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Trump Administration sending over 3.5 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to Ohio

Posted at 6:05 PM, Oct 26, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Trump Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending 3,520,000 rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 to the State of Ohio, which Gov. Mike DeWine will distribute to support testing K-12 students, teachers, nursing home patients and staff, higher education, critical infrastructure, first responders and other priority areas.

The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point of care antigen tests can diagnose coronavirus infections in as little as 15 minutes, according to a news release from the HHS. As of October 26, over 1.2 million BinaxNOW tests have already been shipped to Ohio, including 543,000 tests sent directly to congregate care settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and historically Black colleges and universities, and another 175,000 to institutions of higher education for testing of asymptomatic individuals.

RELATED: Antigen testing headed to universities, nursing homes in Ohio

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

This HHS announcement comes a day after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadowstold CNN’s Jake Tapper: "We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas.”

The influx of tests is also happening as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country and in Ohio, with the state reporting its 200,000th case of the virus Monday, multiple days of record-setting daily cases and a rising rate of positive tests, now at an average of 5.5% over the last week.

RELATED: Ohio surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 cases

Testing is not a substitute for avoiding crowded indoor spaces, washing hands or wearing a mask when unable to physically distance, said Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, MD.

“Combining personal responsibility with smart testing is a foundational pillar of the Administration’s national testing strategy,” Giroir said.