Northwestern Connecticut Cities Receive Thousands of COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits

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TORRINGTON – City officials learned on Tuesday that they are due to receive 4,500 COVID-19 test kits, an allocation based on a city’s population, and are now discussing how to distribute them. The kits are distributed by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The expected initial cast is as follows: Barkhamsted: 540, Burlington: 1,260, Canaan: 180, Colebrook: 180, Cornwall: 270, Goshen: 450, Harwinton: 720, Litchfield: 1,080, Morris: 360, New Hartford: 900 , Norfolk: 270, North Canaan: 450, Salisbury: 540, Sharon: 360, Torrington: 4,500, Winchester: 1,350.


Mayor Elinor Carbone said the kits are a short-term solution to meeting the increased demand for testing.

“Our goal is always to connect our residents to the most enduring testing opportunities that already exist within our community and which will be expanded in the coming weeks,” she said. “In Torrington, we are fortunate to have several healthcare partners in our community health and wellness center, Torrington Area Health and Hartford Healthcare, all of which offer screening clinics.”

Carbone said the city will work with its partners over the coming weeks to increase accessibility to tests and vaccinations and promote testing sites and times.

“We are planning to set aside test kits for our essential workers (police, firefighters, public works), Friendly Hands Food Bank, Community Soup Kitchen, FISH, Gathering Place, Sullivan Senior Center, United Way (to be used at shelter overflow) and for residents of Torrington Housing Authority complexes, ”Carbone said. “(Out of 4,500 kits), there would be around 3,600 left for distribution to the general public. We propose to make three distribution sites in order to target the most vulnerable population and the population in general.

The city plans to have a drive-in location, a walk-in and a separate site for the elderly. Carbone said she was meeting with healthcare partners on Wednesday to decide on dates, times and locations.

DEMAS lets each town or city decide how to use the test kits, said Robert Rubbo, director of health for the Torrington Area Health District.

“The offer is limited; we get 4,500 and we have about 33 to 34,000 residents, ”he said. “This distribution is intended to alleviate some of the queues you see at the Main Street East Emergency Care Center and local pharmacies. People want to get tested before traveling or going to a family reunion, for example. “

Winsted City Manager Josh Kelly also drew up a plan to distribute DEMAS test kits, with a focus on Winsted’s at-risk population and how best to serve them.

“We make decisions in consultation with officials at Hartford Healthcare and Community Health & Wellness to ensure that our distribution methods are focused as much as possible on increasing public health benefits,” said Kelly.

“We decided after consulting with health partners that we wanted to target our vulnerable population, so we are saving part of the kits, 400, for our senior housing complexes,” he said. “We donate 250 kits to The Salvation Army in the pantry, 75 kits at the soup kitchen, 100 to the YMCA, 200 to the Winsted Senior Center and 50 to Winsted Area Child Care. That will leave us with 275 more kits, and we won’t be giving them out this week. We want to see how it goes first.

Kelly agreed the distribution is intended to complement tests already available in the state.

“The posts I have seen in the community so far have not emphasized these facts enough, from my perspective,” he said. “I want to make sure we don’t have 9,000 upset residents on Thursday who thought they could easily get a test kit from the city.”

Barkhamsted First Selectman Don Stein has already decided that his town’s 540 kits will be distributed on a first come, first served basis from town hall on Thursday afternoon.

“The city will distribute these home test kits to residents to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants, and to complement existing tests,” Stein wrote in a mass email.

He said each will be available to residents, one kit per household member, on a first come, first served basis.

The kits will be distributed at Barkhamsted Town Hall starting Thursday at noon and will continue until 4:00 p.m. or while supplies last. Another distribution will take place from 4 p.m. at the city’s two fire stations, in a drive-thru system, Stein said.

Stein also reminded people that they can be tested at local health centers and pharmacies.

One million more kits will be distributed to schools across the state starting in January.

President Joe Biden said earlier this month he would get 500 million tests, but contracts to buy the tests have not been finalized, according to Whitehouse.gov.


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