State-run testing, vaccination sites ‘likely’ to stay in place

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Baker administration is “likely” to continue programs that help hard-hit communities access COVID-19 testing and vaccines for the foreseeable future, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.

Confirmed cases are rising in both Massachusetts and across the country, driven in many states by the more infectious Delta variant, even as widespread vaccinations have limited the frequency of severe or fatal infections. Asked Monday if he planned to keep the state-run “Stop the Spread” free testing sites open past their current end date of Sept. 30, Baker replied that decisions about vaccines and tests will be “driven to some extent by the facts on the ground.” “I think you’re likely to see us continue to operate in a pretty significant way both the vaccine programming and the testing programming for as long as we need to to successfully provide the access to those services that people around the commonwealth need,” Baker said.

The administration first launched the Stop the Spread sites in July 2020. By May of this year, the program had 35 locations and had conducted more than 2.3 million COVID-19 tests. The statewide seven-day average of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases per day stood at 466.7 on Thursday, the most recent day for which Department of Public Health data was available. That figure is more than seven times as high as the record low of 64.1 average new cases per day observed on June 25, though it remains far below the Jan. 8 peak of 6,234.

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