Local authorities review distribution of test kits and plan for future shipments

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Municipalities continue to search for additional COVID-19 test kits after distribution events ran out of supplies within hours.

More than 400,000 kits were received by the state government on December 31 and have been provided to towns and villages for local distribution events, but demand exceeded what was available. In Cheshire, Deputy Managing Director Arnett Talbot said the logistics of setting up the town’s distribution on January 4 went smoothly, there just weren’t enough testing for the 10 or so 000 households.

“The installation was very efficient. The problem was we only had enough kits for 730 households… so you can imagine the demand far exceeded the supply, ”she said.

Cheshire has received 90 more test kits that the city has made available to residents 55 and older who called to make an appointment starting at 9 a.m. on Monday.

“The plan was for people to be able to call in from 9 am this morning and get an appointment to get a test kit and at 8 pm after 9 there were 135 messages,” Talbot said.

The city has chosen to ask older residents to schedule appointments and spread them out over a few days this week to avoid crowds forming when they come to collect their tests.

Staff continue to look for additional test kits to make available to residents, but Talbot said they are just as hard to find for municipalities as they are for businesses and individuals. While she hopes that pop-up testing sites will reopen or that kits may be available from the federal government, she said the state has informed municipalities that it “will no longer provide testing kits to municipalities from From now”.

“I know it’s incredibly frustrating for the residents as well,” said Talbot. “… All we can do at this point is tell people to keep checking the stores and online sites that sell them and keep checking and hoping that the stock is available.” “

A distribution event held at Southington Drive-In on January 3 was so crowded that traffic spread onto the Meriden-Waterbury Freeway, causing a traffic jam on the road. City staff carried out tests for around 1,500 of the vehicles that participated, but many still returned home without kits.

“It was a very smooth event, but he just created a save. There was such a demand, ”said Susan Lonczak, director of the Plainville-Southington regional health district. While the distribution was organized by the municipal government, the health district helped set it up and was on site to distribute N95 masks.

Vehicles began lining up for the event on Monday at 11 a.m., five hours before the start of the distribution, but once the cars crossed the line, the process of giving each household two test kits and five masks went well. Lonczak said future distributions will take into account comments received last week.

“There are a lot of other ways in the future to distribute test kits that aren’t as problematic… just for the sense of traffic,” she said.

Wallingford Health Director Stephen Civitelli said the town’s January 4 distribution event went well. Each vehicle passing through the Oakdale Theater parking lot received a test kit containing tests, along with five N95 masks.

“For potential future allocations, the Mayor’s office will assess / coordinate how best to meet the needs of the Wallingford community,” he said.

Meriden organized its distribution on Saturday to improve accessibility for those who work weekdays and set up two sites at Lincoln and Edison colleges to avoid traffic jams. Health and Human Services Director Lea Crown said 2,160 test kits had been distributed, two per vehicle, and around 20,000 N95 masks had been provided.

The city was considering using funding from the American Rescue Plan to purchase additional test kits, but Crown said it learned on Monday that a Wren Laboratories test site, located at 13 Orange St. in Meriden, was extending its hours. for PCR and Midstate tests. The medical center coordinates a driving test trailer.

The new hours for the Wren tests will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. However, the tests will not be offered on Tuesday, due to the cold.

“If people test positive with their home kit, we would like them to stay home for five days from the onset of symptoms or from the date they took a test without symptoms,” Crown said. “They should then continue to wear a mask around others for an additional five days, if they are still not feeling well after five days of staying at home, we recommend that they contact their doctor for further advice, but definitely to stay home until they feel better. “

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