66 MDS distributes free COVID test kits Published May 13, 2022 By Jerry Saslav 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- 66th Medical Squadron officials distributed 700 free at-home COVID-19 test kits to TRICARE beneficiaries May 12 in the clinic’s parking lot here. The Defense Health Agency provided two test kits per beneficiary. “Early detection is key to preventing the spread of COVID,” said Lt. Col. Philip Bascom, 66 MDS operations officer. Squadron officials began distributing the home tests at 10 a.m. and by 1:30 p.m. officials had given out the last of the 700. “As the pandemic continues, the ability to know that you are COVID positive as soon as possible really helps you manage your own care and helps stop the spread,” said Maj. Jenifer Mouser, 66 MDS clinical laboratory officer. A steady stream of people came to the tent, each with their own reason for wanting the kits. “I can’t take the shots so I’ve been testing myself every week at home,” said Mark Russell, a 66th Civil Engineering Squadron welder and fabricator. For some families with children, afterschool activities mean constant testing. “The only problem I have is that they [the kits] are expensive,” said Abby Muller, a U.S. Navy spouse and mother of four. “For a family of six, to buy COVID tests is like a hundred dollars, so free ones are amazing.” Distributed with the test kits was MDS testing guidance, important phone numbers and information to obtain additional kits from the federal government and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. With the newer strains of COVID, the kits help to identify whether someone has COVID or another illness. “It is allergy season, flu season and easy to get infected anywhere by anyone, so why not get the test kit” said Ryan Wang, a U.S. Army veteran and Air Force spouse.