New Haven handing out 5,000 COVID rapid tests, masks

Monday, New Haven residents were be able to pick up a few of the 5,000 rapid test kits and masks for free.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 6:02 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2022 at 12:37 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - New Haven city leaders are continuing their efforts to help residents battle COVID-19.

Monday, New Haven residents were be able to pick up a few of the 5,000 rapid test kits and masks for free.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” said Mayor Justin Elicker. “If you remember last time we had a major surge, everyone was scrambling to get test kits. We figured we have some extra capacity, let’s get those out to the community.”

Volunteers spent the morning setting up.

Some people told Channel 3 that the event made them feel safer to know where their health stands, especially if they have a loved one who is considered more vulnerable.

“So I did want some home tests because my kids go to school, I have a mother-in-law staying with me who is 72 years old, and we are all vaccinated boosted, but we live in this current age where we have to take every precaution,” said Manta Agarwal, New Haven resident.

The event comes as the statewide positivity rate continues to increase.

As of Friday, it sat at 8.09 percent.

To get the tests and masks, all people must do is visit one of the five branches of the New Haven Public Library.

In a recent tweet, Gov. Ned Lamont addressed the state’s current COVID-19 numbers.

While cases of severe illness were down, there was a slight increase in the total number of positive cases, which has been measured week-to-week.

Cities and towns have started to take more action and accountability for their own residents, as was the case in New Haven.

City leaders said they wanted to break down the barriers of accessing testing kits and make them more widely available for anyone who wants them.

“While cases of severe illness are down, the uptick in cases associated with the highly transmissible BA.2 variant means we can’t let our guard down, especially amidst the recent relaxing of mask requirements,” Elicker said. “It’s critical that New Haveners continue to have free and convenient access to COVID-19 tests so that they can protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors. We’re glad that these 5,000 free at-home rapid test kits can be made available to New Haven residents at our public libraries.”

New Haven also remains the only city in the state where masks are still required in schools.

Elicker called the measure crucial as students head back from spring break.

“What we’re planning on doing is keeping the mask mandate in place, and seeing what happens over the next week or two to see if we have a bump in cases and then we’ll re-evaluate,” he said.

Anyone who can’t make it on Monday will have another opportunity on Thursday, April 28.

Here are the distribution schedules:

Monday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.:

  • Ives Main Library | 133 Elm St.
  • Fair Haven Library | 182 Grand Ave.
  • Stetson Library | 197 Dixwell Ave.
  • Wilson Library |303 Washington Ave.

Monday, April 25 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • Mitchell Library | 37 Harrison St.

Thursday, April 28 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • All five libraries: Ives, Fair Haven, Mitchell, Stetson & Wilson
Monday, New Haven residents will be able to pick up a few of the 5,000 rapid test kits and masks for free.
New Haven plans to hand out 5,000 free rapid COVID test kids on Monday and Thursday.