From the Acushnet Fire & EMS Department Facebook page
Monday, December 13, 2021
Earlier today, the Commonwealth announced that 2.1 million at home Covid 19 Rapid test kits will be made available to 102 communities.
We have made the argument that testing is an incredibly important tool at the community level.
In Europe many countries are making tests available to all residents. Testing at home for Covid works into many European households’ morning routine. Teeth brushed, check. Hair looking good, check. Covid free, check. Great, now off to fill-in-blank (work, school, Market Basket, elderly parents house…).
Instead of spreading the 2.1 million tests over all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns, the formula used was based on income.
The 102 communities selected have the highest level of families living below the Federal Poverty Level. Policy makers have to start somewhere and tying the delivery of free, home based rapid tests based on income is a good start.
However, once again the state has closed its eyes to the impact of Covid on communities that abut those 102 targeted cities and towns. Once again, New Bedford will receive tens of thousands of free tests to distribute to its residents but not the smaller, physically connected suburbs, even though some have weekly Covid monitoring data that exceeds the city’s (Acushnet’s percentage positivity rate reported last week is greater than New Bedford’s).
Regrettably, this is not the first time. Acushnet started offering weekly testing because the state threw all its testing resources at the city. Acushnet conducted its own local vaccine clinics because the state was focused on the city.
And now Acushnet (and Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Freetown) which are all considered high impact Covid areas by the Mayo Clinic, will not be receiving free at-home Covid test kits to distribute to its residents, so that they would know if they were Covid positive before going to fill-in-blank (school, job, restaurant, store….) in the targeted city of New Bedford.
It was announced that communities not eligible to participate in this program will be allowed to purchase these take-home tests from the same vendors for the state’s agreed-to price ($10 per two pack).
Let us know if we are wrong but doesn’t it stand to reason that any effective strategy against the virus cannot simply look at communities as stand-alones, but instead as part of a contiguous region. Simply put, when a cancer is removed the surgeons want clean margins. The suburbs need to be considered the margins here or this disease will continue.
Kevin A. Gallagher, Acushnet Fire Chief
Click here to download the entire 12/16/21 issue: 12-16-21 ChristmasLights
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News with PayPal