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Boston Secures Enough Kits For Universal Testing Of People Who Are Homeless And Shelter Workers

The tents designated for people who are homeless who may be affected by coronavirus behind the shelter on Southampton Street in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The tents designated for people who are homeless who may be affected by coronavirus behind the shelter on Southampton Street in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The city of Boston is moving forward with a plan to conduct universal coronavirus testing for people in the homeless community.

Boston officials said Thursday they now have secured more than 1,000 test kits for people who are homeless, and those resources will allow for the remainder of homeless residents and shelter workers in the city to be tested.

So far, Boston and its partners have tested about 1,300 people — or more than half of the adult emergency shelter population.

Of those who have been tested, 34% were positive for the virus.

Karen LaFrazia, president and CEO of the day shelter St. Francis House, said universal testing is needed because so many people are asymptomatic.

"And if you cannot identify the people who have disease, separate them from people who don't have disease, we'll have a pandemic within a pandemic," she said.

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Lynn Jolicoeur Twitter Producer/Reporter
Lynn Jolicoeur is the field producer for WBUR's All Things Considered. She also reports for the station's various local news broadcasts.

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