Millions of COVID-19 tests being sent to Virginia

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending BinaxNOW COVID-19 point of...
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending BinaxNOW COVID-19 point of care antigen tests to the state of Virginia.(Abbott Labs)
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ/HHS Release) - Virginia is getting 2,570,000 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point-of-care antigen tests to test for COVID-19 throughout the commonwealth.

The tests come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and are designed to diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as fifteen minutes. They will be distributed at the discretion of Governor Ralph Northam to support testing K-12 students, teachers, nursing home patients and staff, higher education, critical infrastructure, first responders and other priorities as he deems fit, according to HHS.

The Trump Administration has shipped more than 384,000 COVID-19 rapid tests directly to congregate care settings such as Virginia nursing homes, assisted living facilities and historically black colleges and universities in the commonwealth, according to HHS. As of October 26, more than 1,000,000 BinaxNOW tests have been shipped to Virginia.

“To facilitate the continued re-opening of Virginia 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,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, MD. “Distributing these rapid tests directly to states is consistent with the Trump Administration’s successful, ongoing approach of testing the right person, with the right test at the right time, is working and the effort will continue until the pandemic is under control.”

HHS says Virginia so far says the first wave of BinaxNOW tests will be shared with mental health centers, and plans to disseminate them to higher education, K-12, corrections facilities, and hospice centers.

Dr. Groir said testing does not substitute for avoiding crowded indoor spaces, washing one’s hands or wearing a mask when not able to physically distance.

“Combining personal responsibility with smart testing is a foundational pillar of the Administration’s national testing strategy," he said.

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