BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced a new contract that will bring 26 million rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to Massachusetts over the next three months.
The iHealth test kits will first be prioritized for public schools and child care settings in an effort to keep kids in class before they are made available to other entities, Baker said during a news conference at the State House.
The governor did warn of possible delays in the shipment based on ongoing supply chain issues across the country.
“We will play this one a little bit based on how the supply arrives as it gets distributed, but the idea is we will like to make them available more broadly if we can,” Baker said.
The Department of Public Health is now advising that a rapid test does not need to be confirmed by a PCR test, Baker stated, explaining that rapid tests should be adequate for schools, employers, and child care centers who require people to get tested in order to return to the work.
“Rapid tests, in most situations, are a very good alternative to PCR tests,” Baker said.
The shipment of tests is expected to be available throughout January, February, and March.
About 500 additional National Guard members are also being activated to help medical facilities amid staffing shortages.
The state has no plans to open any additional testing sites, despite long wait times as infections surge, according to Baker.
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