Connecticut Cities Begin Deployment of 3 Million COVID-19 Test Kits

CONNECTICUT – Municipalities across the state are scrambling to establish distribution operations to handle the more than 3 million COVID-19 rapid home tests and 6 million N95 masks originating in Hartford.

Free distributions to residents will begin on Thursday.

Lamont said Monday that cities and local health departments will receive 500,000 kits by Friday. Each of the iHealth kits contains two tests, for a total of one million. The remaining 2 million tests are reserved for K-12 schools.

Distribution to schools was his number one priority, according to the governor.

“We don’t want our economy closed, we don’t want foreclosure,” and keeping schools open was crucial in both cases, the governor said. The first kits will arrive in schools in Connecticut from January.

Demand for testing skyrocketed during Christmas week, as residents prepared to travel or visit friends in nearby neighborhoods.

“As a result, the demand for tests has exceeded the supply of tests available through our network of approximately 400 statewide locations. The week between Christmas and New Years will likely be a high transmission period, and we need to stop 2022 for a good start by helping residents quickly identify COVID-19 and take these steps to isolate themselves appropriately to curb any further spread, ”Lamont said in a statement released Monday from his office.

So far, the governor’s predictions have been about the money. The state’s daily coronavirus rate broke a pandemic record on Tuesday, amounting to almost 15 percent. According to data released by the State Department of Public Health, 963 people in Connecticut hospital beds had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, up from 834 seven days earlier. The DPH performed around a quarter of a million tests in the week leading up to Christmas, an unprecedented series since spring 2020.

From Hartford to your city

Ready-to-use health directors in Eastern Haven, Madison, Wilton, Easton, Westport, West Haven, Cheshire, Stratford, Fairfield, Windsor East, Ellington, West Hartford, and Monroe were among those who announced their intention to distribute test kits this week.

Community pop-up sites, typically driving and often in school parking lots, will require proof of residency before handing in test kits. They join the current list of around 400 virus testing sites statewide. Many of them were overwhelmed in the past week by demand. You can check the status of sites closest to you by calling 2-1-1 or visiting the state’s 2-1-1 website.

Leaving less to chance this week, Lamont appealed Connecticut National Guard to assist with the deployment. Nearly 100 soldiers and airmen were called upon to assist with the logistics operations for the distribution of N95 tests and masks.

The new home test injection may ease the pressure on testing sites, but it will hurt state record keeping.

“We know that our (…) test numerator will no longer be precise, in terms of the number of self-tests performed, because they will not be included in this,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani. at a press conference on Monday. “I think the daily positivity rate will be a bit skewed in some ways.”

She said health officials did not expect the number to drop “for a while” and encourage residents who show symptoms of COVID-19 to “stay home” regardless of the conditions. any rapid test results.

“They might have the flu or some other virus,” Juthani said. “Stay home if you’re not feeling well. “

Republican House Leader Vincent Candelora released the following statement on Monday in response to Lamont’s announcement about the distribution of COVID-19 rapid home tests:

“I appreciate the governor providing these tests, but to make a media announcement like this without a concrete plan, especially in regards to how they will be distributed or even used to prevent children from self-quarantining. and in their classrooms, will certainly see city, town, and school district leaders wanting more. Letting local officials scramble to immediately determine what action to take from here seems to be a catalyst for confusion, and I really hope that the governor and his team will think again about offering municipalities much stronger advice than was vaguely described in his press conference today. ”

The total cost of the three million tests is around $ 18.5 million and will be paid for by federal funds, as will the activation of Guard, Lamont said.

This article originally appeared on the Wilton patch

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