New Castle hands out 6,000 free take-home COVID-19 tests

The county says it expects to get another 100,000 to 160,000 tests in the next two weeks.
NEW CASTLE, Delaware (WPVI) -- New Castle County officials handed out 6,000 free COVID-19 rapid tests to the community Saturday, hoping to ease the demand for testing as cases skyrocket in Delaware.

"Worked really hard, called every supplier they knew. We were able to get these 6,000 tests," said Brian Boyle, the policy director for the county.

Workers organized the rapid test giveaway at the county offices, telling residents they could drive up starting at 10 a.m. and get a take-home test.

"We did expect really high demand. When we posted this on social media, I think we got over 1,000 shares on Facebook alone," said Boyle.

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Neighbors lined up as early as 8 a.m., wrapping around Commons Boulevard and backing up Rt. 202.

"No, we're not going back to the line," said Joseph Albano from Bear, Delaware. He waited for two hours and turned around.

"I didn't fill the tank and we were getting pretty low and I didn't want to run out of gas over there so we just left," he said.

"The line of people waiting to get in was blocking the line of people trying to exit. Took me an hour and a half to get away from the test distribution center," said Joan French from Newark, Delaware.

The traffic jam is one illustration of the demand for COVID testing in Delaware, which has skyrocketed with cases. The positivity rate is up to 25% and the state is averaging more than 2,500 new cases per day.

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About one in every five Americans has now tested positive for COVID-19 as children under five are being hospitalized with the virus at record high numbers.

French says getting a free test was worth the wait.

"Yes, for our family needs, it was worth it," she said.

The county says it expects to get another 100,000 to 160,000 tests in the next two weeks. It will review how this distribution went and decide the best way to do it going forward.
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