BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday a plan he said will “dramatically increase” coronavirus testing at community health centers in the state.
Baker said the testing will be done in partnership with Quest Diagnostics and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
“Quest has agreed to ship 2,200 tests per day to 12 community health centers and is committed to adding more soon,” Baker said. “The first group of health centers includes facilities, and operations in Quincy, Brockton, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, Provincetown, and multiple sites in Boston.”
The governor said anyone interested in being tested should contact the health centers this week. Baker said each location is processing appointments differently.
Manny Lopes , CEO of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center said the testing will be a critical resource.
“Testing will be critical for the well being of our residents and to the overall state response to COVID-19 as they lead to detection, which allows us to keep sick individuals at home in quarantine and reduce exposure to our community members and slow the spread,” Lopes said.
Brockton Mayor Richard Sullivan said his city has been one of the hardest-hit communities. In fact, Brockton is second only to Boston in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. He said testing is only one half of the city’s strategy. The other half is community tracing. He said residents will receive calls from the Mass. Covid Team.
“We have done this in multiple languages and translation to inform the general public. I really, truly believe it will assist us. It’s a solutions-based approach to try to get a handle on why this is spreading so, so really rapidly here in the city of Brockton,” Sullivan said.
As of Tuesday, 175,372 people have been tested in Massachusetts. The state has reported 41,199 positive tests and 1,961 coronavirus deaths.
Recently, the number of daily COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts has declined, but Baker said residents should not read too much into that.
“The last few days we’ve seen fewer about the same number of positive cases day-to-day. But we think it’s too soon to draw a conclusion from that data,” Baker said. “First, a few days is not a represented trend. We’ve seen this data bounce around before. And secondly, the number of positive tests is entirely dependent on who you test. What I mean by that is daily positive test totals don’t necessarily represent what’s happening across the entire Commonwealth. Today’s announcement on increased testing should help expand the universe of testing.”