Governor Reeves: State Reopening Effort Significantly Advanced by New Rapid Point of Care Tests

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As part of the Trump Administration’s comprehensive national effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist the nation’s Governors in doing so, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending 890,000 state-of-the-art Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point of care antigen tests to the State of Mississippi. The rapid point of care tests, which can diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as fifteen minutes, will be distributed at the discretion of Governor Tate Reeves 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.

The Trump Administration has shipped over 200,000 COVID-19 rapid tests directly to congregate care settings such as Mississippi nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state. As of October 26 over 398,000 BinaxNOW tests have been shipped to Mississippi.

“To facilitate the continued re-opening of Mississippi 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.”

The State of Mississippi provided HHS a detailed plan for their BinaxNOW distribution, including detail on providing tests to sheltering operations in response to hurricanes and are also focusing on state Veterans Affairs homes not licensed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to administer tests. They are currently testing in six locations and plan to eventually expand testing from once per week, to twice per week, four times per week, and ultimately daily testing in most counties by the week of Nov 9.  Mississippi is also supporting schools through Community Health Center programs and with mobile units and will provide tests to long term care facilities that are not already receiving tests directly from HHS.

Giroir pointed out that 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.”

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Release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.