ACROSS FLORIDA — This week, Florida received more than 420,000 of the newly approved, portable Abbott BinaxNow 15-minute rapid tests and expect six million more by the end of the year.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also shipping the BinaxNow rapid tests directly to more than 800 long-term care facilities throughout the state.
In late August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Illinois-based Abbott's BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test for detection of coronavirus.
Not only are test results available in 15 minutes, enabling health personnel to reduce risks by quickly identifying infectious people, but the test is inexpensive ($5) and portable, about the size of a credit card.
In conjunction with the test, Abbott also launched a complementary mobile app for iPhone and Android devices called NAVICA that allows people who test negative to display a temporary digital health pass that is renewed each time a person is tested through his or her healthcare provider.
"The massive scale of this test and app will allow tens of millions of people to have access to rapid and reliable testing," said Joseph Petrosino, professor and chairman of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. "With lab-based tests, you get excellent sensitivity but might have to wait days or longer to get the results. With a rapid antigen test, you get a result right away, getting infectious people off the streets and into quarantine, so they don't spread the virus."
"This type of rapid test will be an incredibly helpful resource, especially for our older population and students," DeSantis said. "I’ve directed FDEM (Florida Division of Emergency Management) to begin distributing our state allocation as quickly as possible."
There was more good news on the coronavirus front in Florida Friday. Data reported to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration showed that the number of positive patients that are currently hospitalized is down more than 70 percent since July.
As posted on the Agency for Health Care Administration’s hospitalization dashboard Friday, there are 2,039 current hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of the coronavirus.
Thursday’s statewide positivity rate for new cases was 3.77 percent.
Thursday was the 50th straight day below 10 percent positivity of new cases in Florida.
As of Friday, 711,804 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida.
The Florida Department of Health reported a steady decline in the number of reported Florida resident deaths who were previously diagnosed with the coronavirus. The second week of August compared to the second week of September showed a 74 percent decrease in the average number of reported coronavirus-related deaths.
A graphic provided by the DOH shows the number of coronavirus deaths in Florida beween Sept. 1 and Oct. 1.