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TALLAHASSEE, FL — The State of Florida this week announced it is offering up hundreds of thousands of rapid tests for the coronavirus to senior living facilities, schools and state testing sites. The tests are said to return results in 15 minutes or less.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said the state will distribute some 400,000 BinaxNOW tests this week alone. The federal government has already provided the tests to about 800 nursing homes in Florida, and the state will provide tests to the remaining 3,200 facilities, he said.
All told, about 100,000 tests will go to long term care facilities, and another 180,000 will go to senior living communities.
Another 60,000 BinaxNOW tests will be provided to schools across the state. DeSantis said schools that utilize rapid testing will be able to avoid making students isolate unnecessarily.
"If a student is either sent to school sick or becomes sick in school, you take the student out and isolate them," the governor said. "But then, if you can get a 15 minute test and you get the negative, then you don’t have to worry about isolating some of these other students."
DeSantis said remaining tests will be distributed to coronavirus testing sites across the state so every state-run testing site is able to offer rapid results.
The governor said senior communities that are not already scheduled to receive BinaxNOW tests can apply to receive the tests by emailing email@example.com.
The tests, he said, can be used for residents, staff and visitors.
"They’ll have the ability to do [testing] as they see fit," he said. 'Using this new technology in a way that is protecting our most vulnerable and saving lives is really the key."