FRANKFORT, Ky. – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending 1,340,000 state-of-the-art Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point of care antigen tests to Kentucky. The rapid point of care tests, which can diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as 15 minutes, will be distributed at the discretion of Gov. Andy Beshear 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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has shipped over 284,000 COVID-19 rapid tests directly to congregate care settings such as Kentucky nursing homes, assisted living facilities and to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the commonwealth. As of Oct. 26, over 595,000 BinaxNOW tests have been shipped to Kentucky.
In preliminary feedback, the commonwealth of Kentucky shared they have shipped tests to public universities and local health departments to support K-12 schools, universities, and homeless shelter operations. Leaders also plan to use the BinaxNOW tests to reach vulnerable populations and correctional institutions.
Dr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health, said testing does not substitute for avoiding crowded indoor spaces, washing one’s hands, or wearing a mask when not able to physically distance.
The federal government purchased Abbott BinaxNOW diagnostic tests on Aug. 27 to ensure equitable distribution of the first 150 million units – one day after an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HHS has also provided all CLIA-certified nursing homes over 11 million rapid point of care tests.