Wisconsin to receive 1.75 million rapid COVID-19 tests

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 8:17 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - In total, Wisconsin will receive 1.75 million rapid COVID-19 tests including the more than a million they’ve already received according Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health and Trump administration COVID-19 testing leader.

These point-of-care tests include Abbot BinaxNOW tests, which Giroir said can return results within 15 minutes. The federal government purchased its first 150 million of these tests on Aug. 27.

Giroir said the main uses for these tests are at schools, nursing homes and to stand up other critical infrastructure. Wisconsin nursing homes have already received more than 600,000 of these tests. The state also will soon have an additional 465,000 tests to use a Gov. Tony Evers' discretion.

He said while the BinaxNOW tests are more than 97 percent sensitive in symptomatic patients and seem to work in people who are asymptomatic, people need to still take another test to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis.

"They’re rapid. They’re point of care. They’re $5. They’re super for screening individuals like staff going into nursing homes. Like, if you have a sick kid in a classroom you can do it right there. You can do contact tracing. But they’re always backed up by the more sophisticated tests that are expensive and take much longer to get back,” Giroir said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services thinks 1.75 million tests aren’t enough saying, “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is disappointed that the state, which is facing surge rates higher than almost any state in the nation, would only be allocated 1.75 million tests out of the 150 million tests the federal government has purchased for distribution. Based on our population, we should at a minimum be receiving over 2.5 million tests. We would also like to point out that this is not a new allocation. In addition to the just over 600,000 tests that Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent directly to long term care facilities, we have received 380,920 tests, with another 84,160 that arrived this week. Distribution of the tests to other sectors and settings is still under consideration.”

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