Massachusetts launching COVID-19 public awareness campaign

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BOSTON (AP) – Massachusetts is launching a public awareness campaign in several languages aimed at encouraging residents to remain vigilant against the coronavirus as the state continues to see a surge, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday.

The television and digital ads will reinforce basic virus protections like wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene, maintaining a safe distance and getting tested.

The ads stress that the way to get back to activities that everyone is missing – attending live sporting events, throwing a child’s birthday party, going out dancing with friends – hinges on how well everyone adheres to safety protocols now.

The campaign includes social media messages and digital animated videos in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, simplified and traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese. Information posters will also be displayed in convenience stores.

Television ads in English and Spanish will run on broadcast and digital channels through February.

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NURSING HOMES

Long-term care facilities can begin using rapid 15-minute COVID-19 tests to screen people entering the facilities who are not regular staff members, including visitors, state health Secretary Marylou Sudders said Monday.

Those who test negative can enter provided they already meet existing criteria, including not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and complying with other requirements, such as wearing a mask.

The expansion of rapid testing follows an announcement last week about the use of the 15-minute tests to help screen students in K-12 schools who may be experiencing symptoms.

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COVID-19 GRANTS

The state has awarded $650,000 in grants to community and faith-based groups designed to help spread and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color in cities and towns hardest hit by the disease.

Twenty organizations that officials say have demonstrated deep engagement with their communities are receiving funding.

Strategies to reach individuals in those communities include relying on youth peer leaders, trusted community leaders, and those with shared lived experience to increase the understanding of the impact of COVID-19.

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