EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Ned Lamont addressed the state’s anticipated delivery of 3 million COVID-19 at-home rapid tests on Thursday evening.
Tests were set to arrive in Connecticut as early at Thursday and be distributed to towns and cities, who could then distribute them to residents accordingly. 15,000 of the tests arrived in the state but the rest were nowhere to be seen.
On Wednesday evening, Lamont’s office announced that the tests had not been delivered to the state yet due to a supply chain issue.
During his press conference, Lamont said that at-home rapid tests are set to arrive as soon as this weekend and they are hoping to get some within the next 72 hours.
“I think we got a little ahead of ourselves to tell you the truth. We all thought the tests were in the plane,” Lamont said. “I think in hindsight we probably should have said off the record, you may be able to plan for this, but we can’t announce this yet.”
“Due to shipping and warehouse delays outside of the State of Connecticut’s control, our state’s anticipated shipment of COVID-19 at-home rapid tests are currently delayed from arriving in Connecticut,” Lamont said in a statement Wednesday. “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. I want to thank our municipal and emergency management partners who have quickly and efficiently established their methods of distribution of the tests, clearly communicating them to their communities. My administration is in regular communication with city and town leaders, and we will provide updates as we have them in order to distribute the tests as quickly as possible. I thank our staff and leadership at the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Public Health, the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and the Connecticut National Guard for their incredible work to execute on this test delivery.”
Lamont said Thursday they were misled by the supplier but he would not name the supplier.
“I know there was an airtight agreement that we were going to get these tests delivered, at a time certain, at an agreed-upon price,” Lamont said. “I think there were a lot of competing folks that wanted those tests.”
He said the important thing now is to get masks and test kits to everyone.
“We are scouring the globe, as we were a year and a half ago, when it came to masks and PPE. We’re at it again, scouring the globe to make sure we can get all the testing materials that we need, and we’re making incredible progress,” Lamont said. “It is complicated.”
News 8 also asked Lamont about an alleged contract he says they had, but he said he could not provide it at that moment in time during the press conference. He said there was a purchase order to get those kits to the state.
“This is not like you’re going to a store, ordering it up, federal express delivers it and it comes at 10 the next morning. I can tell you that we did better than just about any state in the country when it came to masks, going back a year and a half ago, sourcing them all the way to China and got more than would otherwise have been our allocation,” Lamont said. “I can tell you we’re going to do very well on the rapid testing as well.”
Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani doubled down on the governor’s insistent comments that they were misled.
“We were given pictures and confirmation that the product was being loaded and on the way,” Juthani said. “Those were misrepresented to us.”
Lamont is urging the public to be patient as they deal with this discrepancy.