2 million COVID-19 rapid tests coming to Massachusetts

Coronavirus Local Impact

This image provided by Abbott Laboratories shows the company’s BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 nasal swab test. After months of struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. is now capable of testing some 3 million people daily thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the testing boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results. (Abbott Laboratories via AP)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending more than 2 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to Massachusetts, according to the Trump administration, which said Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening efforts will be “significantly advanced” by the new tests.

The 2,070,000 Abbott BinaxNOW tests can diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as 15 minutes and “will be distributed at the discretion of Governor Charlie Baker to support testing K-12 students, teachers, nursing home patients and staff, higher education, critical infrastructure, first responders, and other priorities as he deems fit,” according to a press release.

Federal officials said the state has indicated plans to use the BinaxNOW tests “to support K-12 schools” and that the state Department of Public Health “is also working to conduct side-by-side testing utilizing a PCR assay and BinaxNOW tests to help inform their future deployment of tests.”

The Trump administration has previously shipped more than 167,000 rapid tests to congregate care settings, like nursing homes and assisted living residences, in Massachusetts, the release said.

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