Shelton senior center director becomes COVID test ‘lifeline’

Hundreds of residents converged on Shelton High Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, to obtain free COVID-19 at-home test kits and N95 masks.

Hundreds of residents converged on Shelton High Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, to obtain free COVID-19 at-home test kits and N95 masks.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Doreen Laucella remains a lifeline for those homebound senior citizens seeking a COVID-19 test.

Hundreds of residents have already obtained the at-home test kits at the first drive-thru distribution on Jan. 2 — and more people are expected to converge on Shelton High at 9 a.m. this Sunday as another 2,000 test kits are being made available.

But for those unable to leave their home, Laucella wants them to know she is a resource in attempting to get test kits to those who may be experiencing symptoms or who could have been a close contact to someone who has tested positive.

“I do not have kits,” the Shelton Senior Center director said, “But if there is a need, I can be the vehicle to reach out to the city and obtain some help. The city has been very good at helping those that are homebound. I can help to try and get them what they need.”

Laucella said those homebound seniors can call the center’s information line, 203-924-9324, extension 1551, if they are in need.

The senior center has hundreds of active members and countless more on waiting lists. And Laucella said all who attend the center - which is still holding programming even as positive COVID-19 cases continue to surge - must wear masks and remain socially distanced.

“The vast majority of my seniors are vaccinated and boosted,” Laucella said. “I’m so proud of them. But I understand. Even being vaccinated and boosted, I get a lot who are in panic mode after being with families over the holidays.”

Laucella said her “phone has been ringing off the hook” with concerned seniors, and she said she talks to each to make sure she is working to get test kits to those who truly need one immediately.

Emergency Management Director Michael Maglione said the city will be distributing N95 masks to senior housing and assisted living facilities. He said he will be talking to the administrators at each of the facilities in the city about test kit distribution.

Laucella said she has been handing out N95 masks to her seniors at the center since the first distribution last week.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com