Project Beacon’s 1 million “Stop the Spread” tests boost equitable COVID-19 testing access in Massachusetts

December 01 2022

COVID-19 testing programs take on many shapes and sizes. Project Beacon was established in Boston to bring free PCR testing sites where they are most needed. This approach is helping our communities thrive.

1 million tests for Massachusetts communities

Poor access to testing in high-density areas presents a considerable public health challenge, as it makes it much harder to understand and mitigate risks of pathogen outbreaks. Since its inception, Project Beacon has focused on improving accessibility to tests in areas without dedicated testing infrastructure. As part of its “Stop the Spread” campaign, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services selected several locations for express COVID-19 testing sites based on demonstrated need, volume of daily testing, and geographic equity. 

Each site provides local residents free testing without exception. There are no requirements for showing insurance, ID, or any other barriers. It’s about giving individuals and their communities the confidence and comfort that only testing can provide.

After more than two years of supporting communities, “Stop the Spread” sites hit a major milestone with 1 million samples tested in November. That’s a million unique data points for public health officials to gain insight into COVID-19 prevalence and variants. For residents, it’s a million instances where testing removed the mystery around COVID-19 status. 

It all adds up to the ability to make more informed decisions, whether it’s an individual choosing to quarantine, an organization postponing an event, or a public health official establishing new safety guidelines.

Delivering the insights that communities need

Congregate settings are a great place to test for COVID-19; they act like proxies for the community at large. But programs that take place in schools, airports, senior living facilities, and other shared environments do not reach everybody. Giving the general public affordable pathways to lab-verified results is just as important in keeping a lid on COVID-19 risks.

We will be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. Project Beacon and programs like it are a way to shine a light on cases in communities with limited resources. We’ll continue to operate our testing sites at Framingham, Revere, and New Bedford through at least March 31, 2023—you can pre-register for a test here

For more information on growing equitable biosecurity solutions, please reach out!

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