Connecticut will not be receiving its expected shipment of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests promised by the governor, a top Republican leader says, after the state was outbid for the order.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said the governor called him around 1 p.m. Thursday to tell him the state had lost the purchase order for the test kits.
The governor said at a press conference Thursday that the state would still be getting rapid tests, but not on the originally planned scheduled.
"My hope is that we're going to have a lot more tests, rapid tests, very soon, hopefully in time for the new school year," Lamont said.
Towns and cities had been expecting to receive their allocations of 500,000 iHealth kits, which were set to be distributed to the general public. Distribution was originally set to start Thursday, but plans were set back when the governor's office announced what they said was a delay in the shipment from the west coast.
The governor said there had been an agreement to receive a shipment of 3 million test kits, but that shipment is not coming through at this point. The governor said competition for the supplies has been fierce as demand surged.
"I think we got ahead of ourselves," Lamont said.
Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said the state did have a contract and purchase order and did things by the book, but that the status of the order was "misrepresented" to state officials. No money exchanged hands and nothing was delivered, Juthani said.
"We absolutely had a contract. We issued a purchase order off that contract. We were given pictures that the tests were on the way. Those pictures were misrepresented. We did everything by the book for a purchase of this size," Juthani said.
Juthani said state officials communicated with municipalities based on what they were told about the order at the time.
The state did receive a small number of tests Thursday and said 15,000, which were provided to Foodshare and the state Department of Housing to provide to people directly. The state has received shipments of N95 masks that will be distributed in the coming days.
This comes as the state sees surging demand for COVID-19 testing as cases climb rapidly.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.