong.

Weekly data:

Date RangePatients Tested PositivePatients Tested NegativeInconclusive ResultsTotal TestsPercent Positive
JUN07 – JUN13948904981.81%
JUN14 – JUN201347604892.66%
JUN21 – JUN271345804712.76%
JUN28 – JUL04847504831.66%
JUL05 – JUL111756515832.92%
JUL12 – JUL181351605292.4

“As you can see, our recent percent positive since 7/05 is just shy of 3%.  We believe that the state should setup a free testing site in Framingham,” said Dr. Wong.

Despite the continued elevated spread in these communities, total testing in these communities has declined over 20% since the end of April, while the statewide average has been flat over that time period. The total cases as a percentage of population for these 16 communities is nearly double the state average, said the state in a press release.

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.

The Administration’s first expansion of testing in 8 communities – Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough and New Bedford – has successfully increased testing in those communities.

Click here for testing sites in Marlborough.

In the first week, testing in those 8 communities was up 48% over the week before those sites went live, and statewide, testing was up 24%.

While these sites are being launched in these communities, they are open to all residents of the Commonwealth.

Residents of the 16 communities can visit mass.gov/stopthespread to find testing locations, which will be available through August 14.

Residents are reminded that if they test positive for COVID-19, please 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.  

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176

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