Cobb to distribute delayed COVID test kits Sunday

03/03/2021 —Marietta, Georgia — Cobb County resident Willia George, 84, receives a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine while at a Cobb and Douglass County Public Health Department COVID-19 vaccine drive thru at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

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03/03/2021 —Marietta, Georgia — Cobb County resident Willia George, 84, receives a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine while at a Cobb and Douglass County Public Health Department COVID-19 vaccine drive thru at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

Cobb County officials on Sunday will distribute 1,000 free COVID test kits to residents at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta, after an event planned on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was canceled due to wintry weather.

The available kits are a small fraction of the 60,000 the county purchased at the end of December as the highly contagious omicron variant began to overwhelm the country. The remaining kits were delayed by a surge in demand, but a larger batch is expected in the coming days, county officials said in a news release.

The event starts at 2 p.m. Volunteers will provide one kit per person at the park’s pavilion, and no more than four per vehicle. Visitors should enter via Al Bishop Drive, the news release said.

Those in need should plan to arrive early; county officials don’t expect the supply to last long. As more kits arrive, they will be distributed at future community events with the help of Cobb and Douglas Public Health officials and nonprofits, in a bid to get tests to the most vulnerable residents.

Meanwhile, the White House this week debuted a website where residents can request four free tests per household, shipped via the U.S. Postal Service. But those shipments are expected to take a week or two to arrive.

On Thursday, Cobb Chairwoman Lisa Cupid extended the county’s state of emergency declaration, keeping many of the county’s pandemic protocols in effect through mid-February.

County Manager Jackie McMorris announced that a mask mandate in county government buildings will expire at the end of January, unless viral spread remains high. This week, the number of COVID patients hospitalized in metro Atlanta began falling for the first time since the start of this surge, according to state data, but hospitals are still struggling to handle the volume.