City of Bridgeport gives away 16,000 at-home COVID tests to residents

Connecticut's largest city today gave away its allotment of nearly 16,000 free at-home COVID tests provided by the state.
Distribution began at Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport at 12 p.m.
Bridgeport didn't hand the tests out on a first come, first served basis like many other municipalities where there were milelong lines and too many people showing up.
This time, everyone who came had been chosen by the city ahead of time.
Cars snaked around the parking lots at Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater and spilled onto the surrounding streets.
Edna Villanueva said she arrived around 11 a.m. because she knew the line would be so long.
But the trip for every single car in line began online. Residents had to register first so the city's Health Department could decide who would get the 15,837 tests provided by the state.
"Who's the most critical? Who's the most vulnerable here in the city of Bridgeport that really needs a test immediately?" said Bridgeport Emergency Manager Director Scott Appleby. "Our Health Department looked at the ones that were symptomatic, that had exposure, underlying health issues and that were in areas of our high positivity rate."
More than 6,000 people registered, wanting more than 50,000 tests - three times the number available.
"It was a piece of cake. I went online -- one, two, three. And I got my confirmation letter two days ago," said Bridgeport resident Bert Ortiz.
"I'm here because I have an underlying condition. I have multiple sclerosis and lupus," said Villanueva.
Volunteers checked IDs and emails to make sure the right people were picking up the kits.
Some of the cars rolling up represented nonprofits or other groups approved by the city to hand out tests to their members.
"So many of our people at the church have been infected, and so we've had to go to an all-virtual service for this month and so we wanted to make sure people get tested," said Pastor McCullough. "We were able and blessed to get some tests. We're thankful for that."
The city is hoping to get more at-home tests from the state and is looking into buying some itself.
City leaders are also reminding people to use them if you have symptoms or five days after being exposed.