Within the next five to 10 days the Washington State Department of Health will receive and distribute the first batch of Abbott BinaxNOW antigen test kits for COVID-19 from the federal government. These are rapid tests that can return results in as little as 15 minutes. The first batch will include 149,000 kits, and the state anticipates receiving nearly 2.3 million total tests between now and December, the health department said.
These rapid tests work best for and are approved for people with symptoms. This first batch will be distributed to community health centers, tribal clinics and critical access hospitals to increase access to COVID-19 testing in the communities they serve across the state. A plan for distribution of future shipments is in development.
“Interpreting the results of antigen tests can be complex,” said Dr. Charissa Fotinos, the state’s testing leader and deputy director of HCA. “Based on what we know now, the state is deploying the first shipment of BinaxNOW tests for use in symptomatic people and possibly those exposed to confirmed cases.”
The first distribution of 149,000 kits, along with the benefit of rapid results, will increase access to diagnostic testing for Washingtonians, and particularly for priority populations. That will help individuals with symptoms get quicker results and assist all of us in tracking the virus and stopping additional transmission and illness.
The federal government is in the process of distributing millions of BinaxNOW tests to the states.
Details about distribution of future shipments will be available soon.