Shelton to hand out 8,000 at-home COVID test kits

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Governor Ned Lamont speaks to the press about the omicron variant following the signing of a lease for a partnership agreement for Union Station and State Street Station in New Haven on December 21, 2021.

Governor Ned Lamont speaks to the press about the omicron variant following the signing of a lease for a partnership agreement for Union Station and State Street Station in New Haven on December 21, 2021.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — City officials will be distributing more than 8,000 COVID-19 at-home rapid test kits Thursday.

Gov. Ned Lamont Monday announced plans to distribute 3 million of these tests and 6 million N95 masks in Connecticut to help curb the spread of the virus during this heavy travel and holiday season.

“Connecticut is currently experiencing another surge in COVID-19 cases that is being driven mostly by the highly transmissible Omicron variant,” Lamont said. “As a result, the demand for tests has outpaced the supply of testing available through our statewide network of about 400 sites.”

City Emergency Management Director Michael Maglione said Shelton has received some 8,000 iHealth kits — each containing two tests — which will be distributed, on a first-come, first-serve basis, Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. at Shelton High School.

Maglione said the limit is two test kits per vehicle. A resident ID is required. Entrance to the high school will only be from North Constitution Boulevard. The high school Meadow Street entrance will be closed to all vehicular traffic.

Maglione said the city is still planning for the distribution of the masks, which should occur next month. The priority will be distribution to schools and first responders.

The state Department of Public Health, state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the Connecticut National Guard are overseeing the distribution of the kits to the regional and local emergency management teams.

In addition to those designated for the general public, the state has purchased another 1 million iHealth kits — each containing two tests for a total of 2 million tests — that will be distributed to K-12 schools statewide.

“We are very appreciative of any assistance we can provide our students in keeping them safe,” Superintendent Ken Saranich said about receiving the test kits.

Distribution of those kits, which will also include a supply of N95 masks, will begin in January and continue through the school year as supplies last. Planning for this initiative is being conducted in partnership with the state State Department of Education.

The total cost of the 3 million tests is approximately $18.5 million and will be funded through federal funds.

The governor added that the addition of these at-home tests will immediately expand the number of tests available in Connecticut in a very short period. Last week, about 250,000 tests were reported to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

“There are three simple and effective interventions to fight off the current surge of COVID-19 from the omicron variant — vaccination, masking, and testing,” Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said.

Per the CDC recommendations, if a self-test yields a positive result, people are asked to stay home or isolate for 10 days and wear a mask. There is no need to obtain a follow up PCR test.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com