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Hurdles impact COVID test giveaway in Mahoning County

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MAHONING COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) — COVID-19 test kits were given away quickly during a giveaway in Mahoning County Monday.

The 4,000 free kits were handed out by the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.

The location in Austintown was out of kits just 10 minutes after they started giving them away at 9 a.m. and other locations went through their inventory quickly, too.

“We had anticipated a huge run when our libraries opened,” said Director Aimee Fifarek.

In addition to the high demand, the library system’s phone lines went down Monday morning, compounding the problem since those wanting kits were told to call in to register to receive them. After that, the kits were given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gary Blockinger was one of those who arrived too late, saying he’s thankful he hasn’t contracted the virus yet.

“I just think people are scared. It’s crazy out here,” he said. “I just wanted to be precautions and show up and maybe pick up a test just in case.”

The library system will continue passing out COVID tests on a weekly basis as it has been for months. They will now get them through the state by way of the Ohio Library Association.

At this point, Fifarek isn’t sure when their next allotment will arrive.

In addition, the library system has implemented a mask policy at all of its branches.

“We are hoping by the end of January we can go back to business as usual,” Fifarek said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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