Delaware community partners report difficulty obtaining COVID tests

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 1/14/22

As testing ramps up to gauge the presence and spread of COVID-19 driven by the omicron variant, demand is outweighing supply nationwide.

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Delaware community partners report difficulty obtaining COVID tests

Posted

As testing ramps up to gauge the presence and spread of COVID-19 driven by the omicron variant, demand is outweighing supply nationwide.

Just before the new year, First State Community Action Agency, one of the Delaware Division of Public Health’s contracted partners for community outreach during the pandemic, received 1,000 BinaxNow test kits from the state.

Within several days, that supply was exhausted.

“We distributed the ones we had, which would serve 1,000 people,” said FSCAA executive director Bernice Edwards, who added that the agency received another 1,000 kits from the state Tuesday.

She said the group’s priority is Sussex County.

“With Sussex County being as large as it is, we have tried to hit every ZIP code that we have,” said Ms. Edwards. “They call in, and we, our team members, are going into the communities — especially with the homeless.”

FSCAA’s outreach includes working with the Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach and ACE Peer Resource Centers in Seaford and Georgetown, attempting to reach those who are homeless.

“Our main focus now is we are trying to meet with the homeless community. My team is out there,” Ms. Edwards said.

DPH is distributing kits through its partners like FSCAA.

“We will continue to supply contracted community partners with test kits while supplies last,” said division spokesman Tim Turane on Tuesday.

He added that the state receives and distributes multiple testing modalities.

“We incessantly monitor our inventory. Our heedfulness allows us to place and receive orders to the extent necessary, as the various supply chains allow. Through proactive leadership, we properly planned for any significant disruptions to the supply chain,” said Mr. Turane. “We have ordered a significant number of both the take-home and other rapid antigen tests, but, for reasons including security, we do not share the exact count. Unfortunately, we are unable to estimate arrival time of these orders, as we have not yet received a shipping notification.”

DPH purchases from the “open market,” he said.

“In some cases, we may receive tests from the federal government, but we are not, at this time, receiving test kits through that channel,” Mr. Turane said. “We do have significant inventory of rapid antigen tests that require provider administration. ... These are available for medical providers to request to assist with testing efforts (in their offices). As for over-the-counter rapid antigen tests, the supply chain is strained.”

FSCAA, which is collaborating with other agencies and local churches, remains very conservative in test kit distribution.

“And we’ve had some families with four, six people in the family,” said Ms. Edwards. “We are trying to meet the masses, … those individuals that we know that need it. We tried to get all of our ZIP codes in Sussex, especially in the areas where we saw that there was not a very good showing in the testing.”

In Sussex County, areas of concern include Bridgeville, Frankford and Laurel, she said.
Tracking is part of the agency’s process.

“When we give them out, we want them to sign for it. That is how we keep an accountability of who we are giving them to and what they are doing. That is First State’s way for accountability reasons,” Ms. Edwards said. “We want to track where they are.”

For information on COVID-19 testing in Delaware, visit here. FSCAA can be reached at 800-372-2240.