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

Montgomery County received 196,000 take-out rapid coronavirus test kits on Wednesday. Shipping was delayed due to winter weather, according to iHealth, the seller.

Montgomery County Photo

A shipment of 196,000 on-the-go coronavirus rapid test kits arrived in Montgomery County Wednesday night, days later than expected, officials said.

The delivery of kits from iHealth, the supplier supplying the county, is significant because the county had distributed its entire supply – nearly 800,000 kits to date. These were distributed to Montgomery County public schools, libraries, daycare centers and other community entities.

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 winter weather delayed a delivery truck by a few days. She wrote that the shipment arrived in Montgomery County on Wednesday.

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

County officials announced Wednesday that they would start distributing 4 million N95 masks on Friday, as well as rapid test kits, as long as they have the supply.

Deputy Administrative Director Earl Stoddard wrote in a text message Thursday that county officials plan to donate 50,000 kits to Montgomery County Public Schools per week.

That’s less than the amount MCPS Acting Superintendent Monifa McKnight requested from county officials earlier this week — 190,000 kits every two weeks. Chris Cram, a spokesperson for MCPS, wrote the following in an email when asked about this difference: “Montgomery County is a great partner in helping us and the greater community , to have what is necessary to be safe during this pandemic. We certainly hope that the supply problems will not continue. 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 go to daycares, 20,000 to private schools and 30,000 to other community entities. The rest will go to library branches and other partners, he wrote.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at [email protected]

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