Gov. Baker said Somerville is among the 102 “high-need communities across the Commonwealth” to receive the at-home tests.
Alex Newman , Patch Staff
SOMERVILLE, MA — Somerville officials will receive a share of the 2.1 million free rapid coronavirus at-home tests that Gov. Charlie Baker said will be distributed to 102 cities and towns across the state over the next few days.
Baker said Monday the state will be providing the tests free to 102 “high-need communities across the Commonwealth.” Baker said those communities will be allowed to then choose the manner they believe best to get them out to residents ahead of holiday gatherings.
Most of the 102 cities and towns on the list represent cities and rural communities where vaccination rates remain lower than many suburban communities and have what the state called “the highest proportion of families at or below the poverty level.”
About 78 percent of residents are fully vaccinated in Somerville, and 88 percent are partially vaccinated, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health report released Thursday.
“While each city or town will be able to determine how best to distribute tests within their community, municipalities are asked to prioritize those most in need, allocating equitably and at locations accessible to individuals and families who are determined to be in high need and as quickly as possible during the holiday season,” Baker’s office said in a statement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance last week on when it is best to administer the rapid tests .
Beyond the free state tests, Baker said the state is negotiating with manufacturers of the tests to determine a fixed price at which all Massachusetts cities and towns would then be able to buy tests using their federal coronavirus aid.
“We are already a national leader on COVID testing and this will build on that,” Baker said at a press conference on Monday. “[It is] potentially a game changer as we continue to battle COVID here in the Commonwealth.”
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