Gov. Charlie Baker announced on June 15 that there would be 50 pop-up COVID-19 testing sites throughout the Commonwealth, and urged anyone who has recently participated in a large gathering, such as a protest, to get tested for the virus.
Baker said on Monday that the average positive test rate in Massachusetts is down “to about three percent,” and about 1000 people remain hospitalized with the virus, which is down over 70 percent.
He said the state continues to see “positive incremental progress.” He said that about a week into Phase Two of the reopening process, outdoor dining, lodging, and summer camps are starting to reopen to the public with restrictions.
“Our progress to date is encouraging, but it doesn’t mean the virus has left town,” Baker said. “It’s up to all of us to continue to do the things that we know can kill COVID.”
On June 17 and June 18, 50 pop-up COVID-19 testing sites will be open to test “individuals who have recently attended large gatherings,” Baker said. “Anyone who has attended a large gathering over the last two weeks should get tested.” Test results will be provided confidentially, and people are urged to share the results with their doctors. Baker said that these large gatherings where thousands of people have been coming together in large groups are coinciding with the reopening process.
“Any time large groups of people come together, there’s a risk for transmission,” he said. He said that he “certainly supports” people’s rights to peacefully protest, but “some people who have the virus don’t show symptoms and can spread the virus to others.” He said that even if “you’re feeling fine,” you should get tested anyway.
“Everyone’s done amazing work to keep people safe,” Baker said. “Getting tested this week on one of those two days is a way to play your part.”
According to the state, Massachusetts has tested over 700,000 people to date for COVID-19. “The state currently has capacity at 45 labs to perform up to 30,000 COVID-19 tests per day, and its nursing home testing strategies have been replicated by states across the country,” according to a recent press release. “The Administration continues to prioritize expanding access to testing, with a key focus of that strategy being ensuring access to testing in skilled nursing facilities, rest homes, and assisted living residences and other 24/7 staffed congregate care settings.”
The Baker-Polito Administration filed a federal plan on May 30 to expand testing under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act of 2020, from which the state has received $374 million in federal funding, which will be used for increasing testing capacity, increasing access to testing for vulnerable and high-risk population, having the testing capacity to support a possible second surge, and more, the state said.
A complete list of pop-up testing sites is available at https://www.mass.gov/gettested.