Missouri’s coronavirus rapid testing program is back. The state Department of Health and Senior Services suspended the program indefinitely back in early January because of a nationwide shortage of tests and issues with receiving tests from a distributor called Abbott.
The state still cannot get Abbott BinaxNOW tests. Missouri has instead found two distributors it says has an adequate supply of ACON Flow Flex rapid antigen tests.
The rapid tests are used in schools, the state’s seven veterans homes, mental health sites, and long-term care centers, for instance.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says schools must re-apply to participate in the program, and complete other requirements. When the state had to temporarily pull the plug on the program, DESE spokesperson Mallory McGowin said the tests have often meant the difference between a staff member working or not on a given day.
“It’s obviously a really difficult position for us to be in. These have been an incredibly valuable resource for schools across our state. The ability to in just 15 minutes, tell if a staff member’s runny nose is COVID or allergies or a cold is the difference between that staff member being able to teach their classes that day or not,” she said.
COVID-19 cases continue to decline statewide. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported more than 3,600 cases Tuesday.
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