President Trump on Monday announced that his administration plans to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to schools, nursing homes and other facilities in the coming weeks.
Trump during an event at the White House called the 150 million tests a “massive and groundbreaking expansion” in the nation’s coronavirus testing capabilities.
Of the 150 million Abbott point-of-care tests, 50 million will “protect the most vulnerable communities,” Trump said. That includes 18 million tests for nursing homes, 15 million for assisted living facilities, and 10 million for home health and hospice care agencies.
The rest, 100 million tests, will go to states and territories to “support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and as fast as they can,” the president said.
“It’s important to remember that as younger and healthier people return to work, and as we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases in asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations,” Trump said. “This should not cause undue alarm. The total number of cases is not the full metric of success.”
The Abbott nasal swab test returns results in about 15 minutes, and no machine is required to process the test.
“Literally, it almost could not be easier,” said Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Trump administration has already shipped 2.1 million tests to nursing homes and 900,000 to assisted living facilities.
This week, they’ll start the shipment of 100 million tests to governors, and plan to ship 6.5 million by the end of the week.
Giroir said, “Governors have the flexibility to use these tests as they deem fit, but we strongly encourage governors to utilize them in settings that are uniquely in need of rapid, low-tech point of care tests, like opening and keeping open our K-12 schools, supporting critical infrastructure and first responders, responding to outbreaks specifically in certain demographics or locations, and screening/surveillance in congregant settings.”
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