NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – New Haven health officials are bracing for a new COVID-19 surge following Easter and spring break. To help prevent that, the city is giving away 5,000 at-home COVID-19 tests at public library locations Monday and Thursday.
All the New Haven public Library branches got the delivery Monday morning. Thousands of COVID test kits and masks to give away to families looking for an extra level of safety.
“Because my kids go to school. My mother-in-law is staying with me. She is 72 years old,” said Mamta Agarwal, a New Haven mother. “We are all vaccinated, boosted, but we live in this current age where we have to take every precaution because of family.”
Agarwal was able to pick up several masks, which the kids still have to wear in school, and several boxes of tests. There were no lines to deal with this time around. Compare that to the hours people spent in line for tests back in January. Now, those tests are available for purchase in stores, but the city wants people to be able to get them for free.
“So that people, if they have symptoms, or if they have an exposure, test themselves quickly so we can reduce the potential for a future case to happen,” said Mayor Justin Elicker (D – New Haven)
Those tests are even more important following recent Easter gatherings and spring break travels.
“Right now, we are continuously, at the health department team, assessing our daily case rates and making sure that we are getting ready for a potential surge,” explained New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond.
The problem with so many people testing at home is that health officials do not know how many people are testing positive. It turns out, they have a couple of different ways to figure that out.
One way is by constantly monitoring wastewater. Numbers on that will be out Wednesday. The city also wants people to take the tests to go online and tell officials if they’re positive.
“We are encouraging individuals to self-report so that we can gauge whether or not we are seeing an increase from that as well,” Bond said.
All New Haven libraries will be giving tests and masks out again this Thursday, April 28, from noon until 2 p.m.