Arizona to receive 2M rapid COVID-19 tests for students, vulnerable populations

Rapid COVID-19 tests are on their way to Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey announced on Sept. 29.

He says the state will receive more than 2 million tests that will produce results in 15 minutes. President Donald Trump announced the distribution with the hopes to open schools back up.

The tests will be prioritized for K-12 schools and congregate care facilities, including long-term care facilities.

"Knowing that we are getting this testing and the governor has made it a priority, many families are going to be thrilled with this," said Dana Marie Kennedy, state director of AARP.

She says this is big news for them because many of the deaths from COVID-19 have been at long-term care facilities.

The Task Force on Long Term Care has already met and is planning on how to prioritize who gets the tests and when they will use them.

The task force will be reaching out to facilities in the state about how many tests they will need and divide them up that way.

Ducey says the tests will be here in the next few days.

David Voepel, CEO at Arizona Health Care Association says the Abbott Laboratories tests are much easier than prior tests, for several reasons including them being rapid, but also their accuracy.

"With these newer tests granted, the reaction is good and it's cheaper but it's still dependent upon, are you reaching the virus? Are you being accurate enough to make sure the test is accurate? Day three or four, it is extremely accurate. After showing signs and symptoms, they say it's 95% to 97% accurate. I don't know what it is before that, I haven't seen any numbers on that," he explained.

In a statement to FOX 10, the Arizona Department of Health Services says in part, "ADHS has been notified that 142,000 BinaxNOW antigen tests will arrive this week. We are working to get these out as quickly as possible. County health departments, as the experts on local conditions, will determine which schools and congregate settings should be prioritized. They may prioritize schools and facilities in areas that have higher rates or percent positivity, facilities with current outbreaks, or other identified areas of need."