State plan to distribute millions of COVID-19 test kits delayed

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Shipping and warehouse issues outside Connecticut have delayed the state’s plan to distribute millions of COVID-19 test kits to municipalities, Governor Ned Lamont said on Wednesday.

“Due to shipping and warehouse delays out of the state of Connecticut’s control, our state’s planned shipment of COVID-19 home rapid tests is currently delayed from arriving in Connecticut,” according to a press release released by Lamont on Wednesday afternoon. “My staff and several state agencies have spent the past few days working around the clock to speed up the movement of our tests through what is clearly a shipping and distribution bottleneck on the West Coast in the middle. unprecedented international demand for testing. ”

Lamont then thanked the municipal and emergency management partners who established methods of distributing the tests and communicating them to their communities. Lamont has not offered any update on when testing will arrive in the state, but information will be shared as it becomes available.

Towns and villages in central Connecticut had braced for thousands of people to pick up free home test kits and masks from distribution sites established on Thursday.

Meriden Police Chief Roberto Rosado called for patience on Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of the effort.

“Our goal is to provide as safe a test kit as possible,” Rosado said before the delay announcement.

Meriden is expected to hand out 2,000 test kits and 10,000 masks, and had planned to do so by noon at the north end of Meriden Green on Mill Street. Vehicles were to enter from Pratt Street and queue in two lanes on Mill Street. Workers from the city’s Department of Health and Human Services and the city’s fire department were to distribute the kits to people in their vehicles who would then exit Mill Street onto State Street.

No parking sign had been posted on Wednesday and all departments are ready to help with the event.

“We anticipate that a number of residents will come out to get these test kits,” Rosado said.

While city officials expected a large number of vehicles, there were provisions for pedestrians, Rosado said. The remaining 5,000 kits to be allocated by the state are to be distributed to community partners, the city’s COVID-19 testing site, churches, daycares and pantries next week, said Lea Crown, director of the city ​​health and social services department.

The status of these plans remained unknown Wednesday evening after the announced postponement.

“It was difficult to get tests,” Rosado said of the community’s needs during a week’s vacation. Crown “has done a great job of passing these tests on to our community partners for those who may not be able to afford a test. “

Lamont had asked those with more resources to buy a test kit in the market to allow those with lower incomes or no transportation to get the free tests. But with the shortage of home testing kits, city leaders predicted that thousands of people would show up.

“I have a feeling it’s going to be very busy,” said Jay Baker, director of emergency management for the City of Southington, before the delay was announced. “From the discussions on social media, I have the impression that people are very worried about getting these kits.”

Southington plans to distribute 5,400 kits and masks with an event that was scheduled from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and if stocks were held, again Friday morning from 9 a.m. to noon. The distribution site is planned at the Recreation Park concession stand on Maxwell Noble Drive. Workers from the city’s health department and community emergency response team should distribute the test kits.

Residents were asked to have ID available and were limited to four kits.

The town of Wallingford did not have a final plan and was waiting this morning to expect to receive 5,500 kits.

“All stakeholders will come together to decide on a strategy for distributing the test kits,” said Wallingford Fire Chief and Emergency Services Chief Joe Czentnar.

Cheshire expected to receive 3,600 test kits to distribute to townspeople at Cheshire High School from noon to 4 p.m. or until all test kits are distributed. Proof of residency is required and there was a limit of four kits per household.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, who visited Meriden on Wednesday, said test kits are a key part of controlling the pandemic and have become more reliable than before.

“When people feel like they are getting sick, or that they’ve been exposed to someone who seems ill, or that they’re in a situation like a classroom where they want to be tested,” he said Blumenthal said. “If you have enough tests, we can really beat this pandemic. People who have been exposed or feel sick or think they should be tested can stay home if they test positive. “

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