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Thousands of new rapid tests coming to state-supported COVID-19 screening sites

Rapid tests offer results in 15 minutes
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Posted at 5:16 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 08:55:09-04

TAMPA, Fla. — If you need to be screened for COVID-19, there is a good chance you will be receiving a rapid test at state-supported testing sites.

This is designed to provide more options for testing and curb wait times for results. Here in Florida, we've seen people wait anywhere from two days to two weeks for COVID-19 test results at state-supported sites.

But now, Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced that the Florida Department of Emergency Management will be receiving 400,000 Abbott BinaxNow 15-minute rapid tests. These are coming from the Department of Health and Human Services.

You can expect more than six million of these rapid tests in Florida's state-supported sites by the end of the year, according to the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

This comes as leading doctors with Baycare are encouraging people to get tested at sites like these, or with a medical provider who has vetted the kind of COVID-19 test they're using.

Dr. Nishant Anand, who is the Chief Medical Officer of BayCare, said it can be confusing with all of the testing options before you, including nasal swabs, self swabs, saliva tests, and tests you can do at home.

He offers this insight about choosing a test.

"If it's done by a reputable company that has a proven track record of having reliable tests, I feel more comfortable," Anand said. "If you don't know the name, or it's a relatively new company, I would just ask a couple more questions or ask to speak provider."

Baycare recommends you look for a COVID-19 test with an accuracy rate greater than 95%, which is what they and other leading hospital groups use.