NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts currently ranks as one of the top 5 states in the nation for COVID-19 testing per capita.
Governor Charlie Baker said he plans to further increase testing to keep up with the surge in cases.
Currently, Hampden County is the only county in the western part of the state with Stop the Spread testing locations. According to Gov. Baker, Stop the Spread testing will soon be available in all counties in western Massachusetts.
When the state’s Stop the Spread initiative expanded to western Massachusetts in August, four locations were implemented across Holyoke and Springfield. As COVID cases continued to rise, so did the number of people in line.
To shorten the lines and car rides to get there, Gov. Baker plans to add Stop the Spread testing locations in Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties.
Omar Abdelao told 22News, “A few times when I saw the lines I wouldn’t go. Being in that experience. I realized the more centers you have the shorter the lines and the more people feel secure and safe to go to these testing centers.”
Governor Baker said adding these locations are part of an effort to ensure every county in the state has access to a state-supported testing site. This expansion includes a partnership with UMass Amherst for free testing for everyone, not just students and this will go into effect as soon as next Monday.
This also includes free testing across multiple sites in Berkshire County, and an intent to expand free testing with a mobile provider in Franklin County. These sites are expected to be up and running and during the coming weeks.
The Baker-Polito Administration adds these sites will be “winterized” so they can be safe residents during the winter months.