Federal government to send more than 300K rapid COVID-19 tests to RI

Coronavirus

FILE – This image provided by Abbott Laboratories in August 2020 shows the company’s BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 nasal swab test. After months of struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. is now capable of testing some 3 million people daily thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the testing boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results. (Abbott Laboratories via AP)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to send thousands of “state-of-the-art” antigen tests to Rhode Island.

The HHS said the state will be receiving 310,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 tests.

Those tests will be distributed at the discretion of Gov. Gina Raimondo to support the testing of high-risk populations such as nursing home residents, healthcare workers and first responders. The tests will also be utilized by the state’s K-12 testing program.

The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point-of-care antigen tests can diagnose coronavirus in as little as 15 minutes, according to the HHS. The test is also the first rapid test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that doesn’t need any special computer equipment to get results.

“To facilitate the continued re-opening of Rhode Island schools, businesses and economy, the Trump Administration has prioritized scaling up the state’s point of care testing capacity by making this $760 million national investment in BinaxNOW tests,” Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir said.

The HHS said more than 31,000 tests were sent directly to congregate care facilities in Rhode Island.

“Combining personal responsibility with smart testing is a foundational pillar of the administration’s national testing strategy,” Giroir said.

As of Monday, the HHS said more than 85,000 Abbott BinaxNOW tests had been shipped to Rhode Island.

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