Gov. Asa Hutchinson provided data on antigen testing for COVID-19 in the state of Arkansas for the first time today (July 30) at his daily press conference.
“Antigen testing is different than the PCR tests that we keep track of and report everyday,” he said. “The antigen testing that is being done could be at a pharmacy, could be at a clinic somewhere that has a point-of-care testing machine and will give you [results] within minutes and that’s the advantage of the antigen tests.”
Since June 11, there have been 5,084 antigen tests completed across the state with 4,506 negative results. There have been 548 “presumptive positive” results.
“They aren’t considered positive tests that go into the system and that we count for everyday,” Hutchinson said. “Whenever it is a presumptive test, then they are sent to the Department of Health lab or commercial lab to actually have a PCR test done and if it’s confirmed positive then it goes into the system.”
The governor announced earlier this week that the Arkansas Department of Health ordered 200 BD Veritor point-of-care antigen testing machines.
“We want to increase the number of antigen tests that we’re doing in Arkansas. It has about a 95 percent rate of accuracy, so it’s not as high as a PCR test but it is very convenient to have a quick turnaround on it to let the person know…This will be helpful as we go into school. We want to get these antigen test equipment out so it’s more available for a quick turnaround”
When asked about the cost of antigen testing, Hutchinson said it is approximately $95. However, insurance coverage and reimbursement may vary.
“That cost issue is a challenge for many people, but it’s an option for individuals,” he said.