NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) – In New Britain, cars were lining up before sunrise to get a free COVID-19 home test and masks. People were there hours before the distribution even started and those supplies ran out quickly.
The cars started lining up at Veterans Stadium before dawn Tuesday morning, but once they opened up, it actually turned into a pretty smooth operation. 5,500 test kits were being given away and that number was allotted by the City of New Britain for the giveaway. It was supposed to start at 8 a.m.
“So, as my phone was ringing at 5 a.m. saying, ‘hey mayor, the line is on South Main Street all the way down to Schaller Auto.’ I said, ‘once we get set up, we need to open up early. We have enough to go around, at least get the traffic through,’” said Mayor Erin Stewart.
That’s exactly what they did. Police recruits checked IDS to make sure everyone was a New Britain resident. Then, three lanes quickly handed out a kit containing two test strips to every car.
“I work in a doctor’s office and I see how hard it is for testing to come by, so I thought that this was a great opportunity to have a couple of additional tests on deck,” said Lisa Cance of New Britain.
“The goal for today is to make sure that as many individual home test kits get into as many homes as possible,” Stewart said.
Many of those homes include children, so a lot of the people are parents concerned about children who are now back in school.
“We have kids at home. Everything is coming back so it’s really important to get that peace of mind that we can be safe,” said Jose Dorno.
The city’s schools are getting prepared with their own tests.
“As we speak, our school district is on our way to the warehouse to pick up their specific allotment of test kits specifically for our teachers and our students to keep them safe,” Stewart said.
The city also set aside about 1,000 kits for city housing units to make sure that people who live in those close quarters remain safe as well.
For a full list of other locations and times of test distributions, click here.