BOSTON (WWLP) – Access to COVID-19 testing continues to be a major issue for residents across western Massachusetts and the cold weather is making things worse.
22News spent the last three days questioning lawmakers on this issue in particular and they said staffing and supply chain issues are having a major impact on residents ability to find a test.
Right now, there are over a dozen testing sites in western Massachusetts from CVS pharmacy, to Urgent Care and even the Eastfield Mall. However, what these sites are running into is a lack of staff to administer COVID-19 tests and a lack of PCR test kits. Lawmakers say this is unacceptable and they believe it could have been prevented if state leaders were more prepared for the post holiday surge.
“We’ve been pleading for more resources at the Eastfield Mall site at this point for the better part of a year. It’s been no secret that that site is totally over capacity, people are waiting hours and hours and hours, and in some cases are having to turn around,” said Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow.
The Baker Administration announced that 26 million tests will be made available to residents over the next three months. While lawmakers applaud the Governor on this move, they believe it should’ve been done before the holidays.
Right now the positive test rate in Massachusetts is at 23 percent. However, Hampden County has a positive test rate of 29 percent, which makes it one of the highest COVID positive counties in the state. To stay safe, residents are asked to wear a mask, practice good hygiene and get vaccinated.