Child care programs, families now have testing sites of their own

BRAINTREE, Mass. — For the first time, the state and a handful of communities are providing COVID-19 testing specifically for child care programs and families that use them. On Thursday, Boston 25 News was invited to a site in Braintree at the South Shore Plaza where testing began at 11 a.m.

The site is open to anyone who is symptomatic, was in close contact with an infected person, or has concerns about possible exposure, according to a spokesperson for Gov. Charlie Baker.

This includes child care program staff and families that use them.

“We are using a child daycare where there was a positive case,” said Matthew Newsom of Belmont.

The state Department of Early Education and Care arranged for testing at multiple sites along with the Massachusetts Early Childhood Funder Collaborative and BayCoast Bank.

“The most critical thing is to prevent transmission within our centers,” said EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.

The sites were put in communities where access has been an issue and families tell Boston 25 News, they are appreciative.

“We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to get everyone tested,” said Newsom.

“Someone who is below the age of two is really difficult to find testing for.”

Karen did not wish to give her last name, but is a teacher in nearby Quincy and says she has young children of her own.

This site gives her better access to COVID-19 testing. She came for a test after falling ill recently in order to return to work.

As gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions continue, and more parents head back to work, safety at local daycares is vital.

“We are seeing very little exposure in our sites,” said Aigner-Treworgy.

“What we are seeing is our child care providers working hard to make sure families are safe and we want to help them do that.”

Leaders in Braintree which is administering some vaccinations for those eligible say testing remains a focal point despite the excitement around vaccines.

“We need to make sure we can find it wherever it is until everyone is vaccinated and we can eventually eliminate it,” said Mayor Charles Kokoros.

For a full list of testing sites for those using daycares and hours of operation, click here.

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