2022 | Coronavirus

Vendor says weather delayed shipment of 196,000 COVID-19 test kits to county

Kits earmarked for schools, child care providers, libraries, others

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Montgomery County received 196,000 take-home coronavirus rapid test kits from on Wednesday. The shipment was delayed because of wintry weather, according to iHealth, the vendor.

Photo from Montgomery County

A shipment of 196,000 coronavirus take-home rapid test kits arrived in Montgomery County late Wednesday, days later than expected, officials said.

The delivery of kits from iHealth, the vendor supplying the county, is significant because the county had distributed all of its supply — nearly 800,000 kits so far. Those were distributed to Montgomery County Public Schools, libraries, child care centers and other entities in the community.

Sharon Fei, a spokeswoman for iHealth, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat that the shipment of 196,000 kits was sent on Jan. 13, but wintry weather delayed a delivery truck for a couple of days. She wrote that the shipment arrived in Montgomery County on Wednesday. 

Scott Peterson, a spokesman in County Executive Marc Elrich’s office, confirmed in a text message that the kits arrived Wednesday.

County officials announced Wednesday that they would begin distributing 4 million N95 masks on Friday, along with rapid test kits, as long as they had the supply.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard wrote in a text message on Thursday that county officials planned to give 50,000 kits to Montgomery County Public Schools per week.

That’s less than the amount MCPS Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight asked for from county officials earlier this week — 190,000 kits every two weeks. Chris Cram, a spokesman for MCPS, wrote the following in an email when asked about that difference: “Montgomery County is an excellent partner in helping us and the greater community have what is needed to be safe during this pandemic. We are certainly hopeful that the supply challenges will not be ongoing. We have said and continue to say that testing is one of the most important strategies we can use now.”

Stoddard wrote that of the current shipment of 196,000 kits, 20,000 are going to child care facilities, 20,000 to private schools, and 30,000 to other entities in the community. The remainder will be for library branches and other partners, he wrote.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com