Shelton test kit distribution ‘could not have been smoother’

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — In a process that city officials said went as smoothly as can be, Shelton distributed nearly 2,500 COVID test kits and 5,000 N95 masks in an one hour and 40 minutes Sunday.

City Emergency Management Director Michael Maglione said the distribution — originally set for Dec. 30 but postponed because the state had not received the test kits as planned — “could not have been smoother.”

The distribution was to start at 1 p.m. at Shelton High, but Maglione said about 500 vehicles were already in line at 12:25 p.m., so officials began the handout early. By 2:10 p.m., Maglione said all the test kits and masks had been distributed.

“Our hope was to clear two cars every 15 seconds and I believe we did that,” Maglione said. “This is a credit to the fire, police and EMS working together seamlessly. I could not have asked for more, and it is because the emergency services here in Shelton have a very close relationship.”

Maglione said the planning for this type of distribution at the high school had been in place. He said the city had expected to receive an allotment of more than 8,000 test kits last week, but that the state plan to provide them fell through.

Instead the city received a smaller number that the state acquired from a different supplier, and Maglione said Sunday was chosen as the distribution day because the weather was predicted to be mild. He picked up the city’s test kits and masks at 7 a.m. Sunday and the announcement was sent out to residents about the distribution time and location via CodeRED and social media.

Thirty people worked the distribution, according to Maglione, adding that he only heard one complaint, that being one person cutting the line of traffic. Outside of that, Maglione said there were no problems.

“Shelton is very fortunate to have such dedicated members of the community and to have such a great working relationship between all the emergency services,” Fire Chief Francis T. Jones III said.

Jones said Maglione, school Security Director Ben Trapka and representatives from Echo Hose Ambulance, Shelton Fire and Shelton Police gathered at Echo Hose Ambulance to develop the incident action plan on Dec. 29.

“Each department worked under a unified command structure and provided personnel and resources to accomplish the task,” Jones said. “The (Shelton High) location is centralized and its layout works perfect for large distribution type functions.”

Shelton police and fire personnel provided traffic control, while additional members of the Echo Hose Ambulance, Shelton Fire and Police provided kits and masks to the public.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com