MERIDEN — Hundreds of cars lined up on Broad Street and Coe Avenue on Saturday morning awaiting the distribution of 2,400 at-home COVID test kits and face masks.
“This is great,” City Manager Tim Coon said. “We’d do anything for the residents and as we go forward, we’re always looking for ways we can use federal and state funds to give help to our residents.”
Meriden firefighters and police were at Edison and Lincoln Middle Schools handing out two rapid test kits to each resident. Each kit had 2 tests. Residents also received N95 face masks.
Another 2,000 test kits will go to first responders, churches, the senior center, homeless shelter and organizations that work with high-risk individuals.
Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn and Coon felt holding the distribution on Saturday was beneficial to those who work during the week. Surrounding towns held their distributions earlier in the week.
Everyone that received a test kit and masks needed to provide proof of residency.
The test and mask distribution was initially scheduled for Dec. 30. It was changed because of a delay in delivery of test kits to the state.
Although the announced start time was 10 a.m., Coon said there were cars lined up hours earlier so officials opted to begin the distribution.
“We had people at both locations as early as 6 a.m. and we saw the line was so long, so we just started moving people through,” Coon said.
Earlier this week, Lea Crown, health and human services director, said the tests are to be used “as soon as possible” and not held for future use.
According to health officials, if someone tests positive, they should begin quarantine for five days starting from the first day of symptoms or the day of a positive test result. If symptoms haven’t improved, they should continue to stay home and wear a mask when they are around others.
If someone gets a negative result but still has symptoms, they should schedule a PCR test. Although not required, residents are urged to report positive test results to the city.
Mayor Kevin Scarpati arrived at Lincoln Middle School to greet residents. He said the distribution was made possible by the city, state and federal government.
“If it’s one thing that we have learned over the last month is how critical testing has become, so I’m happy to see people are taking advantage of the free test kits and masks,” he said.