[Coverage Developing] New testing sites will be opened and mobile testing vans will be deployed in eight cities across Massachusetts where positive test rates for COVID-19 are elevated and testing volume has declined since late April, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday.
The new testing initiative dubbed "Stop the Spread" will launch on Friday and run through Aug. 14 to make testing available for people with or without symptoms in hotspots where the prevalence of COVID-19 appears to exceed what is occurring elsewhere in the state.
The increased testing will be available in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford.
Baker said the eight communities were selected based on elevated cases in those cities, higher rates over spread over the past two weeks, high positive test rates over the past two weeks and declining test volume since the end of April.
Residents of the eight communities represent 9% of the state's population, but account for 27% of the positive cases detected over the past two weeks, and the positive test rate of 8% in those cities far exceeds the statewide rate of 1.9%.
Baker also said that testing is down 40% in these communities since the end of April.
"Testing will remain a critical tool in the months ahead," Baker said.
~ Matt Murphy/SHNS