COVID Testing Patterns Prompt Gov. Baker To Issue Advice On Timing

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — With Christmas and New Year's approaching, Gov. Charlie Baker is urging people to get tested for COVID-19 and to do so before they attend holiday events rather than afterwards.

"One of the things that's been important for me to point out is we have a lot of people who go to our test sites on Mondays and Tuesdays, which means they went to our test sites after they went out on Friday and Saturday," Baker said Wednesday after an event in Plymouth. "What we would say to everybody as we head into the holidays is, take advantage of these rapid tests -- if you can get them through you're community, go for it. You can get them at CVS, you can get them at Walgreens, you can buy them online."

Baker this week announced plans to deliver 2.1 million rapid tests to 102 communities, and the administration said it will be up to those municipalities to distribute the tests to their residents.

One at-home rapid test, the Abbot BinaxNow kit, sells for about $24 for a two-pack, and pharmacies at times sell out or limit how many a customer can buy. Free molecular tests are also available at pharmacies, state-sponsored sites and other locations, though it can take days to receive results from those tests.

"It's very important for folks, if they want to protect themselves and their family members, especially their elderly or vulnerable family members, get tested before you go to that event," Baker said. "And if you test positive, take it seriously, isolate yourself and test until you test negative."

The Department of Public Health reported 104,666 new molecular tests and 31,140 new antigen tests on Wednesday, with a seven-day average positivity rate of 5.35 percent. Percent positivity is calculated based only on the molecular tests.

By Katie Lannan, State House News Service

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