Coronavirus

CT Hands Out 1st Round of COVID Self-Tests to K-12 Schools as Omicron Cases Soar

This is the first phase of self-tests distributions, all in an attempt to curtail the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID.

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What to Know

  • Connecticut handed out more than half a million rapid COVID-19 self-tests to public and private K-12 schools, as well as early childcare providers on Tuesday -- marking the first phase of the state's distribution of self-tests.
  • Governor Ned Lamont said a total of 620,000 of the tests were given to the K-12 schools, and the remaining 50,000 were given to early childcare providers.
  • Lamont's administration anticipates additional self-test allocations to be announced in the coming days as the state secures more tests from vendors.

Connecticut handed out more than half a million rapid COVID-19 self-tests to public and private K-12 schools, as well as early childcare providers on Tuesday -- marking the first phase of the state's distribution of self-tests.

Governor Ned Lamont said a total of 620,000 of the tests were given to the K-12 schools, and the remaining 50,000 were given to early childcare providers.

Lamont's administration anticipates additional self-test allocations to be announced in the coming days as the state secures more tests from vendors.

“Keeping students in school in a safe and healthy learning environment has been one of my top priorities, and providing these self-tests to schools and early childcare providers will be another component in our efforts toward getting this done,” Lamont said in a statement. “Amid a worldwide scramble to obtain tests, our administration is continuing to work with vendors to get as many tests here as possible, and we will continue working with our school districts to help fulfill these needs.”

The Connecticut State Department of Education provided school officials with guidance recommending that the self-tests be used:

  • If a child or staff member exhibits symptoms and needs to be screened for COVID-19;
  • If a child or staff member has a direct exposure to an individual with COVID-19; and
  • If a class or program is experiencing multiple cases of COVID-19, a school may want to distribute tests to all students in that classroom if they have difficulty accessing tests.

“Testing is just one of the many mitigation strategies aimed at keeping our students learning in person, where they learn best and have access to social-emotional and mental health supports, nutritious meals, physical activity, and more,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said.

“The Connecticut State Department of Education and our agency partners across the Lamont administration are actively working to maintain access to safe, healthy, and enriching in-person learning opportunities.”

The state's distribution of self-tests in schools comes at a time when Connecticut is experiencing a surge of COVID cases brought on by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Lamont said Tuesday morning that Connecticut's COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 24 percent.

"A 24-percent infection rate is lousy, and it may get worse before it gets better," Gov. Lamont said during a virtual news conference Tuesday.

The daily positivity rate on Monday was 21.52 percent, which was a new record high.

The governor said vaccines and booster shots are keeping most people out of the hospital or ICUs.

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