This story was updated at 11:05 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022, to correct the number of kits the county has on-hand and clarify how distribution will work. It was updated at 12:35 p.m. to clarify details of the Department of Defense’s contract with a vendor for test kits.
Montgomery County officials are waiting on an additional shipment of nearly 200,000 more take-home coronavirus rapid test kits, after tens of thousands of residents claimed kits at library branches last week.
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard wrote in a text message Tuesday that the county has received about 780,000 kits to date. Those are being sent to libraries, Montgomery County Public Schools and various other community partners.
Stoddard added that there are about 2,500 kits left in the warehouse, as of Tuesday.
At the libraries alone, residents picked up about 300,000 kits in the first week, Stoddard said. County officials expected a shipment of another 196,000 kits this past weekend, but it hadn’t arrived as of Tuesday morning, he said.
Stoddard said the vendor delivering kits to the county is also satisfying a contract it secured with the U.S. Department of Defense. That could be leading to the delay in the current shipment, and could affect future shipments, he added.
Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno wrote in a text Tuesday that the Department of Defense contract was with iHealth for 200 million test kits.
“Understandably, [the Department of Defense] always goes to the front of the line,” Madaleno wrote.
The Department of Defense did not immediately return a phone call or email for comment on Monday, a federal holiday.
The county has enough of a supply to distribute to libraries and other partners through Thursday of this week, Stoddard said. But there isn’t enough for all partners, he wrote Tuesday.
“We have already pre-positioned kits at libraries through Thursday and sent some to community partners last week for distribution, but aren’t filling other orders (childcare, MCPS, municipalities, etc.) until our next shipment arrives,” Stoddard wrote.
He said previously that the same library branches would offer test kits this week, but hours to pick them up would be shortened.
As of Monday afternoon, the times for each location had not yet been finalized. Department of Health and Human Services officials did not distribute kits on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org