State launches 8 free COVID-19 testing sites

The communities targeted are above the state average in total cases and positive test rates, but have seen a drop in testing levels.

A medical worker screens people arriving at a COVID-19 testing site in Boston back in March.
A medical worker screens people arriving at a COVID-19 testing site in Boston back in March. –Michael Dwyer / AP

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BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is launching free COVID-19 testing sites in eight communities to help monitor the spread of the disease, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.

The communities are being targeted because they remain above the state average in total cases and positive test rates, but have experienced a drop in testing levels since April.

The eight communities are Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford. The statewide positive test rate over the past two weeks is about 2%, but in the eight communities, 8% of tests have come back positive.

The population of the cities also make up about 9% of the state’s population, but have seen 27% of the state’s positive tests in the last two weeks.

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Baker is urging residents of the communities to take advantage of the new testing sites even if they are aren’t showing any symptoms. While they are targeted at the eight communities, the testing sites are open to all residents of Massachusetts, Baker said during a Statehouse press conference.

“Testing will remain a crucial tool in the months ahead,” Baker said.

The new testing sites will be open from July 10 to August 14. For further information, visit mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread.

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