Hundreds of people turned out Thursday morning for COVID-19 tests at Liberation Programs, in Bridgeport, Conn. July 9, 2020. The free community Coronavirus test screenings were administered by the staff of Bridgeport’s Southwest Community Health Center.
Carmen Rivera Torres, a nurse from Southwest Community Health Center, administers at COVID-19 test to Tia Reid, of Bridgeport, during a free community Coronavirus test screening event at Liberation Programs, in Bridgeport, Conn. July 9, 2020.
BRIDGEPORT — With City Hall expecting to receive 15,100 at-home COVID-19 test kits for distribution in the coming days, officials Wednesday evening launched an online registration portal for interested residents to begin signing up.
Rowena White, Mayor Joe Ganim’s communications director, said the registration process was “super user friendly” and will be used to provide applicants a time to pick up the federally-supplied kits, which, upon arrival, will be handed out at the new Hartford HealthCare amphitheater, at 500 Broad St.
City residents can register at BridgeportCT.gov/TestKit . Residents unable to register online can call 203-579-3829 and leave a message with a name and phone number.
“When you register we capture your information. You’ll get an email or call when we have the date and time,” White said.
Initially on Tuesday the city announced it would be partnering with two community health clinics — Optimus and Southwest — and that “residents in need” could contact either after Thursday, when the tests were initially anticipated to arrive before the state announced a shipping delay. The state had also released a list showing the city would get as many as 18,600 test kits.
But by late Wednesday afternoon Bridgeport’s plan had changed. White said those clinics and other unidentified agencies will likely receive a portion of the kits to give their clients, but for the general population City Hall will be hosting the drive-thru/walk-up location at the amphitheater.
White noted the goal in sharing some of the kits with local agencies is to help as many residents as possible with an equitable distribution.
“There are going to be some folks we don’t reach with this message (about the registration portal),” she said. “So we need to make sure there’s enough resources and suppliers on the ground in the grass roots of our community who also have tests to provide as needed.”
White added that people seeking to pick up a test at the amphitheater will be asked to show proof of residency to ensure the kits are going to recipients actually living in Bridgeport.
“Each municipality has its own (supply),” she noted.
City Council President Aidee Nieves Wednesday said she initially “was not happy” with the lack of details provided Tuesday and the seeming focus on the two health clinics without other distribution locations identified.
“My biggest concern is it (the tests) getting into the hands of Bridgeport residents first,” Nieves said. “It has to be Bridgeport residents first and especially in those areas where we have the highest number of residents impacted by COVID.”
Brian Lockhart covers politics and policy for the Connecticut Post. He also has covered politics for the Stamford Advocate and the city of Norwalk for The Hour.
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