SALEM, OR (KPTV) - Oregon will receive 60,000 to 80,000 new rapid COVID-19 tests per week from the federal government, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday.
The tests will continue weekly through the end of the year.
The Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests can diagnose cases of COVID-19 in 15 minutes.
“With this increased testing capacity, we hope to be able to diagnose more people quickly so they can get the care they need,” said Brown. “We want to identify more cases of COVID-19 so we can also isolate and quarantine people, helping contain the virus.
The new tests will be deployed statewide, with a focus first on counties and long-term care facilities that have been affected by wildfire evacuations, that have put vulnerable people and staff at higher risk for COVID-19.
The tests will also be deployed to outpatient and mobile COVID-19 testing locations, for symptomatic people and their close contacts, whether those contacts are showing symptoms.
Additionally, testing will also be prioritized for vulnerable communities, including:
- People from communities that have been hardest hit and most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, communities of color and tribal communities, and people living in congregate care settings.
- People living in places most vulnerable to COVID-19 spread, such as congregate care or living facilities, Department of Corrections facilities, and other community testing locations.
Tests also will be distributed to school-based health centers and other health care partners working with K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, to support the testing of symptomatic students and staff, close contacts of cases, and to investigate outbreaks.
The Oregon Health Authority will maintain a strategic reserve of tests to address outbreaks beyond December, in the event the federal government runs low on testing supplies.
Health experts have cautioned that antigen tests provide accurate positive results, but that they can produce false negatives for people with COVID-19, according to state officials.
OHA provided an update on COVID-19 in Oregon on Tuesday, reporting nine additional deaths and 301 new cases.
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