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Outer Cape Businesses Offered Free, Instant COVID Tests

Instant Covid Test
A BinaxNOW, at-home test. The QR code prompts a user through the testing process.

Restaurants, bars, inns, motels and other businesses on the Outer Cape can now receive free and instant COVID-19 tests.

Thousands of BinaxNOW kits were supplied to health departments in Truro, Wellfleet and Provincetown through Barnstable County, in response to a growing surge in coronavirus cases.

Truro Health director Emily Beebe says the kits will help limit potentially infected employees from spreading the virus.

"Business owners are able to have anyone they are concerned about have tested immediately," Beebe says. "If they are negative, they can stay and work, of course. If they are positive, then they will go down to Provincetown for further testing."

The nasal swab tests take about 15 minutes to process.

Anyone that takes the tests will be instructed by a live agent over their phone, prompted by a QR code on the test. The whole process, including the results, takes about 20 minutes.

State health officials supplied thousands of tests to the county, in an effort to slow the surge of cases on the Outer Cape.

The number of cases associated with the cluster in Provincetown has grown to over 800 people. That includes residents in Massachusetts, as well as from out of state.

Meanwhile, 12 residents of Wellfleet have tested positive for the virus recently, and 23 Truro residents are in insolation after testing positive. That's as of Thursday morning.

Beebe says her department is strongly recommending that visitors and residents wear masks when out in public, and get vaccinated if they have not already.

She says that the instant tests could work in tandem to slow the spread of the virus.

"Restaurants, guests houses, and businesses that have a lot of employees that have multiple jobs and are moving around the community, it's a good idea to get them tested as frequently as we can and try to get a handle on who is sick and helping them stay home," Beebe says.

Any businesses hoping to use the kits are encouraged to contact the health departments.