Massachusetts distributing 2 million free COVID tests

COVID-19

People wait in line outside a COVID-19 walk-in testing site, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is distributing more than two million free COVID tests to more than 100 cities and towns in an effort to curb the spread of the virus ahead of the holidays, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday.

The Republican said the 2.1 million over-the-counter, at-home rapid antigen tests from iHealth Labs will be delivered to 102 towns with the highest percentage of families below the poverty level. Those communities account for nearly 3.7 million Massachusetts residents.

The tests will be available for distribution by each municipality, and can be completed in 15 minutes without the need to send a sample to a laboratory, Baker’s office said. “With the holidays approaching, we encourage residents to utilize rapid tests as a convenient way to keep family members and friends safe at gatherings,” the governor said in a statement.

Baker said his administration is also finalizing plans to allow municipalities and other public entities to directly purchase tests from test manufacturers at fixed, state-negotiated prices. Rapid antigen test kits are also readily available for purchase from local pharmacies or online.

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