In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Baker-Polito administration
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today, September 7, announced plans to distribute 3.5 million free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to municipalities to make available to residents across the Commonwealth.
The new municipal distribution plan builds on the successful distribution of over 2 million rapid tests to municipalities earlier this spring. In addition to the rapid antigen tests, municipalities can also request essential PPE, including KN95, surgical and children’s masks.
Allocations to municipalities will be based on population size.
Municipalities can request tests and PPE through September 16, 2022, and shipments are expected to arrive before mid-October. These distributions of free tests build upon statewide contracts in place since December 2021 that allow municipalities and eligible entities to order test kits directly from manufacturers at state-negotiated prices.
An additional 1.5 million rapid antigen tests will also be made available to food banks in the Commonwealth, to reach those who are most vulnerable. More than 1.5 million tests have already been distributed to food banks and local organizations that support access to food across Massachusetts this year.
“This distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests builds on our work over the past several years to partner with municipalities to ensure residents can protect themselves from the virus,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Rapid tests, along with other resources like vaccines, boosters and treatments, provide residents with the tools they need to manage COVID-19.”
“Throughout our time in office, we have focused on collaborating with our municipal partners, and that has been especially true throughout the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This latest distribution of rapid tests is part of our ongoing work to provide local officials with the tools and resources they need to protect their residents and communities.”
Since December 2021, the Administration has distributed more than 25 million rapid antigen tests for Massachusetts residents, municipalities, and a broad range of educational, health, human services, food banks, shelter, correctional, senior, low-income housing, and other community-based organizations. Today’s announcement marks the latest step in the Administration’s effort to provide residents across the Commonwealth with the tools needed to manage COVID-19.
“Testing is one critical tool for managing COVID-19, rather than COVID managing us, and we remain committed to ensuring that all Massachusetts residents have access to free tests,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “Taking an at-home test is part of the steps that individuals can take – including staying up to date on vaccines, staying home when sick, and wearing masks as needed – to protect themselves and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccination rates with over 84 percent of eligible residents fully vaccinated and over half of adults boosted.
The Department of Public Health advises residents to observe the following protocols to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID:
- Get vaccinated and stay up to date. The best protection against COVID-19 is staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. That means being fully vaccinated and getting a booster. Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to get sick or spread the virus that causes COVID-19, especially if they have their booster shot. Learn more at mass.gov/CovidVaccine.
- Take a test for COVID-19. Testing for COVID-19 is widely available, including at-home rapid tests. Get tested if you have symptoms. Learn more at mass.gov/GetTested.
- Get treatment. If you test positive, talk to your doctor right away about treatment options that are available for people who have mild to moderate symptoms. Learn more at mass.gov/CovidTreatments.
- Stay home when you are sick. Staying home helps prevent the spread of illness.
- Mask up if you need to. Learn more at mass.gov/MaskUpMA.
- Enable MassNotify on your smartphone. Learn more at mass.gov/MassNotify.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Learn more at mass.gov/CovidVaccine.