Washington, DC – Four weeks after the Trump Administration announced it would deploy 150 million state-of-the-art Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 tests nationally to assist Governors’ ongoing reopening efforts, states have begun to report back where they are choosing to distribute the rapid, point of care tests. Of the states who have provided preliminary reports, use of the BinaxNOW allocations are largely being deployed to local health departments, K-12 schools and institutes of higher education, nursing homes, hospitals and correctional facilities.
“To protect seniors and to facilitate the continued re-opening of schools, businesses and the economy, the Trump Administration prioritized scaling-up our state and national point of care testing capacity,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, MD. “Through strategic deployment of rapid tests to higher-risk individuals, accompanied by Federal surge- testing of individuals where there are outbreaks – as was the case this summer in multiple Sunbelt states – our national plan to provide the right test, at the right time, to the right person is working.”
But Giroir reiterated 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, targeted testing is a proven formula to prevent outbreaks – but we cannot ‘test our way’ out of this pandemic. Public vigilance in adhering to precautionary measures is required – especially as we clearly see the onset of mitigation fatigue.”
In their initial preliminary feedback, 32 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have shared how they plan to use the massive federal shipment of BinaxNOW tests. Other states, however, have additional priorities: for example, Alaska is sending tests to oil drilling sites; Mississippi and other states to veterans’ homes; Nevada to tribal health clinics; and Colorado to local public health agencies to test homeless populations.
As part of the Trump Administration’s comprehensive national effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS purchased 150 million Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests from Abbott. Of that total, 100 million are being shipped on an ongoing, weekly basis to Governors – who are given the discretion to distribute the BinaxNOW tests as they see fit. The other 50 million tests procured by HHS are being shipped directly to congregate care settings such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health, hospice, the Indian Health Service, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
To view the allocation of tests to each state and territories click here.
The Federal government purchased Abbott BinaxNOW diagnostic tests on August 27, 2020, to ensure equitable distribution of the first 150 million units – one day after an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the test was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — – to ensure that the tests would be expeditiously distributed to vulnerable populations as quickly as possible. The Federal distribution plan helps ensure that the nation’s Governors do not have to compete for the initial BinaxNOW shipments, or waste precious time to set up individual purchasing contracts with the manufacturer.
HHS also provided all CLIA-certified nursing homes over 11 million rapid, point-of-care tests. The tests include the following FDA-authorized antigen diagnostic tests: Abbott BinaxNOW and either a Quidel Sofia 2 or Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) Veritor™ Plus System instrument(s).