Mass. To Give Out 26 Million COVID Tests, Starting With Schools

Photo: James Rojas/WBZ NewsRadio

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Baker Administration says it has made a deal with a COVID-19 test manufacturer to bring 26 million rapid tests to the state in the coming months. Gov. Charlie Baker said K-12 schools and child care statewide would have priority on the tests in a press conference on Tuesday.

Shipments should begin to come in this week, and continue on a rolling basis through March. Gov. Baker did not specify how the tests would be distributed.

The tests will come from California-based iHealth Labs, the same manufacturer that supplied the state with 2.1 million tests for cities and towns statewide last month. Baker did not rule out giving some of the tests to the general public.

"We would like to make them available a little more broadly, if we can," he said. The governor also introduced guidance from the Department of Public Health, saying the agency doesn't recommend employers require a COVID test when workers come back from isolation, but that if they did, a rapid at-home test should suffice.

Gov. Baker also announced that he would also activate the 500 more members of the National Guard to help out the state's hospitals in their critical staffing shortage.

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