BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced plans to distribute another 3.5 million free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) for municipalities and community organizations to make available to residents across the Commonwealth. This latest distribution builds upon the successful distribution of nearly 30 million at-home tests to a range of settings across the Commonwealth over the last year.
Municipalities may request to receive tests, KN95 masks, surgical masks, face shields and nitrile gloves to combat the spread of COVID-19 and should expect to receive a link to request these items through an email sent to their local board of health today. The Commonwealth is also making these tools available to other settings and organizations including day programs, councils on aging, community-based organizations, health care providers, providers of affordable housing for seniors, Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) and assisted living residences.
“Over the past several years, we have partnered with communities to make sure residents can access the tools needed to manage COVID-19, like rapid antigen tests,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These tests build on the availability of vaccines, boosters and therapeutics, all of which are widely available across Massachusetts.”
“We have been pleased to work with municipal leaders to expand access to free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and PPE,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Local officials know their communities best and have played an important role in getting these resources into the hands of those who need them”
“By expanding access to tests through the places where people regularly visit, and to municipalities who know their communities best, we will ensure that all Massachusetts residents have access to free tests and PPE to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders. “Everyone can continue taking steps to help manage COVID-19 – including staying up to date on vaccines, staying home when sick, and wearing masks as needed.”
Since December 2021, the Baker-Polito Administration has distributed nearly 30 million rapid antigen tests to Massachusetts residents through municipalities and a broad range of educational, health, human services, food access, 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.
Applications will be available to municipalities and eligible settings and organizations, with tests and PPE distributed while supplies are available. Every test shipped to municipalities in this distribution has an expiration date that has been extended beyond the date printed on the box, until at least June 2023, per the FDA. Further extensions are possible and will be posted at ihealthlabs.com/pages/news
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-19:
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.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.