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'Critical Time In This Pandemic': Walsh Says Every Boston Resident Should Be Tested

BOSTON (CBS) – Mayor Marty Walsh said Tuesday 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 percent, compared to 6.2 percent 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 Great Boston Chamber of Commerce is also getting involved, as the Chamber's President Jim Rooney says he is asking the group's 1,300 members to get involved and support their employers by making it stress-free for them to get tested.

"We think this can be an effective approach to identifying people who may have contracted the virus, but don't know they have," said Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President Jim Rooney. "Saying, yeah, take the next hour or the next couple of hours at your convenience, go get tested, here's where you can do it. It's easy. I think that'll help people with their state of mind."

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