25 Investigates: Testing is widely available in Mass. after months of ups and downs, but doctors worry not enough people are using it

BOSTON — As the one-year mark since the initial coronavirus shutdown arrives, the issue of testing is still in the spotlight. 25 Investigates chronicled the issues with reliable and accessible testing since the beginning of the pandemic: from the scarcity of testing kits in the spring of 2020, to concerns over accuracy.

As new variants emerged late in the year, eyes turned again to testing to track their pervasiveness. 25 Investigates exposed the state was sequencing less than 1% of positive tests for the presence of different variants.

Those variants are part of the reason why Newton-Wellesley pathologist Michael Misialek says now is not the time to slow down on widespread testing in Massachusetts.

“It could induce a sense of false security, some complacency that it’s getting better. And it is, but we don’t want to lose any gains that we have made,” Misialek said.

Testing numbers have dropped significantly in Massachusetts in recent weeks as vaccine distribution ramped up and positive case numbers waned. Misialek said many of the tests being done now are routine tests from employers. He believes more testing is needed to quickly identify potential clusters and stop another uptick.

“We need to make sure we’re looking at good strong data to be able to get and continue to open up the economy to relax restrictions,” Misialek added

He encourages people to continue to go to the widely available testing sites and their doctors, if they have any questions at all about possible COVID-19 symptoms, close contacts to positive cases, or travel exposure.

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