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Hartford hands out thousands of COVID-19 testing kits as other cities and towns face delays

Other municipalities around the state were forced to delay their distribution events Thursday after there was a delay in the shipments of kits.

HARTFORD, Conn. — With a delay in the shipment of at-home COVID-19 test kits coming to Connecticut, cities and towns had to backtrack on plans to give them all out to the public on Thursday. 

However, the city of Hartford already had 10,000 kits on hand, ready to give them out.

"It is important to distribute these kits quickly to those who need them, and it's important to ensure that they're distributed in an equitable and accessible way," said Mayor Luke Bronin of Hartford. "That's why we're working with our libraries, community rec centers, and neighborhood testing locations to get these kits out at accessible locations throughout the city."  

RELATED: Governor's office reports delay with arrival of state's shipment of at-home COVID tests

The city handed out 8,000 kits across seven different locations. As they wait for an extra 15,000 kits from the state, they're using their current allotment up on the public. 

"It’s great because you’re saving one person, you know? We can save one today, tomorrow we can save five," said Eric Reyes of Hartford, who waited for hours in line at the Hartford Public Library on Main St. just to get his hands on a test.

That allotment was initially going to be set aside for city operations, including homeless shelters and senior centers. But with another shipment coming in, they didn't want to wait. 

"We ask that residents only seek to get a test if they have reason to believe that they may have been exposed or are in contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable," Mayor Bronin said. "We also ask residents to keep in mind that, for those who can afford to buy tests, at-home tests may be available at local pharmacies, and we encourage you to try to purchase tests so that we can save these free tests for those who need help most."

The city, however, still needs its supply from the state to meet the need.

That supply, which comes out to 500,000 test kits across the state, is not accessible at this time due to an order agreement that fell through.

Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement, "My staff and multiple state agencies have spent the past several days working around the clock to accelerate the movement of our tests through what is clearly a shipping and distribution bottleneck on the West Coast amid unprecedented international demand for tests."

Back in Hartford, residents were eligible to receive one kit per adult with proof of residency.

"I'm grateful to our team and to all of our partners for getting thousands of tests out to our community today," said Mayor Bronin after the distribution events. "I want to thank the phenomenal teams in our Health, Fire, Police, and Recreation Departments, as well as at the Hartford Public Library, along with the volunteers who helped make this quickly-organized distribution effort possible. There are many more people waiting for tests, and lots of work ahead in the coming weeks, but we felt it was important to make as many at-home tests available as we could today."  

Seven locations were utilized as Thursday's test kit distribution sites:

  • Hartford Public Library, Downtown Branch (500 Main St, Hartford): 10 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Hartford Public Library, Camp Field Branch (30 Campfield Ave, Hartford): 10 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Hartford Public Library, Albany Avenue Branch (1250 Albany Ave, Hartford): 10 AM - 5:30 PM
  • CVS Arroyo Center testing clinic (30 Pope Park Dr, Hartford): 10 AM - 1 PM
  • Albany and Woodland testing clinic (1161 Albany Ave, Hartford): 2 PM - 6 PM
  • Parker Memorial Center (2621 Main Street, Hartford): 10 AM - 4 PM
  • Metzner Center (680 Franklin Ave, Hartford): 10 AM - 4 PM

**These hours are while supplies last.

RELATED: COVID testing on New Haven Green closed until January due to staff, supply shortage

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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