Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday the city is launching a new program called “Get The Test Boston” that encourages every resident to take a coronavirus test with cases rising in the city.
Walsh said City of Boston employees will be offered one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours. They will not have to use sick time while undergoing a test.
Twenty businesses, including the Red Sox, Boston Main Streets, Rapid7, UNITE HERE Local 26, Wayfair and others have also signed the pledge to ensure their employees know how to get tested for COVID-19.
“I’m asking everyone to commit to getting tested for COVID-19,” Walsh said. “Getting tested is how you keep yourself and your family safe, and it’s also how we track the presence of the virus in our community. We need a more accurate picture.”
Walsh is encouraging all residents to get tested for coronavirus, regardless of symptoms.
As of Saturday, Boston’s positivity rate was at 7.8%, compared to 6.2% the prior week
“We’re entering into a very critical time in this pandemic,” Walsh added.
“We know that the virus is spreading among people who don’t have symptoms, and among people who don’t know they’ve been exposed. So we want to be proactive.”
The City of Boston offers free testing at sites in Nubian Square in Roxbury and East Boston’s Central Square.
The number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts now tops 150,000, and the state’s health department reported more than 1,000 new confirmed cases for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday.
The 1,137 new cases were out of 18,600 tests, which is a daily positivity rate of about 6.1%. The state also reported 36 new deaths due to the virus.
The Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday that the 2021 Boston Marathon has been postponed until at least next fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CBS Boston reports no official date for the 2021 race has been set yet.
-Contributing: The Associated Press