EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — The shipment of at-home COVID-19 test kits state officials have been waiting for to arrive might take even longer than expected.
Gov. Ned Lamont provided an update Thursday on the delays officials were made aware of the night before, saying some of those tests are no longer heading to Connecticut.
The Governor's office said it placed a purchase order with a wholesaler for 500,000 test kits, but the agreement fell through. The governor did not disclose the group the state was working with. The state did not pay the wholesaler since the delivery was not made, officials said.
"We absolutely had a contract," Manisha Juthani, MD, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, said. "We were given pictures and confirmation that the product was being loaded and on the way. Those were misrepresented to us."
Those test kits were set to be distributed to cities and towns, who were set to hold distribution events Thursday and Friday to give those kits out to eligible residents. Many municipalities have since canceled their events, or rescheduled them to a date later to be determined.
“Connecticut isn’t getting this specific order of at-home test kits the governor promised, and it’s not because of ‘shipping problems’ that were described all week," House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said Thursday evening. "Guaranteeing tests that he didn’t actually have was irresponsible, and whether it's due to an administrative failure by his team, or that they were misled by their supplier as is now claimed, this news comes at the worst possible time for municipal leaders and stressed out residents who I’m sure feel as though they’ve been deceived. The governor should begin to rebuild the trust he lost this week by immediately developing a detailed plan to create more traditional testing sites to meet the surging demand.”
State officials said other orders for test kits are on their way to Connecticut, but it's not clear when they will arrive.
Not all of those COVID test kits are out of reach. One pallet of the test kits arrived at the New Britain commodity warehouse on Thursday.
Gov. Lamont anticipates receiving more tests "very soon, hopefully in time for the new school year, which is Jan. 3."
RELATED: Hartford hands out thousands of COVID-19 testing kits as other cities and towns faced with delays
The state is “scouring the globe” to find testing supplies to meet increased demand.
"We're at it again to get all of the testing materials we need, just like a year ago with the masks," Lamont said.
The CT National Guard spent the day mobilizing nearly one million N95 masks the state has set aside, and 200,000 of them arrived in East Hartford's public safety complex Thursday evening. They were being loaded off of the truck just minutes before Lamont's news update.
"N95 masks are the best you could ask for," Lamont added.
With the current uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state, Lamont said to "continue to air on the side of caution."
Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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