(BOSTON) – On January 21, Plymouth County Chair Sandy Wright informed Plymouth County legislators that Plymouth County has secured nearly 400,000 COVID-19 antigen rapid tests to be distributed in the County’s municipalities this week. Plymouth County was able to secure these test kits using the last of its money from the CARES Act.
Though cases in the most recent surge of COVID-19 have recently peaked and numbers have begun to decline again, test kits remain in high demand throughout the Commonwealth.
Municipalities represented by Representative Meschino received the following allocation of kits and tests:
- Hingham: 8,370 kits with 16,740 tests;
- Hull: 3,690 kits with 7,380 tests; and
- Scituate: 6,570 kits with 13,140 tests.
“Adequate COVID-19 test kit availability continues to be a pressing issue on the South Shore and across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “I am so appreciative of Plymouth County officials for the foresight and swift action to secure these tests for local residents, which will go a long way in addressing this urgent need in our communities.”
This announcement follows the efforts of the Massachusetts state legislature to increase the state’s capacity for testing, vaccination rates among children, and availability of high-quality masks. Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $55 million COVID-19 spending bill that tackles these issues by appropriating the following funds:
- $30 million to establish and expand COVID testing sites, with at least $5 million dedicated to expanding vaccination rates among kids ages 5 to 11; and
- $25 million to acquire and distribute high-quality personal protective masks for children and faculty in elementary and secondary public school districts.
A consolidated amendment adds several provisions to the legislation, including flexibility for retired teachers and other public employees to go back to work to ease staffing shortages as well as an extension for remote public meetings, representative town meetings, notarizations, and reverse-mortgage counseling. Under the new legislation, authorization for remote public meetings, set to expire April 1, 2022, would be extended through July 15, 2022.
The bill is now before the State Senate and is expected to advance to the governor’s desk.