Rivera Announces $1M Investment for COVID-19 Testing
Today, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, with Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Deborah Wilson, president and CEO of Lawrence General Hospital and State Rep. Christina Minicucci, announced the opening of the Lawrence Community COVID-19 Testing Center, a testing site for Lawrence residents.
The city of Lawrence will invest $1M to test 1,000 Lawrence residents daily and has contracted with Lawrence General Hospital to run the testing center with community health care partners including the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC). The GLFHC will lead the contact-tracing efforts launched this week with Partners In Health and Mass General Brigham.
“This new testing site is a great example of how community and health care partners can work together to increase COVID-19 testing, and we’re grateful to Mayor Rivera, Lawrence General Hospital, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and others for making this initiative happen,” said Gov. Baker. “As we begin our phased reopening, increased testing will remain an important priority, and our Administration is committed to boosting testing capacity and access for residents across the Commonwealth.”
Lawrence has been a hot spot for the crisis, with the 5th highest number of affected residents and 4th highest per-capita in Massachusetts.
During the press conference, Rivera issued an executive order to cancel all public events through December 2020 as a way to limit contact and large crowds. Additionally, he announced a $300 fine for residents who aren’t wearing masks in public.
Rivera urged doctors to be liberal with referrals and testing, stating that better data on the virus will better equip the city for the coming months. The Department of Public Health has expanded the criteria of testing to include anyone who has shown symptoms of the virus, as well as anyone who has come in close contact with a diagnosed individual.
Gov. Baker also announced his plans for increasing testing in the Commonwealth, stating that he will be filing plans next week to boost overall capacity to 45,000 tests at the end of July and 75,000 by end of December. This plan would make Massachusetts the largest testing-per-capita entity in the world. The plan also expanded testing for high risk settings like hospitals and nursing homes and random testing for surveillance purposes, as well as additional lab space.
Testing hours at the new Lawrence General Hospital facility are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Currently these hours are reserved for symptomatic Lawrence residence of all ages, but the facility will soon announce plans for asymptomatic patients.