Testing, Testing …

All roads lead to the Greens Farms railroad station.

And — with demand for at-home testing high — drivers lined up early for this afternoon’s distribution of the hard-to-come-by kits.

Town officials announced late this morning that supplies had just arrived. By 1:30 p.m., cars were backed up on Greens Farms Road all the way to the Sherwood Island connector. Soon, the line stretched all the way back to South Compo.

Similarly long lines were reported the other direction on Greens Farms Road, and on adjacent streets like Beachside Avenue, Morningside Drive and Turkey Hill.

With little to do but wait, a number of drivers sent photos to “06880.” Here are a few:

Greens Farms Road, heading toward Beachside Avenue … (Photo/Jan Stewart)

… and cars waiting behind from the Connector, shown in the side mirror. (Photo/Jan Stewart)

Coming from the other direction — the east — on Greens Farms Road. (Photo/Wynne Bohonnon)

Morningside Drive South, heading toward Greens Farms Road. (Photo/Alan Phillips)

Beachside Avenue bridge over I-95, heading toward Greens Farms Road. (Photo/Wynne Bohonnon)


45 responses to “Testing, Testing …

  1. I was lucky enough to be one of the first 20 cars on line for the test kit…all I could think of was the service our fire dept was performing for Westport residents and whether those men in uniform, almost none of whom lives in town, were able to get the testing kits THEY need as they smilingly tossed two box into each Westport (un verified) car that crawled by.
    Thank you, Westport FD, for handing us the tests and I hope to hell you grabbed a bunch for yourselves.

  2. I wish more people were turning their engines off while they say.

    • elorimer@gmail.com

      “sat” not “say”. Did give me time to look at all the new sloppy fiber cable and wonder when it would get lit.

  3. Also just got back from this superspreader event…..of CO2, not virus. There has got to be a better way. Although the FD and PD were well represented at the station and did a great job of keeping us moving, there was no presence or thought given to traffic organization on GF Road, never mind the countless clogged roads in the ritzy part of town leading to it.
    I feel sorry for those still in traffic unaware that kits will inevitably have run out.
    Can our leaders come up with some better way of distributing limited resources, be they surgical masks (2020), test kits (2022) or who know what the future will require.

  4. Bridgeport EOC and Health Dept are distributing tests through community agencies to reach the most ‘socially vulnerable community members’, and also to their citizens via online registration (with a hotline to call if no access to internet). No traffic lines, no one waiting for hours only to leave empty handed, no hundreds of cars idling for hours. Civilized.

  5. I hope all those in line got their kits.

  6. We saw the line at 1:30 extending passed the Beachside Avenue overpass and just went home!!

    Has to be a better way!!

  7. and tests are available from Amazon with delivery Jan 6 – must be the allure of “free” making it worth the time and pollution on line….

    There has to be another way of equitable distribution.

  8. Poor planning for distribution site – idling for 45 mins on Greens Farms Road, to only turn around with no test in hand – there had to be much better choices for distribution location. Disappointed in Westport for handling of this #fail

  9. I turned onto Greens Farm Rd at Hillspoint at 2:15 only to spend the next HOUR crawling along Greens Farm Rd. When I turned around at 3:20 I had not even reached the Sherwood Is Connector intersection. After 3 cycles of the traffic lights where not one car was able to cross the intersection I turned around. There must be a better way to distribute items such as these tests and control the traffic flow. I wonder whether a more distributed distribution system (by voting districts?) might work better.

    Shelly Sherman

  10. Only 720 test kits!!!
    BRAVA to our new town leadership!

  11. First of all, a big shout-out to the Westport FD and PD for their work today. So frustrating that the massive surge in air pollution casts serious doubt on the net benefit of this effort.

    Since delivery will always be the biggest hurdle, what about going to the specialists in last-mile conveyance? The Postal Service.

    Future test kits could be distributed among letter carriers either evenly or proportional to addresses per route. No queuing, no curses, no excess CO.

    Jen, Danielle, et al, let’s find a better way.

    Phil Kann

  12. I was one of those Stuck in One in line for over 2 hrs , with many Rude people who tried to cut the lines .. Especially the Ones with high end cars acting like their Special .. After over 2 hrs of waiting in line the tests were all given out .. I joined the waiting line at Sherwood Island connector at 130PM , thinking the early bird wins .. WRONG … I personally think the next one should be held elsewhere , with not as many access streets to get to the location .. Doing so would eliminate lass traffic jams , and give the police more control of traffic .. How about giving the Tests to every student as the leave school ?? No traffic Jams , No cars Polluting the air etc ..

    • Interesting, “K.F”, I was noticing that there were NO rude cutters in and almost no “high end” cars…lots of Audis (Not high end), Volvos, Hondas, Subarus…yeah, many of ’em were “SUV’s” but that does not a “high end” make.

  13. celestine lacroix

    This was a disaster. I left my home at 2:10 to be early. I finally left the line when a policeman told me that all test kits were gone. He said it was a disaster. Our neighboring towns got their kits before we did and 720 kits is a joke. Poor planning, poor execution. What a black eye for the town.
    Celeste LaCroix

  14. What thoughtless, poor planning by the Tooker administration. Waited 2 hours and got to the train station, the only location, just as they ran out kits. It would have been much wiser to have people sign up online and then pick up the kits at various locations, rather than idle their cars for so many hours in front of people’s homes. Thank you to the police and fire departments never the less. They did their best.

  15. After reading all the above esp Dan Katz who said no Wesport verification and hearing my husband’s frustrating report of arriving in line at 2:24 with no kits brought home, what a nightmare! Why not stage it at Sherwood Isl or Compo beach, require license for town verification, and one kit per car (family by honor code)?

  16. When there is another distribution of test kits available I hope town leaders will have a plan to prevent today’s mess . I sat on line for more than 2 hours expecting a text update. I never received any alert.. A rep from the FD or PD could have informed drivers waiting on line to leave once the demand exceeded supply. Perhaps having a pick-up program with appointments similar to the way vaccines or flu shots are dispensed would serve the purpose. . Let’s hope that when the next supply of test kits arrive we will not have a repeat of the monster traffic jam, the pollution, the frustrated drivers and waste of time. The virus is not going away soon— we must remain calm, practice recommended prevention techniques and not get hysterical which today’s behavior seemed to foster.

  17. Good intentions but poor execution and communication. Let’s also not forget the serious traffic disruptions and near road rage accidents that were created around town for those of us who were just trying to run post-holiday errands (like trying to get to the town recycling center and Goodwill). But the most absurd scene was seeing the equally long line of idling cars shutting down the Post Road right lane at the exact same time waiting for their Starbucks! We literally thought they were in line for the test kits, but no!

  18. Carl A. Swanson

    Get the National Guard in there, they know how to run things. But, if the new variant is less severe and symptoms often gone in several days, why get tested at all? Why spend 3 hours in traffic line, find you are positive, go back to bed and then repeat the procedure three days later? Go to bed, inform your doctor, and get tested when you are feeling better after quarantined.

  19. Jo Shields Sherman

    Volunteering this afternoon with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), many vehicles WERE checked either for recent beach stickers or if none, a CT driver’s license with a Westport address. Despite the waiting, all in all, drivers were very good-natured as I checked them in. (Or turned them away. Fairfield! really?) Also helpful in today’s “latent-lead-time” distribution effort was Westport EMS, on hand alongside the well-organized Fire and Police departments.

    There are some good ideas in the comments here. And CT towns definitely could have used more test kits.

  20. I’m surprised there weren’t people protesting the cars polluting, like some are throwing a fit about leaf blowers. That said, I think that its time to pause and think for a second whether the testing is actually beneficial at this point, other than to make the testing companies rich. I have heard countless stories the past few weeks about people attending parties where everyone tested negative beforehand, yet, magically everyone that attended the party ends up sick with Covid. Testing is providing a false sense of security at this point. The tests are not always accurate and someone can be fine and then hours later sick and contagious.

    • Carl A. Swanson

      Interesting comment, Joshua. Of the 12 adults who attended a Christmas Eve gingerbread-making contest, seven (7) tested positive for Covid three days later after experiencing flu like symptoms and all had three shots. It raises, as I did in a previous comment, the issue of the effectiveness of testing.

      • Its already well known that the shots dont keep you from catching the virus and becoming infected. The goal is for them to condition your body to react to when you do catch the virus and keep you from dying. Perhaps they are working but who really knows, so much twisting of data and facts during this whole ordeal.

        • Don’t do that. The data are out there, and there is no “perhaps”. The vaccines do two things. First, they cause you to create antibodies, which coat the virus and prevent it from entering a cell and replicating. The more antibodies, the more of this can occur, thus the booster. Omicron has mutations that make this function less effective but not completely ineffective. If there is no replicating, there is no transmission. There was hope this would be enough, but we didn’t get enough people vaccinated fast enough. The second is, as you rightly say, triggering your body to recognize the virus and produce T-cells to kill infected cells. This is what gives you a head start and, with luck, a less severe case. This is clearly evident in what is referred to as “decoupling”: the rate of hospitalization and death is not increasing at any where near the same rate as new cases. You can clearly see this in countries where Omicron is dominant. Even in the US, where Delta is still dominant, one hospital system recently reported that of 384 patients hospitalized for Covid (for, not with), 107 were in ICU, of which 7 were vaccinated. Of the 107, 63 were intubated, and 4 of those were vaccinated. All the vaccinated had significant co-morbidities. So the data are that vaccination is clearly working.

          • Not disagreeing, its just there have been games played during the entire pandemic, repetitive mistakes made, bad guidance from the flip-flopping CDC, skewed/obfuscated data pushed out, etc. I also look at what is in front of me. Everyone I know with covid has been fully vaccinated and boosted, many have played a role in spreading it further. I know some that are unvaccinated and have caught covid multiple times and are fine where many that were vaccinated were hit hard and hung out in their beds for some time, maybe weeks. I sure hope that vaccines are leading to the less severe cases but less severe may simply mean staying out of the hospital, which again, is fine, if lives are being saved. Don’t forget that at the start of the vaccines, the American public was told this was the fix, vaccines would stop the spread, and keep you safe from catching the virus. Perhaps safe should’ve been better/more accurately defined. We still do not know the long-term effects, even from a mild case, some may stay out of the hospital but experience permanent/long-term effects. I loathed the commercials on TV saying it was safe to start hugging people and attending gatherings if you are vaccinated. What they should’ve said was it would potentially be less risky for YOU and hopefully keep YOU out of the hospital, but there was still risk of catching it, and transmitting it. There are also theories that many of those that were at risk or would be impacted severely were taken out during the first wave, so naturally hospitalizations and deaths are lower, now, and the vaccines are playing less of a role then we want to believe. PS. I caught H1N1 (swine flu) in one of the first waves to hit the USA. It was a nasty severe illness that thankfully only lasted a few days for me but I can understand how it would’ve hit others harder. I am also trying to figure out if it caused permanent damage to my body to this day (there is some evidence that it may have). I changed my whole awareness and thought process after getting swine flu. I haven’t been knowingly (symptomatic) sick in over 10 years (knock on wood!!). If only others could’ve been more aware and used an ounce of common sense.. Another sad thing is this being America, legit masks should’ve been produced and handed out like candy, nearly TWO YEARS ago. Something as simple as that might have made a real dent and led to a better outcome to where we stand today. So many #fails all around. /Rant over.

  21. 712 test kits divided by 2 kits per car = 356 cars to be served (presuming that each driver takes the allotted two kits). This assumes that each driver had a Westport license or beach sticker.

    From what I read above, cars were lined up well in advance. Why not have two volunteers walk along the lines of cars – going in opposite directions – and give a “ticket” to each driver? Volunteer #1has odd-numbered tickets starting with one and Volunteer #2 has even-numbered tickets starting with two. Once each volunteer has given a ticket to 175 drivers, let the drivers behind that point know that there likely wont’t be any kits left by the time they get to the distribution area.

    I was surprised to read that Fairfield gave out four tests per household (i.e., per vehicle). This was not a prudent move, in my view. Westport was smart to set a limit of two tests but could have handled the distribution in a manner that did not leave residents waiting for hours unnecessarily.

    I am certain that the administration has learned from this experience.

    • Jo Shields Sherman

      Elaine, there were two tests in each of the two test kit boxes handed out today. So Westport residents actually did receive four tests, too.

  22. First off, kudos to the Westport Police, Fire, Emergency Services, and other folks who smoothly ran the distribution process. Presumably, given the prior cancellation and the limited notice, test kits were received and distributed in a matter of hours.

    I’m not surprised – this is Westport, after all – that given the high demand for kits given the Omicron spike and free distribution of two kits per family, people are still complaining. In my opinion, there was no better, faster, or safer way to handle this than via the drive-through distribution.

    I left my house (off of Maple Ave S) at 2:30 and drove to the back of the line which, at that point, was at Greens Farms Road and Maple Lane (so maybe a quarter-mile from the site). The line began slowly moving at 2:45 (I assume that was when distribution began – though maybe that’s just when they allowed folks to drive in the lot). The officer managing traffic from both directions on Greens Farms Road did a great job of keeping people turning into a merge on New Creek Road. Folks were directed into the Greens Farms Station lot, into two drive through lanes that looped around Lot 1. I showed my drivers license to a fireman, was handed two kits, and directed to exit to the right. I was home by 3:15 (probably closer to 3:10).

    I think what we have here are some unrealistic expectations for the delivery of FREE stuff during a global pandemic. I can’t imagine a much better location – maybe Sherwood Island SP, but there would have only been one entrance and exit so the line would have been twice as long. If residents were idling their cars while sitting in line for an hour, that’s on them, not on Town decision makers.

    Everyone take a deep breath. Were two years into this crisis and we’re in this together.

  23. I was in the line of cars yesterday and was amazed and pleased at the way it was organized and operated. Many cheerful and efficient volunteers kept it moving. Using beach stickers instead of personal ID was a brilliant way to prevent stopping every car,

  24. I don’t think using beach stickers was a good idea if out of towners can get them. Licences, as they said they would look at, are a better idea

  25. Knowing how many kits were available, I didn’t even consider going, knowing the lines would be long – like the lines at Starbucks on the Post Road….and all the cars idling, once again.

  26. Richard Johnson

    So just be clear, we handed out free rapid tests to multimillionaires who have nothing better to do (e.g., work) than to wait in line for hours in $70,000 SUVs spewing pollution into our town, while we KNOW that there are hundreds if not thousands within our community and nearby who genuinely NEED (not want) free tests and genuinely have difficulty accessing them (not just mildly inconvenienced to get them) but who don’t have the luxury of a free Monday afternoon? The elderly, the disabled, the working poor – better luck next time!

    Gross. But that’s what we get for electing Republicans. Make Westport Great Again!

  27. P/S .. I highly endorse WeatherTeck floor mats now , due to I had to take a Pee Badly after waiting for over 3 hrs in a line that only moved 1/2 mile .. The other drivers had my car Pinned between each other , with No way of Turning around .. I first tried using my large coffee cup , then everything ended up on the floor mat … lol

  28. The following questions were submitted to the First Selectwoman and all RTM members. It is now up to the First Selectwoman to respond:

    Questions for Tooker:

    1. When did you know that there would be 742 test kits available to give out?
    (Originally, the number was closer to 3,000)
    2. Why was the venue changed from Staples to Greens Farms Train Station?
    3. Did you discuss with the police and the fire department the inherent and potential difficulties with using the train station as a delivery site?
    4. Did you inform the residents who live on the feeder streets that their roads would be clogged on the day of delivery?
    5. Did you have a plan to communicate with the drivers of the cars should there be thousands of cars waiting in line who would need to know if the supply was running out?
    6. Did you contact the authorities in neighboring towns to find out how they would be handling the delivery process?
    7. When did you first contact the police/fire department to inform them that their help would be needed on the day of delivery?
    8. Why was the telephone in your office unmanned during the day on Monday January 3?
    9. Why was there not a constant outgoing message update on your office phone?
    10. Why were there not police on motorcycles monitoring the clogged roads and informing people about the diminishing supply of test kits being given out?
    11. Why did you give out 2 test kits per car when there was such a limited supply?
    12. Why did you not prioritize the most vulnerable people in our population like Weston did?

    • Rozzane, a great list: add: How did you assure that Westport residents were receiving the kits and why did the FD/Police not check licenses?

    • I sent the same type of note, though not as good, to Ms Tooker on Tuesday.
      Still no response. She owes the town an explanation, an apology or some sign of remorse. Hiding out is not acceptable nor respectful. Am surprised that after serving a term with Jim Marpe, not much stuck.

      • Jack, she was an ornament during the Marpe years. She did nothing. She even placed a cardboard cutout of herself and Andrea Moore at the Coleytown Middle School voting location. I found that quite telling. This fiasco with the testing kits distribution was totally predictable. All she wants is to cut ribbons. I called her office two weeks (when the location was Staples High School) ago to ask if they had arranged for a police presence on the day of distribution. “No” was the answer. What does that tell you?

  29. We’re screwed

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