Governor Charlie Baker announced on Monday that the state is expanding COVID-19 testing throughout the state, and that will include three free testing sites in Berkshire County. The governor, during his media briefing Monday said that Massachusetts is a National leader in COVID-19 testing and has been ranked in the Top 5 states per capita nationwide pretty much since April. He also said that the state has come a long way in building out a robust testing strategy, as he gave the latest testing numbers.

Now, the Berkshires will finally have a trio of free testing sites located in Pittsfield, North Adams, and Great Barrington. The state as a whole currently has approximately 350 testing sites and they can all be found on the state’s test-site map at www.mass.gov/covidtestmap.

In collaboration with the COVID-19 Command Center, Baker announced Monday an expansion of the state’s free testing program across the commonwealth. He said that through a combination of new and re-located testing sites, the state will have more testing locations available in each county to conduct “significantly more tests” for the people of the commonwealth. According to the Governor, with the new testing sites announced, the state will be conduction testing in 25 communities in the state.

As part of the expanded testing, locations in Great Barrington, Pittsfield and North Adams now have been designated “Stop the Spread” centers, which will allow residents to get tested for any reason, and the state will cover the cost. 

Here is the video of Monday's briefing:

The Governor also gave an update on vaccines on Monday, saying that the Federal Government has informed him that the state should receive 300,000 first doses by the end of December. He went on to say that those first doses will be prioritized to frontline healthcare workers first and then to long-term care facilities. More information will be available Wednesday as to how the process will work, according to Baker.

The governor also addressed the increasing frustration of several mayors around the commonwealth that he spoke to over this past weekend. He says they are frustrated with him and frustrated generally. In every case however, according to Baker, the mayors "to a person" said that they have seen people in their communities engaging in risky behaviors that they have continuously been talking about as the sort of thing to seek to avoid.

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