420,000 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Tests to Scale Up Hawai‘i’s Testing Capacity

October 30, 2020, 8:47 AM HST · Updated October 30, 8:47 AM
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PC: University of Hawaiʻi.

As part of a comprehensive national effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist the nation’s Governors in doing so, the US Department of Health and Human Services is sending 420,000 \Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point of care antigen tests to Hawaiʻi.

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 David Ige 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 26,000 rapid COVID-19 rapid tests directly to congregate care settings such as Hawaii nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state. As of Oct. 26 over 124,000 BinaxNOW tests have been shipped to Hawaiʻi.

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

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In preliminary feedback, the State of Hawaiʻi has shared they will dedicate 10% of their BinaxNOW test allotment for virus outbreaks, 35% of tests for congregate living situations, 50% of tests for education, and 5% for travel. The distribution plan is subject to change as more information is gathered.

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.”

The Federal government purchased Abbott BinaxNOW diagnostic tests on Aug. 27, 2020, to ensure equitable distribution of the first 150 million units – one day after an Emergency Use Authorization was issued by the Food and Drug Administration – to ensure they would be expeditiously distributed to vulnerable populations as quickly as possible.

Now that initial distribution of these tests to all 50 states and the District of Columbia is well underway, it ensures the nation’s governors will not have to compete for the initial BinaxNOW shipments, or waste precious time to set up individual purchasing contracts with the manufacturer.

HHS has also provided all CLIA-certified nursing homes over 11 million rapid point of care tests, this includes Abbott BinaxNOW FDA-authorized antigen diagnostic tests and either a Quidel Sofia 2 or Becton, Dickinson and Company Veritor™ Plus System instrument(s) with associated tests.

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