Connecticut received shipments of more than 426,000 rapid COVID-19 tests Friday, a day after the planned procurement of over 3 million such tests fell through.
Gov. Ned Lamont, speaking at a distribution warehouse in New Britain, said that other purchase orders are in place and that many more tests are expected soon to help meet the demand caused by a recent surge in infections.
“We went up the food chain,” Lamont said. “We talked to the most senior people we could. We got ourselves to the front of the line.”
The tests will be distributed through five regional hubs to municipalities across the state. Lamont said he's not sure all the tests could be delivered Friday and asked local leaders to make sure they first go to essential workers, educators and those exhibiting symptoms before being made available to everybody.
“More to come,” he said. “And as those more to come, we'll be able to get them more widely distributed — get them available in our schools, get some available in hospitals and other forward-facing folks.”
On Thursday, the governor announced that a promised order of 3 million COVID-19 at-home tests, about 1 million of which were supposed to be distributed to the public by local municipalities and public health districts, has fallen through.
The governor blamed misrepresentation by the supplier, which had previously worked with the state to secure personal protective equipment earlier during the pandemic.
Lamont deflected questions about that problem Friday, saying the state would have time later to do a postmortem on what happened. He said his focus now is working on quickly getting as many tests to the state as possible.
Lamont also said that Connecticut public schools will begin in-person learning on Monday, with the ability to switch individual classes and schools to remote learning on a case-by-case basis, if as an example, a teacher is immunocompromised.
“But otherwise, we want everybody back in school,” he said. “We know that there's no compromise with in-person learning. We found a year and a half ago we can do it safely. I believe, even now, in this omicron day, we'll be able to do it safely as well.”