Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was joined by members of his cabinet to update citizens on the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday.
Listen to the address in full here:
Governor Hutchinson announces plan for Abbott BinaxNOW rapid test distribution
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas has received 100,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests and will receive about 50,000 more each week, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at a news conference Wednesday.
“This is a new world for us that will give us new benefits,” Governor Hutchinson says. “This testing will give us a quick response on positive tests, but also offer quick assurance for negative results. We will utilize it in schools, health care settings, human development centers, and with Department of Corrections staff. Health care workers will always have priority.
“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.”
The state has 100,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests on hand with approximately 50,000 more expected each week. BD Veritor antigen tests are available through ADH local health offices. The BinaxNOW rapid tests are being distributed as part of the over 900,000 rapid tests Arkansas will receive from the federal government.
Health care workers are top priority for PCR testing. Antigen tests will be used for health care workers as needed. Election workers will have a priority at local health department offices for rapid tests. The other priorities are:
Staff of Department of Correction: Visitors and residents whose jobs require them to interact with the public – 20% of tests
DHS Human Development centers: Staff at Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Jonesboro and Southeast – 20% of tests
K-12 schools: Used for weekly screening of staff. Symptomatic staff will continue to have priority for rapid testing at ADH local office – 55% of tests
Health care workers: Tests held in reserve for health care workers and other populations as needed – 5% of tests
All participants will file reports on antigen tests electronically with the Arkansas Department of Health.