A free coronavirus testing program kicks off Friday in eight communities across Massachusetts that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.
Free testing will be provided for the next five weeks in the following hot spot communities: Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford.
Governor Charlie Baker said these are the communities where the COVID-19 rate is above the statewide average. While they only make up nine percent of the state's population, they account for 27-percent of the state's positive cases, Baker said.
"Increase testing within these communities will help to identify new cases of COVID-19 and help stop community transmission," Gov. Baker said.
State and health officials are urging residents in these cities and towns to get tested for COVID-19, even if they do not have any symptoms.
Making an appointment on the state's coronavirus website is recommended, however it is not necessary to get tested.
Testing is open to everyone and is not restricted to residents of the cities or towns where there are testing sites.
There are multiple testing locations in each community. Click here for a full list of testing locations and hours.
The "Stop the Spread" testing program runs through Aug. 14.