Update, December 30, 2021, 3:15 pm: Due to a delivery delay, the planned distribution of test kits on December 31 has been canceled. At this time, there is no firm indication of when they will arrive.
500,000 Covid-19 rapid test kits acquired by the state over the Christmas break are being sent to local governments this week for distribution to the public.
Another million kits will be sent to school districts throughout the state around the first of the year. The state also purchased six million N95 masks, which will be distributed in the same manner.
Each kit contains two tests, which means the state purchase provides three million tests in all. Word of the acquisition came this afternoon from Governor Ned Lamont in a press briefing. A short time later, First Selectwoman Samantha Nestor announced plans for distribution of Weston’s share of test kits.
Weston residents will be able to pick up two kits per household on Friday morning, December 31, from 10:00 to 11:30 at the Weston Intermediate School bus loop. Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.
Expect a line. You will be asked to show your driver’s license, a measure state officials recommended to prevent town-to-town kit shopping. You are also asked to remain in your vehicle.
Kits are being allocated to towns based on population, although some with large numbers of highly vulnerable residents will receive an extra portion. At press time, we do not know exactly how many kits will arrive in Weston.
The tests are iHealth antigen rapid tests, which involve a nasal swab, but not a deep one. The package includes directions. Results are usually available in 15 minutes.
As bad as were the metrics we reported last Thursday evening, today’s are even worse. In the last seven days, Fairfield County’s average of daily new cases reached a jaw-dropping 139.4 per 100 thousand of population, which equates to about 1,315 new cases every day of the week.
Since last Thursday, Weston had 45 new confirmed cases.
All of the numbers, except hospitalizations — which also grew in the county but remain below the levels of the pandemic’s previous peak — are certainly less than the actuals, as the state’s figures typically do not include results of rapid tests taken at home.
Governor Lamont said the state acquired the new supply of test kits to alleviate “a supply chain crunch” and to “keep schools open safely,” particularly as the Omicron variant is “hitting young people hard.”
Josh Geballe, Connecticut’s Chief Operating Officer, told reporters the state has a “good stockpile” of N95 masks, but acquired an additional six million to distribute to municipalities and school districts.
N95s are the gold standard for masks, which remain an effective defense against Covid-19.
At some point a meme started that masks only protect other people, not the wearer. But that is not true. Much depends on the type of mask, the fit, the rate of community spread, and who you are around, but study after study proves that even simple masks offer the wearer a measure of protection from exposure. The level increases as quality and fit improve.
Asked if he anticipates issuing additional mask mandates, Governor Lamont said he does not. “Boosters are more of a priority,” he said.
Dr. Manisha Juthani, the designated Commissioner of Public Health, echoed the governor’s point. “It’s incredibly clear,” she said. “Please go out and get your booster shot.”