The federal government has delivered about 7.3 million Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests to nursing homes across the country, a top health official announced Monday. Supply “far exceeds demands from nursing homes,” he added.
The Trump administration began distributing point-of-care testing devices to nursing homes last month after announcing it purchased 150 million of those tests to be delivered across the country.
In all, 36.7 million tests of those 150 million purchased, have been delivered, according to Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health for the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2.4 million tests have also been delivered to assisted living facilities.
Giroir also stressed the need for “smart policies plus smart smart testing” as coronavirus cases begin to rise across the country, including in nursing homes. Those smart policies include wearing a face mask, social distancing and practicing good hygiene.
“It is critical that we protect the vulnerable, like those in nursing homes, and we are doing that pretty well by widespread testing of their staff, assuring [personal protective equipment] and training and deploying strike teams to all homes that are having outbreaks,” Giroir said during a call with reporters.
The BinaxNOW tests are in addition to the devices from Quidel and Becton Dickson that nursing homes received as part of the federal point-of-care testing program announced in July. The federal government completed the first round of shipments to nursing homes in early September.
Giroir on Monday added that the test “orders from nursing homes, which are in the millions, are easily being fulfilled” by the companies.
“We are working right now with the [Department of Defense], as well as distributors, and should have within just a couple of weeks the ability to track every single order from every single nursing home and understand when and how they’re being fulfilled,” he said.
But as of right, he said “the supply far exceeds the demand from nursing homes, so we feel very good about that.”