COVID

More Mass. residents are getting tested for COVID-19 amid uptick in cases

Some testing sites have expanded their hours in response to the demand.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

As the highly contagious Delta variant continues to circulate and Massachusetts sees an uptick in cases, thousands more people are heading to coronavirus testing sites to see if they’ve been infected.

On Thursday, the state Department of Public Health reported 47,670 new molecular tests and 6,039 new antigen tests. 

That’s thousands more than the state was reporting about a month ago. On July 7, the state reported 21,754 new molecular tests and 5,536 new antigen tests.

Despite the increase in demand, the state hasn’t received reports of increased wait times at testing sites.

“Testing is one of several tools the Commonwealth has used to keep COVID-19 in check and testing data is clear that Massachusetts’ nation-leading success in vaccinations has protected our residents, and everyone should get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families,” a spokesperson for the state’s office of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

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CIC Health, which ran some of the state’s mass vaccination sites and still operates testing sites, has made some adjustments in response to the increased demand for COVID-19 tests.

Sue Minichiello, director of PR and communications for CIC Health, told Boston.com that hours have been expanded at testing sites that previously had been reduced to five days a week.

“We now offer testing six or seven days a week at all of our sites, and are ready to increase hours further if demand warrants it,” she said. “We are not experiencing any wait time issues. We’ve always designed our testing services to prevent lines and waiting.”

The company’s sites in Cambridge, Newton, Fall River, and Greenfield have seen a 35% increase in testing in July compared to June, she said. Demand in Cambridge alone jumped by 60%. 

“We are prepared to provide COVID-19 testing to meet public demand, for free at our state-sponsored Stop the Spread sites in Lowell, Fall River, and Greenfield, and for just $80 per test at our private sites in Cambridge and Newton,” Minichiello said. “With that, we hope to provide peace of mind and help minimize virus spread as the Delta variant continues to gain momentum.”

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Over the last month, Massachusetts has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, which officials have said is due to gatherings around the July Fourth holiday and spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. As of Thursday, the state has a 7-day average percent positivity rate of 2.16%, up from .31% reported on June 26.

There are almost 500 testing sites across Massachusetts, which can be found on the state’s testing website, including 29 state-funded “Stop the Spread” locations that offer both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing at no cost and require no insurance information. 

The state is also still deploying mobile testing units to cities and towns experiencing a surge or cluster of cases, such as in response to the Provincetown outbreak.

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