County employees to get 1,800 COVID tests

·2 min read

Jan. 20—LIMA — Some 400 employees of Allen County will have COVID testing kits made available to them next week after the county receives and processes the first of two COVID testing kit shipments expected to arrive on Friday.

According to county commissioner Cory Noonan, Friday's shipment is for 1,800 tests and distribution is planned for Tuesday.

"First, and foremost, they are to assist our employees and protect them (from getting sick), but also our offices can continue to provide the awesome services that they provide to Allen County residents," Noonan said.

After distributing the first batch of tests, a second shipment of 1,600 additional tests will not be far behind. The county has an order in queue and it should be placed within the next couple of days.

Noonan explained there is lag from the time an order is placed of 30 to 40 days and said he would like to finalize the order sooner rather than later so they aren't left without supplies later when they need them.

The commissioners briefly discussed the difficulties of obtaining tests in a staff update earlier in the week when Financial Director Susan Wildermuth reported the estimated arrival date for the first order. Wildermuth then mentioned the possibility of placing another order to eliminate a situation where the county runs out of tests amid another potential spike in case outbreaks.

While the commissioners admit testing won't completely stop the coronavirus from entering county offices, they believe that including it as part of a multi-layered program to limit its exposure is a good idea.

"It's not a fail safe. This is just another tool in the toolbox to us," Noonan added. "We are trying to assist our employees to ensure we are able to keep our offices open to provide services."

Noonan then went on to explain that each office is highly specialized and if three or four people in one area get shut down, there isn't flexibility to move someone from a different office.

When the tests are handed out to the employees they may notice an expiration date of February 2022 printed on the packaging. If so, they shouldn't worry.

Wildermuth said the FDA has extended expiration dates for an additional three months from the original use-by date, effectively meaning the first shipment of tests will expire in May.

Reach Joe Gilroy on twitter @TLNJoeGilroy