Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is urging anyone that attended a protest – or any large gathering – in the past two weeks to get tested for COVID-19. The testing will cost you absolutely nothing when conducted at one of the more than 50 sites listed on this link from Mass.gov.

Communities like Fall River, New Bedford, Wareham Mattapoisett, Acushnet, and Dartmouth have all hosted local Black Lives Matter rallies over the past several weeks, drawing hundreds of people at a time. Not surprisingly, Boston drew the largest crowds in New England.

Health officials have had concerns about how these rallies might have an effect on public health with regards to COVID-19. We asked the Infectious Disease Chief from SouthCoast Health, Dr. Eliesel Lacerda De La Cruz, if there was a spike in the numbers since the protests. He told us that there has been a spike in a number of states, but it is not yet clear if the increases are linked to the protesting.

Locally on the SouthCoast, there doesn't yet appear to be any effects from the protests, with numbers dipping to their lowest in months. However, Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz stressed again that it is still early to draw any conclusions.

There is hope that the widespread testing that will take place today and tomorrow will offer some more data that can be used to track whether the virus was widely spread during the protests. It could help figure out just how much the outdoors and sunshine help to thwart the effects of COVID-19.

Here is a list of SouthCoast locations that are offering the free test today and tomorrow.

  • CARVER: CVS on North Main Street
  • EAST FALMOUTH: CVS on East Falmouth Highway
  • NEW BEDFORD: CVS on Ashley Boulevard
  • WESTPORT: CVS on Lincoln Street

Testing will be done at the above locations by appointment only.

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