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Manatee County gives away 7,500 at-home COVID-19 testing kits

The test kits were provided by the Florida Department of Health and each person could take home up to four kits at a time.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County Government has distributed 7,500 at-home COVID-19 rapid testing kits to families in the community.

The rapid COVID-19 test kits were provided by the Florida Department of Health and were given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each person was only allowed to take home four kits at a time.

"People want to know about their COVID-19 status and these at-home test kits are a great way to do it," Information Outreach Manager of Manatee County, Bill Logan, said. "We have seen the popularity of the test kits offered at the Mantatee Convention Center and how those have risen in the number of people coming in."

The distribution, which resumed at 9 a.m. took place at all six branches of the Manatee County Public Library.

"Wonderful, wonderful, I had to be here at 9 o'clock," said one woman walking away with her hand full of testing kits.

"I'm very happy, I take care of a 90-year-old man and I don't want to kill him," said another person getting the at-home tests.

Long lines of people waiting to receive their testing kits could be seen wrapped around the library property.

Each library received about 1,000 testing kits and some locations ran out within 30 minutes.

"Indeed it went fast within a half an hour at the Palmetto branch they were all out of kits and that was the same kind of story that was told at the other branches around the county," Logan said.

Many of those families who went home empty-handed and disappointed said the county should have done a better job with supply and the distribution process.

"It seems so disorganized," one visibly upset resident said. "They should give you tickets for however many tests there are."

"This was very poor planning and I think where they have the overhang we could've just driven through there and there were plenty of places for them to line up the cars here," one senior who had come with her walker said.

"They should've not been announcing it for people in Hillsborough County that were here picking it up. It should've been Manatee County IDs only," another said.

County officials have said they are looking into making more free at-home testing kits available to the public again.

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