The state will roll out seven mobile teams to conduct on-site coronavirus testing for nursing home residents. Teams for the pilot program will be staffed by trained personnel from the state National Guard.
"We recognize that our elder populations, especially living in high-density environments, such as these, are some of the most vulnerable," Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said on Tuesday. "Prior to launch, the only way for nursing home residents to be tested was to go to a hospital or to a physicians office."
The state started using one team Tuesday in an effort to test all staff and residents at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, where 16 people have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, and at least six have died from the disease.
Sudders said that the samples collected by the mobile teams will be prioritized for testing by the Broad Institute, with an expected turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours.
Broad started processing tests last week, and says it can process up to 2,000 tests a day. As of March 30, they were processing less than 100 tests per day.