Unexpected demand and insufficient testing supplies from a vendor caused a free two-day resident COVID testing program to be stopped on Tuesday in Manchester, sparking the Town to cancel the planned second day of testing while it quickly moved to replace the vendor and revise its logistics strategy before the holidays.
On Thursday, Manchester Town Administrator Greg Federspiel said the town was already considering four alternate COVID testing vendors with the plan to reschedule the second day of testing for residents by early next week.
The town was able to successfully test 228 residents on Tuesday before the testing site was closed.
The spike in COVID positive rates in Manchester over the last several weeks is what sparked the town to offer to the two days of free, drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 PCR testing for residents of all ages at the back of Town Hall starting this past Tuesday at 9 a.m. And residents took up the offer in droves, with lines of cars stacked up for drive up testing starting before 8 a.m.
Nearly all of those seeking a test opted for the drive up option. Few sought testing by walk up, according to organizers.
By noon, it was clear the event was “oversubscribed,” with nearly 400 residents waiting in lines that son became a challenge factor for traffic flow throughout the village. In the end, the issue lay with the testing vendor, who supplied only enough tests for 228 tests, so organizers began to alert those in line that they'd run out of tests.
Town officials immediately cut off testing, canceled Saturday’s testing and pivoted to secure bids for onsite testing to four other vendors. Town Administrator Gregory Federspiel said a selection would be made by Thursday, with the aim of holidng a rescheduled, second day of testing by early next week.