BOSTON ( Associated Press) – Massachusetts can expect to receive 26 million rapid antigen COVID-19 tests over the next three months, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday.
Baker said the state has placed an order with iHealth to supply Massachusetts with the tests. The agreement allows shipments to arrive on a rolling basis, although the exact timing and quantity of each shipment may vary depending on international shipping and changes in production.
Baker also announced on Tuesday that he has activated an additional 500 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to support the state’s health care system during the ongoing COVID-19 surge brought on by Omicron Edition.
The order expands the 500-member National Guard activation that was originally announced on December 21 to support non-clinical operations in state hospitals.
The newly activated 500 members will be used to provide additional non-clinical staff in community hospitals and high-volume emergency departments, public hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and dialysis centers starting January 17.
Administration also issued public health advisory Instructing residents when to seek testing for COVID-19.
The advisory suggested that all residents seek COVID-19 testing when exhibiting COVID symptoms, or five days after close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID.
The Omicron type spreads more easily than other coronavirus strains, and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects people who have been vaccinated or who have previously been infected with earlier versions of the virus.
However, early studies suggest that Omicron is less likely to cause serious disease than the previous delta version, and vaccinations and boosters still provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.