Salem Begins Distribution Of Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test Kits

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SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Wednesday, the City of Salem received thousands of iHealth Labs COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits from the state and have begun distributing said kits to those most vulnerable to and disproportionately impacted by the disease.

Town officials said that each kit contains two at-home tests each, and encouraged that those receiving a kit take one of the tests before gathering for the holidays, and then a second test before returning to work after the festivities.

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Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll told WBZ's James Rojas that the tests are being distributed to populations impacted by COVID-19 the most. "We want to make sure places like our food pantries, places where we know vulnerable or high-risk populations are living- have access to this," said Driscoll.

According to the town's website, antigen tests will be prioritized for places like Salem Public Schools, Salem Pantry, multi-family housing sites, childcare facilities such as the Salem YMCA, and Lifebridge's day center and supportive housing sites.

The remainder of the tests will be distributed to any Salem resident who may need one, town officials said. Test kit distributions were announced to be held by the Health Department staff on December 20, 21, and 22 at the Salem City Hall Annex, 98 Washington Street from 9:00 a.m. to noon and later at the Community Life Center, 401 Bridge Street, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The town said that one kit will be provided for each household, proof of Salem residency is required, and that distribution of kits is subject to availability.

"We're only a week away from Christmas- that's the most important time that we know having a rapid test might help cut down and curb transmission," said Driscoll. Mayor Driscoll also said that these tests are the first round of test shipments, signaling a continued effort to provide free, rapid at-home tests to Salem households in the coming weeks.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.

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