BOSTON (WWLP/ – Governor Baker announced that his administration will distribute over two million rapid at-home COVID-19 tests to 102 communities that were the hardest hit by the pandemic.

The tests will be free of charge and will be coming from I-Health labs. They will be delivered this week throughout the Commonwealth by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard. Rapid at-home tests can be done in 15 minutes and are a fast, easy, and convenient way to test for COVID.

The Baker administration continues to urge residents to get vaccinated especially as we head into the holidays. So far, just over 6-million residents or 75-percent of Massachusetts’ population is fully vaccinated. About 1.5-million residents have gotten a booster shot.

List of cities and towns to receive at-home test kits:

  1. Adams
  2. Amherst
  3. Athol
  4. Attleboro
  5. Avon
  6. Barnstable
  7. Bernardston
  8. Beverly
  9. Boston
  10. Bridgewater
  11. Brockton
  12. Brookline
  13. Buckland
  14. Cambridge
  15. Charlemont
  16. Chelsea
  17. Chicopee
  18. Chilmark
  19. Clarksburg
  20. Colrain
  21. Dennis
  22. Eastham
  23. Erving
  24. Everett
  25. Fall River
  26. Fitchburg
  27. Florida
  28. Framingham
  29. Gardner
  30. Gloucester
  31. Granville
  32. Great Barrington
  33. Greenfield
  34. Halifax
  35. Hamilton
  36. Haverhill
  37. Hawley
  38. Heath
  39. Hinsdale
  40. Holyoke
  41. Huntington
  42. Lawrence
  43. Leominster
  44. Leyden
  45. Lincoln
  46. Lowell
  47. Ludlow
  48. Lynn
  49. Malden
  50. Methuen
  51. Middleborough
  52. Milford
  53. Millville
  54. Monroe
  55. Montague
  56. Mount Washington
  57. New Bedford
  58. New Braintree
  59. Newbury
  60. North Adams
  61. North Attleborough
  62. Northampton
  63. Norwood
  64. Oak Bluffs
  65. Orange
  66. Orleans
  67. Oxford
  68. Palmer
  69. Peabody
  70. Peru
  71. Pittsfield
  72. Quincy
  73. Randolph
  74. Revere
  75. Rockland
  76. Rockport
  77. Russell
  78. Salem
  79. Saugus
  80. Savoy
  81. Somerville
  82. South Hadley
  83. Southbridge
  84. Southwick
  85. Springfield
  86. Stoughton
  87. Taunton
  88. Uxbridge
  89. Wales
  90. Waltham
  91. Ware
  92. Wareham
  93. Webster
  94. Wendell
  95. West Boylston
  96. West Springfield
  97. West Stockbridge
  98. Weston
  99. Williamstown
  100. Winchendon
  101. Winthrop
  102. Worcester

How communities were selected

The 102 municipalities in the Commonwealth with the highest proportion of families living below the Federal Poverty Level are receiving iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen test kits. All twenty of the Commonwealth’s most disproportionately impacted equity communities were included by these criteria. In total, the 102 municipalities account for nearly 3.7 million Massachusetts residents.

Each city or town will determine how best to distribute tests within their community, with an emphasis on increasing access for individuals and families who are facing financial hardship.

About the testing kits

The iHealth Labs COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits can be done at home. They are a fast, easy and convenient way to test for COVID-19. The tests can be completed in 15 minutes without the need to send a sample to a laboratory. Mobile phones or computers are not needed for any part of the test. Individuals 2 years of age and older can use the tests regardless of vaccination status or whether or not they have symptoms.

At-home rapid antigen test kits will be distributed proportionally across the 102 communities according to the proportion of their families below the  Federal Poverty Level threshold. Distribution to municipalities will be run by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the Massachusetts National Guard.

Residents can also visit local pharmacies or order online to purchase rapid test kits on their own, as needed.

COVID-19 rapid tests are one of many risk-reduction measures, along with vaccination, that protect you and others by reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19.

What do I do if my test is positive?

It can take a few days to get your test results and while you are waiting, you should stay home and limit your contact with anyone else. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate until you are no longer infectious, and notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Self-isolation means separating yourself from others to keep your germs from spreading.
    • How to Self-isolate 
    • CDC Isolation Guidance
    • If you have questions about isolation or quarantine, you can call your Local Board of Health or the Department of Public Health’s On-call Epidemiologists at 617-983-6800.

Monitor your symptoms

  • If you feel like you need medical care, call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, call 9-1-1 to seek emergency medical care immediately:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Notify your close contacts

  • Call your close contacts to notify them of your positive result
  • Unvaccinated close contacts should self-quarantine (stay home and limit contact with anyone else).
  • Encourage them to get tested at a COVID-19 Testing Site

close contact is someone you have been inside with and were within 6 feet of for at least 10-15 minutes while symptomatic or in the 2 days before symptom onset. You can be a close contact of someone who didn’t have symptoms if you were inside with them or and were within 6 feet of for at least 10-15 minutes in the 10 days after they tested positive or in the 2 days before their positive test was taken. A close contact can also be someone who had direct contact with the droplets of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing a mask or face covering.

If you need help getting resources to self-isolate or self-quarantine

  • Call your local board of health. They can link you to resources to help you be able to stay home. 

What are the different types of COVID-19 testing?

There are 2 types of COVID-19 testing: Virus Testing and Antibody Testing.

Virus testing is the type that tells you if you currently have COVID-19. These tests are typically done using a nasal swab, oral swab, or saliva sample, and then sent to a lab. There are two types of this testing:

  • Molecular tests (also often called PCR tests) detect the presence of viral genetic materials and are considered the gold standard test.
  • Antigen tests are rapid tests which detect the presence of certain proteins on the surface of the virus. These tests can be performed at point-of-care or at home and are available over-the-counter. BinaxNOW Antigen Test Abstract | Graph

Antibody testing detects the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 in your blood. Antibodies are produced during an infection with COVID-19 or by vaccination.

  • Important to know: At this time, most people don’t need antibody tests and they should not be used to guide decisions on whether to stop isolation or return to work. Currently, we do not know what level of antibodies in your blood means that you are immune from further infection with COVID-19.