BOSTON (WWLP) – An announcement was made Wednesday to distribute 3.5 million free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to Massachusetts residents.

The tests are expected to be delivered to municipalities to make available to residents across the Commonwealth. This plan is to build on the successful distribution of over two million rapid tests to municipalities earlier this spring. In addition to tests, a request for essential PPE, such as KN95, and surgical and children’s masks can be made by municipalities.

All allocations are expected to be based on population size. Tests and PPE can be requested by municipalities through September 16. Shipments are to arrive before mid-October. Since December 2021, distributions of free tests were built upon statewide contracts. In which allows municipalities and eligible entities to order manufactured test kits that are state negotiated prices.

To reach those who are most vulnerable, 1.5 additional million rapid antigen tests are to also go food banks in the Commonwealth. Currently, 1.5 million has already been delivered.

“This distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests builds on our work over the past several years to partner with municipalities to ensure residents can protect themselves from the virus,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Rapid tests, along with other resources like vaccines, boosters and treatments, provide residents with the tools they need to manage COVID-19.”

“Throughout our time in office, we have focused on collaborating with our municipal partners, and that has been especially true throughout the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This latest distribution of rapid tests is part of our ongoing work to provide local officials with the tools and resources they need to protect their residents and communities.”

Over 25 millions rapid antigen test have been distribute over Massachusetts since December 2021. According to a news release sent by the Baker-Polito Administration this announcement is the latest step in the Administration’s effort to provide tools needed to manage COVID-19 to Commonwealth residents.

“Testing is one critical tool for managing COVID-19, rather than COVID managing us, and we remain committed to ensuring that all Massachusetts residents have access to free tests,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “Taking an at-home test is part of the steps that individuals can take – including staying up to date on vaccines, staying home when sick, and wearing masks as needed – to protect themselves and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”