(WFSB) – They may have been a day late and 2.5 million test kits short, but the much-needed home COVID test kits are in Connecticut.
This week started with news of the arrival of three million tests, only to be told at the last minute that the order had failed.
The consignment of test kits is stored in a warehouse in New Britain.
Some kits should be distributed in cities and towns on Friday evening and be ready for distribution next week.
After a three-hour wait, Joseph Gionfriddo of Southington knows firsthand that Connecticut is still behind in the race to get COVID tests.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” he said.
At the drive-thru site in New Britain, Governor Ned Lamont goes from car to car, sharing the frustration.
Many in the state experienced a whirlwind of emotions.
Earlier this week, three million home COVID test kits were pledged, only to see the order form fail at the last minute.
“We know we’ve been told in no uncertain terms, even with pictures, that the tests are on the plane. We know the plane either didn’t take off or didn’t take off and came to Connecticut , as was contracted through our purchase order,” Lamont said.
Overnight, 426,000 tests were shipped to the New Britain warehouse.
Looking at some labels, they may have been destined for New York and Rhode Island.
“We went up the food chain, talked to the most experienced people we could, and put ourselves at the front of the line,” Lamont said.
In addition to testing, Connecticut received 850,000 N95 masks on Thursday and another 890,000 on Friday.
Since the testing supply is not what was intended, cities and towns will have less to distribute.
Lamont urges municipalities to donate them to people in need.
“If you have symptoms, get tested. If you go to school on Monday, public safety officers, forward-facing public people, if you sense something is going on, take a test,” he said.
Initially, the majority of these tests were intended for schools.
After the deal fell through, many worried about the students returning on Monday.
Lamont says that’s still the plan.
“All of our teachers virtually, are vaccinated and boosted. We have access to the N95 mask, that should give you a lot of confidence,” he said.
In New Britain, the operation runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Big deliveries go there.
Smaller deliveries are then delivered to different areas of the state. The municipalities collect them and distribute them as they see fit.
The struggle to pass the tests has local mayors venturing out in search of tests themselves.
Thousands were distributed in Hartford on Thursday thanks to a proactive effort by Mayor Luke Bronin.
“We must do everything we can to get the supplies our residents need,” said Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim.
Florsheim and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart also decided not to wait for the state or federal government.
Stewart teamed up with New Britain and Central Connecticut Hospital to get more tests for residents.
“It’s frustrating not having control over how it’s going to happen, so forget it, we’re going to do it on our own. Just like we did with vaccines, we’re going to do it with testing as well,” said Stewart said.
In Middletown, Florsheim faces other states competing for tests.
“We go through brokers, just like the state is trying to do. We will explore other possibilities to get home tests,” he said.
Eyewitness News asked Lamont if he cares about competing in the state.
“We were getting a lot of tests from the feds, but I wasn’t going to wait for the feds. I was going to do everything I could to get our tests now as a bridge to the federal government, so I think a lot of our municipalities are smart,” Lamont said.
With more productions underway around the world, Florsheim says it’s time for the federal government to do more.
“Use the Defense Production Act to get some of these factories that were used to make N95s, to make PPE, to get the supply of testing so states and cities don’t have to go through this guessing game,” Florsheim said. .
This order was only the first. As more arrive, Lamont expects those three hour waits we see for testing to ease.