BOSTON (WGGB/WSHM) -- Governor Charlie baker has added two western Massachusetts communities to the list of statewide free COVID-19 testing sites.
The governor said positive test rates in these cities and towns are on the rise, but people seeking tests are on the decline.
On Monday, Baker added Springfield and Agawam to the growing list of state-funded testing sites, including announced today
In a briefing earlier today, Baker said the plan to expand the strategic testing program to eight new communities is reflective of those positive test rates which he said are inching higher.
Anyone in now 16 designated communities is urged to get tested, even if they have no COVID-19 symptoms.
Other communities where 'Stop the Spread' testing is available include:
- Fall River
- New Bedford
“Together, these eight new communities make up about 1 10 percent of the Massachusetts population, but make up about 15 percent of the Commonwealth's positive tests in the past week. The state's positive test rate over the past week is about 1.9 percent for the past seven days but in these eight towns, the positive test rate was 2.3 percent,” Baker explained.
The governor said the number of tests conducted in these communities has declined about 20 percent since april.
As for eligibility, testing is open to everyone. Again, you do not need to have any symptoms. It is free and testing at these sites is not restricted to residents of the particular city or town.
The 'Stop the Spread' campaign was launched to help testing of asymptomatic people in these communities to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The state opened the first batch of sites on July 10 at eight other communities. Since then, approximately 19,000 tests have been conducted and there has been a positivity rate of 1.8 percent from the 17,000 results that have come back.
More information on 'Stop the Spread', including eligibility and testing locations, can be found here.
Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more information as it becomes available.