The state of Arkansas will be receiving thousands of rapid antigen tests in the coming weeks.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the state will be receiving approximately 50,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests per week, in addition to the 100,000 Abbott BinaxNOW tests it currently has on hand.
“This is a new world for us that will give us new benefits,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “This testing will give us a quick response on positive tests, but also offer quick assurance for negative results.”
“This is the first time we’ve developed a plan for broader surveillance testing. These tests will help us identify new cases in ways we haven’t before. You get results within 15 minutes. The tests give us more flexibility.”
According to Hutchinson, the tests will be divided among a range of state agencies, health care workers and schools. The majority of the Abbott BinaxNOW tests – 55 percent – will go to K-12 schools and will be used for weekly screening of staff members. Staff members that are symptomatic will have priority for rapid testing at Arkansas Department of Health local health units.
The Department of Corrections will receive 20 percent of the tests. These tests will be prioritized for staff, visitors and residents whose jobs require public interaction. The DHS Human Development Centers will also receive 20 percent of the tests. Staff members at the centers in Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Jonesboro and Southeast will have priority.
Another five percent will be held in reserve for health care workers and “other populations as needed.”
“This is really an opportunity for us to have a quick response on positive tests, but also if its negative tests, they have assurance for that,” Hutchinson said.