Child Care Providers Offered Free Pooled Coronavirus Testing

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston-based nonprofit and the state Department of Early Education and Care have teamed up to protect child care facilities across the state with a free pooled coronavirus testing program.

The project, administered by child care advocacy group Neighborhood Villages, will test about 6,000 children and workers per week starting in mid-June and throughout the summer, according to a statement.

The initiative is an expansion of the state's K-12 pooled testing program school credited with keeping coronavirus transmission in schools low.

What started as a successful pilot program in Boston will be expanded statewide with a $100,000 investment from the Department of Early Education and Care.

“Pooled testing has proved to be a critical mitigation strategy in detecting positive cases among asymptomatic individuals that might have otherwise been undetected," department Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said in a statement. “Bringing this testing strategy to child care programs and after school programs will be another important step in our fight against COVID-19."

In pooled testing, samples from multiple people tested together. If the pool tests negative, all the individuals in the pool are negative. If the pool tests positive, individual samples are retested to see which person tested positive.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by about 180 Friday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 10.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,540 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to about 661,800.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were fewer than 200 people reported hospitalized Friday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 70 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 58. There were an estimated 4,700 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

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IMMUNIZATIONS

More than 7.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts as of Friday.

That includes more than 4.2 million first doses and more than 3.4 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

There have been nearly 255,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.

More than 3.7 million people have been fully immunized.