​​​​​​​City of Salem Continues Distribution of Rapid COVID Tests

Distribution efforts prioritize high risk and disproportionately impacted populations
rapid tests

This week the City of Salem took delivery of a shipment of iHealth Labs COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits. Each kit contains two tests. The City has begun deploying allocations of the rapid tests to key community agencies and partners, as well as the general public and businesses, to take place through the rest of January during the anticipated peak surge of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“Nearly 235,000 PCR tests have been administered to Salem residents since the start of this pandemic and in the first round of rapid antigen test kit distribution, in December, we gave out tens of thousands of free tests,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Having the quick feedback from a rapid test makes it easier for residents and workers to protect themselves and their loved ones. I strongly encourage residents to avail themselves of these free rapid tests if applicable and to consider purchasing some rapid tests to have at home if they are not able to use these free tests. Starting Saturday, many residents may be able to be fully reimbursed by their health insurance for up to eight rapid at-home tests per person per month.

The City will distribute this new round of rapid tests in a manner that prioritizes high risk and disproportionately impacted populations. The following distributions are taking place this week:

  • An allocation to the Salem Public Schools and Salem Academy Charter School for distribution to students and staff.
  • An allocation to large multi-family housing sites, including Salem Heights, Loring Towers, Pequot Highlands, and Salem Housing Authority properties, for tenants.
  • An allocation to licensed childcare and day care providers in the City.
  • An allocation to the Council on Aging staff for distribution to homebound and other high-risk senior residents.

A distribution through the North Shore Community Health (NSCH) will also be used to serve clients at the Salem Pantry, Lifebridge, and tenants at North Shore CDC/Point neighborhood housing sites.

“NSCH (Salem Family Health Center) is pleased to join the City of Salem in this important public health initiative,” said Maggie Brennan, president of NSCH. “We urge all Salem residents to continue to keep our community safe by getting your COVID-19 vaccine and booster, which are proven to be very effective and lifesaving. Also, please continue masking, handwashing and social distancing to prevent this virus from spreading.”

The City will distribute the remaining test kits to any Salem resident who needs one. Test kits will be distributed by Health Department staff on the following schedule, subject to availability. If all kits are distributed by any point the remaining distribution dates will be cancelled until additional test kits are procured and available to the City:

  • Tuesday, January 18, 9AM to Noon, 401 Bridge Street
  • Tuesday, January 18, 1PM to 3PM, 98 Washington Street
  • Wednesday, January 19, 9AM to Noon, 401 Bridge Street
  • Wednesday, January 19, 1PM to 3PM, 98 Washington Street
  • Thursday, January 20, 9AM to Noon, 401 Bridge Street
  • Thursday, January 20, 3PM to 6:30PM, 135 Lafayette Street
  • Tuesday, January 25, 9AM to Noon, 401 Bridge Street
  • Tuesday, January 25, 1PM to 3PM, 98 Washington Street
  • Wednesday, January 26, 9AM to Noon, 401 Bridge Street
  • Wednesday, January 26, 1PM to 3PM, 98 Washington Street
  • Thursday, January 27, 9AM to Noon, 401 Bridge Street
  • Thursday, January 27, 3PM to 6:30PM, 135 Lafayette Street

Please note:

  • Up to two test kits (for a total of four rapid tests) will be distributed to each household for this round of distribution (January 18-27, 2022).
  • Proof of Salem residency is required to receive the free test kits. No proof of citizenship or insurance is necessary.
  • In the event additional test kits remain after this general distribution, the City may schedule additional distribution dates and, potentially, allow households to pick up a second test kit. In that event, another announcement will be made.
  • Salem businesses that are subject to the Board of Health’s December 22, 2021 orders may request up to five test kits per week for their employees through the end of January. Contact health@salem.com for more information.

“Salem has been a leader in responding to COVID-19, from innovative testing to public health measures and from vaccination programs to volunteer, housing, food, and small business support efforts,” added Mayor Driscoll. “This rapid testing initiative is a continuation of that pro-active, evidence-based, public health-focused record.”

An informational flier with instructions about how to use these tests, available in multiple languages, can be found at https://www.mass.gov/lists/covid-19-self-test-at-home-instructions-graphic.

If an individual takes one of these tests and it is positive, please see https://www.mass.gov/info-details/what-to-do-if-you-have-or-have-been-exposed-to-covid-19 for further information about what steps to take.