LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the rollout of Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card rapid tests in Arkansas to provide further COVID-19 testing options for critical infrastructures in the state.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in September that the Trump administration had secured around 150 million of the tests to help support Governors' efforts to reopen states. The tests are touted as easy to use and can provide test results in 15 minutes, costing only $5.
Arkansas has received 100,000 of the rapid antigen tests and will receive about 50,000 more each week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a news conference Wednesday (Oct. 14).
“This is a new world for us that will give us new benefits,” Governor Hutchinson said. “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.
The tests will be available through the Arkansas Department of Health's local health offices.
Arkansas will receive 900,000 rapid tests from the federal government, Asa said.
The following groups will have priority for the new rapid testing:
- Staff of Department of Corrections: Visitors and residents whose jobs require them to interact with the public - 20 percent of tests
- DHS Human Development Centers: Staff at Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Jonesboro and Southeast - 20 percent 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 percent of tests
- Health care workers: Tests held in reserve for health care workers and other populations as needed - 5 percent of tests
- Election workers will have a priority at local health department offices for rapid tests
Arkansas reported 1,079 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The first flu report for the season was also released by the Arkansas Department of Health.