Covid Rate Up but Fewer Residents Taking Advantage of Free Testing

Bedford is no exception to recent trends showing an increased incidence in Covid-19.

“It seems to have coincided with the increase in vaccines,” observed Heidi Porter, the town’s Director of Health and Human Services. “With reopening, we are increasingly concerned about folks waiting for vaccinations and loosening precautions. We are still promoting that messaging of precautions.”

Last week’s local Covid-19 positivity rate was less than 1.1 percent, Porter said. But this week it was 1.79—still below the state positivity rate, but a significant increase. “When you see this uptick in a week, you wonder, ‘What’s going on?’”

“Folks are excited about the opportunities for vaccinations,” Porter acknowledged. “But until you are vaccinated, you have to behave the same as in the past year. That means comply with safety protocols. Once fully vaccinated, it’s nice to think about additional freedoms. But you really need to maintain those precautions.”

“I’m trying to give people some hope without encouraging people to be too free,” she said.”

Porter emphasized that the importance of testing for Covid-19 has not relaxed. But the attendance at the free testing offered by the town on Saturday mornings at Middlesex Community College has.

“We hope folks will use that as an opportunity for surveillance,” Porter said, with a reminder that many Covid cases are asymptomatic.

The testing is by appointment only; a link is on the town website. Testing will resume on April 3, when the Middlesex Community College nursing students, who help administer the testing with Bedford firefighters, are back from their school break.

The testing takes place in Building 8, but Porter said that “if folks need to be tested in their vehicles, they can be accommodated.”

The program can test as many as 600 people each week, but in recent weeks Porter said the total has been less than half that. “We want folks to take advantage of this.”

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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