Coronavirus in Massachusetts: Baker announces increased testing for Community Health Centers, access to high-speed internet

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – In a news conference Wednesday afternoon the Baker-Polito Administration announced an initiative to expand COVID-19 testing at Community Health Centers throughout the Commonwealth.

The increased testing is in partnership with Quest Diagnostics and the Mass League of Community Health Centers.

According to a news release sent to 22News, community health centers in areas of high need that have the ability to increase their testing capacities will be prioritized.

As of Friday, Quest has sent over 2,255 COVID-19 test kits to community health centers in Boston and Brockton and will ship additional test kits Wednesday and Thursday to 12 community health centers, with a commitment to add additional health centers.

By Friday of this week, Baker said Quest Diagnostics has committed to ship an additional 5,000 COVID-19 test kits to the 12 community health centers.

Wednesday’s announcement provides increased testing capacity for community health facilities located in Boston, Brockton, Lowell, Quincy, Fall River, Provincetown, and Worcester.


 Access to High-Speed Internet

Baker also announced expanded access to high-speed internet for unserved cities and towns throughout Massachusetts that do not yet have a completed last-mile broadband network. The Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech, KCST, and local internet service providers will offer communities new WiFi hotspots, building off the Commonwealth’s MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network.

This program will be offered free of monthly charge to eligible communities until September 1, 2020.

MassBroadband is providing support to local ISPs as needed, and is tracking these hotspots as they come online and posting them online here

Active WiFi Hotspot Locations:

  1. Egremont Town Hall 171 Egremont Plain Roadd
  2. Hawley Highway Department 247 West Hawley Road
  3. Monterey Fire Station 411 Main Road
  4. New Marlborough Library 1 Mill River-Gt. Barrington Road
  5. New Marlborough Town Hall 807 Mill River Southfield Road
  6. New Marlborough Fire Station 205 Norfolk Road

Westfield Gas & Electric launching WiFi Hotspots coming soon:

  1. Ashfield
  2. Becket
  3. Blandford
  4. Charlemont
  5. Chesterfield
  6. Colrain
  7. Cummington
  8. Goshen
  9. Heath
  10. Leyden
  11. New Salem
  12. Washington
  13. Wendell
  14. Windsor

As of Tuesday, the Department of Public Health reported there are now 41,199 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, including 1,961 deaths.

TRACK: Coronavirus in Massachusetts

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