NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The city of New Bedford has started to hand out free at-home COVID-19 testing kits as part of an effort to help vulnerable populations.
With new cases and hospitalizations on the rise, the state secured 2.1 million of these kits and distributed them to more than 100 cities and towns, focusing on lower-income and minority communities that were adversely affected by the pandemic.
New Bedford received more than 37,000 kits which are available through community organizations and events being held at schools and libraries. (See a full list of events at the bottom of this page.)
The kits are only available to New Bedford residents and while supplies last. City officials said the following groups are being prioritized:
- Families with young children
- Unvaccinated people
- People who identify as Hispanic, multi-racial, or as another minority racial/ethnic group
- People younger than 30
The kits contain two rapid antigen tests from iHealth Labs, according to the city. They offer results in 15 minutes, with no phone or computer needed, and the samples don’t need to go to a lab.
Officials say the tests are effective for everyone over the age of 2, regardless of symptoms or vaccination status.
Anyone who tests positive is told to confirm their result at a COVID-19 testing site, isolate for 10 days, and notify any close contacts.
On Tuesday, Dec. 21, pop-up distribution events for students, staff and their families will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at:
- Keith Middle School (25 Hathaway Blvd.)
- Normandin Middle School (81 Felton St.)
- Roosevelt Middle School (119 Frederick St.)
On Wednesday, Dec. 22, events will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at:
- Alfred J. Gomes Elementary School (286 S. 2nd St.)
- Sgt. William Carney Memorial Academy Elementary School (247 Elm St.)
- Hayden McFadden Elementary School (361 Cedar Grove St.)
- Abraham Lincoln School (445 Ashley Blvd.)
- Casimir Pulaski Elementary School (1097 Braley Road)
On both days, events will be held at these libraries:
- Downtown/Main (613 Pleasant St.) – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 21–22
- Wilks Branch (1911 Acushnet Ave.) – 12 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 22
- Howland-Green Branch (3 Rodney French Blvd.) – 12 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 22