Tennessee schools to receive rapid test kits for COVID-19

Posted at 7:32 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 09:44:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Tennessee schools will soon receive thousands of rapid test kits to test for COVID-19.

The federal government is sending Tennessee 133,000 tests made by Abbott Laboratories. Governor Bill Lee says the state will get its first shipment next week. He's hopeful the rapid tests will help schools open and keep them up and running.

Lee made the announcement Tuesday during his weekly COVID-19 update.

State health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the tests can turn around results in 13 to 15 minutes rather than several days.

“That's not only getting schools that are currently closed or all virtual reopened back in person, but also keeping those schools that are open… keeping the students in the classroom whenever possible,” Piercey said Tuesday.

She says they are easy to use and can be administered and evaluated at the same site – it involves swabbing the front of the nostril, not deep inside. The swab is than placed on a card, where a chemical reaction determines a positive or negative result.

The state will work for the rest of the week on a distribution plan.

Some rapid tests will also be sent to nursing homes. The governor expects the same shipment of 133,000 will continue on a weekly basis on a per capita distribution through the end of the year, for a total of 2 million tests for Tennessee.