iHealth COVID-19 test kits are being provided by the state of Connecticut. Credit: Courtesy photo

Starting Thursday many towns will begin handing out free at-home testing kits. The state left it up to municipalities to handle the distribution and each town seems to be approaching it differently, but most are using a central distribution point and a residency requirement. 

Click here to see how many tests each town will be getting.

In West Hartford, which received 8,010 iHealth COVID-19 rapid test kits, distribution will start Friday – New Year’s Eve – at two different locations, officials said Tuesday.

Test kits – each of which includes two tests – will be distributed, at either Conard High School or King Philip Middle School, on Friday, Dec. 31, from 10-2 p.m. – or until the supply runs out.

In Bristol, the city is completing plans to distribute its 7,650 kits starting 3-6 p.m. Thursday evening at the fire station at 17 Vincent P Kelly Road and continuing on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. It will be a drive thru distribution site. 

Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano said they will keep a few tests for their employees to keep the public safety workforce up and running and see if someone should be isolated or not. 

He said it will ease the pressure on the PCR testing sights. 

In New London, city officials will distribute 3,510 tests to residents from 2-8 p.m. at the C.B. Jennings School parking lot at 50 Mercer Street. It will be a drive-thru distribution site, but walk-ups are welcome.

In New Britain, officials were still determining how to distribute 9,200 kits. No official announcement has been made on how the kits will be distributed, according to a spokeswoman. 

In East Hartford, Mayor Mike Walsh said the town will distribute just over 6,000 test kits Thursday at the High School from noon to 5 p.m. It will be a drive through with proof of residency. Residents will receive no more than two test kits with 2 tests inside each kit. 

North Haven will be distributing them starting on  Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022 at the North Haven High School, 221 Elm Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The state’s test positivity rate Tuesday was 14.98% with 963 people hospitalized.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday that towns will receive the first 500,000 iHealth kits, each containing two tests for a total of one million tests, to start to be distributed on Thursday, Dec. 30.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and Connecticut National Guard will oversee the distribution of the kits, with support from regional and local emergency management teams.

Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said the tests, which were paid for with $18.5 million in federal funds, would be given to municipalities to be distributed.

By providing tests, the Lamont administration is hopeful schools and businesses will remain safe and open.

“We don’t want our economy closing down,” Lamont said. “We don’t want a lockdown.”

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora was critical of the announcement without a plan.

“Leaving local officials scrambling to immediately figure out what steps to take from here seems like a catalyst for confusion, and I really hope the governor and his team give a second thought to offering municipalities much firmer guidance than what was vaguely described during his news conference today,” Candelora said.

Several towns were looking to make sure that the test kits went to public housing authorities and homeless shelters or other congregate settings.