HARTFORD, CT — For the second day in a row, Gov. Ned Lamont visited a mobile testing site to encourage residents in densely-populated urban areas to get tested for COVID-19.
The state is looking to conduct 42,000 tests per week through the end of July, at which time they are hoping to increase it to 100,000 per week.
That’s not enough to test every one of the 3.5 million Connecticut residents, but it’s a big enough sample to help keep an eye on the rate of infection. Coupled with contact tracing, Connecticut is hoping to keep infections and hospitalizations down as it begins to reopen.
Who should get tested and how frequently?
Frontline healthcare workers, anyone who works in a congregate setting like a prison or a group home, and anyone who lives in a densely-populated neighborhood should get tested.
The state is providing testing for all nursing home residents, but testing for nursing home staff is being left up to the private administrators of the homes. It’s unclear if the state is making testing available at the congregate care locations it manages, like group homes for children and the disabled.
The state is working to test inmates and has tested three prisons so far.
Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, said black and brown influencers need to talk about how important it is to get tested.
“Whether you have symptoms or not, you should go get tested,” McGee said.
McGee said testing is not just the “right approach,” but the “moral” thing to do.
Dr. Reginald Eadie, president and CEO of Trinity Health of New England, emphasized that a doctor’s note is no longer necessary to get tested. A person doesn’t need insurance, a prescription, or even symptoms to get tested.
The mobile testing sites operated by Trinity Health of New England and Charter Oak Health Center will be available at various locations around Hartford until June 18.
Mayor Luke Bronin said they are seeing testing capacity expand dramatically in the city and are encouraging everyone to get tested. He said the testing limitations that existed early in the pandemic have disappeared.
“We have seen the number of Hartford residents who have been tested has doubled,” Bronin said.
He said there are nine permanent testing sites in Hartford, including the two hospitals and the federally-qualified health centers, and CVS stores.
“You don’t have to wait until this testing comes to you,” Bronin said.
He said they want everybody to get tested in the week ahead.
“It is critical to a successful reopening that we dramatically expand the number of tests that are administered,” Bronin said.
He said testing needs to become a routine thing that’s not something a person does when you have symptoms, but “something you do no matter what, and then you do it again.”
“Get tested because it’s not just about you,” Bronin said.