Governor Charlie Baker addressed the press conference this Tuesday and announced that Massachusetts has ordered 26 million rapid antigen tests from California’s iHealth Labs. He said that the antigen tester will be distributed with childcare facilities and K – 12 education as a priority.
Massachusetts Reveals New Isolation Protocol, Ordered 26M Rapid Tests
Massachusetts was facing long queues and waiting hours to get rapid test kits. Baker advised people not to take PCR tests after Covid – 19 test to confirm the virus supporting the statement released by the Department of Public Health Advisory.
The Secretary of Health said that the state is trying to ensure enough testing facilities in schools for the rest of the year. Baker said that he will be ensuring to go to school for at least 180 days to experience in-person learning.
Baker announced that the state continues to watch on the spread of the virus and hospitalized cases by Omicron. He said that most people who take covid tests were asked by their employee or school, as many health care centers were facing crisis issues, he added that he is not willing to extend the test centers while facing short of staff.
He said that rapid antigen tests are extremely accurate and added that for both employers and individuals PCR test is appropriate but rapid antigen test can be used as an alternative under certain circumstances. A number of positive cases have tripled over this winter, indicating the fast spread of the variant at this season.
As Massachusetts recorded nearly 19,000 cases on Monday, the number of unvaccinated or improperly vaccinated covid affected is also increasing. Massachusetts continues to vaccinate around 45,000 to 50,000 people every day between first dose and booster.
Baker pressed the point about vaccines being the best tool to fight against covid – 19. He added the best possible protection against the disease is to get vaccinated and get a booster. He expressed his gratitude to the Department of Public Health for the new isolation plan and hopes that it will be effective.
The Department of Public Health issued a new health advisory, asking the locals only to take on Covid – 19 tests if they have been exposed to someone who tested positive within five days of close contact, or if they are exhibiting symptoms of covid- 19, regardless of their vaccination status.
New quarantine protocol which the Department of Public Health issued, recommends the exposed individual not necessarily follow quarantine if any of the following conditions are met:
1. Fully vaccinated but not yet eligible to receive a booster dose.
2. Fully vaccinated and taken booster dose.
3. If they were affected by Covid and diagnosed within 90 days.
They advised not to take the PCR test to confirm the positive Covid – 19 Rapid test. To take PCR tests, individuals have to visit health care centers or testing sites, and can take 42 to 72 hours to get results. Or locals can self-test using rapid antigen tests and get results in 15 minutes.
Baker announced that around 2.1 million rapid test kits will be supplied to communities with high poverty and around 200,000 kits will be supplied to schools returning from winter breaks. He added that depending on the availability, he ensures that take-home free tests are available easily.
To face the staffing crisis across Massachusetts, especially in Health Care centers. Baker dispatched 500 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to support the health care facilities and testing centers across Massachusetts.
He stated that it is a big challenge to appoint National Guards across health care centers, as nearly all those who are called upon do not have health care experience beforehand. The guard with experience will be working in health care as civilians.