WORCESTER - More than 135,000 rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits were distributed to 21 community organizations, social service agencies and other groups on Friday in Worcester.
“It's a huge benefit to people because we have to remember that these are our neighbors and they already have to face difficult decision between buying food, paying for their heating bill, or buying medication," Jean McMurray, CEO of the Worcester County Food Bank, said.
The City of Worcester’s Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health and the Office of Emergency Management distributed iHealth Labs OTC rapid antigen test kits. The city of Worcester was allocated 67,770 kits, each with two tests for a total 135,540 tests. The kits were provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
See List Below: 21 organizations receiving rapid test kits
Rapid test kit are selling for more than $20 at the drug store. The Worcester County Food Bank and its partners are handing out tests as people pick up their food for the holidays.
“That’s a way that I think that is really going to efficiently make sure that these kits get into the hands of the people who most need them," City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said during Friday's disbursement of kits.
Worcester leaders are asking people to take the tests before and after traveling or attending holiday gatherings. There is continued concern in the city with cases rising and the new omicron variant.
Organizations like the Aids Project Worcester say some of their tests will go to people who might not have transportation to get to a testing site.
“A lot of our clients are on foot, individuals who don’t have the mobility that most have access to and also we go out into the streets," Lamar Brown-Noguera, community relations manager at AIDS Project Worcester, said.
The city is also working with the senior center, and housing authority to give out tests.
Along with the 21 organizations to receive the kits on Friday, anyone who gets their first, second or booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Worcester Public Library’svaccine clinic on Saturday will also receive a kit while supplies last.
The library's vaccine clinic runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Main Branch at 3 Salem Square.
These are the 21 organizations receiving at-home test kits:
African Community Education
Ansaar of Worcester
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
El Buen Samaritano
Guild of St. Agnes
Hope for Worcester
Main South CDC
QCC - Food Pantry
Project New Hope
Rock of Salvation
Worcester Common Ground
Worcester Community Action Council
YMCA of Central Massachusetts
YWCA of Central Massachusetts