Missouri to get rapid COVID-19 tests for long term care centers and schools

Coronavirus

The federal government plans to deliver more than 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests around the country. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) spokesperson Mallory McGowin says long term care centers and higher education and K-12 schools will be at the top of the priority list. She expects the tests to come to Missouri in waves later this fall.

During Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting, McGowin said the tests are not as uncomfortable as other nasal swab versions and they give results in about 15 minutes.

“Being able to test a symptomatic member of your school staff to know if he or she could come into work that morning or not, could be really valuable to address the workforce issue we’ve heard great concern about,” she said.

Missouri has had ongoing problems with keeping teachers around and the shortage is expected to be even greater during the pandemic.

The breakdown of how many tests Missouri will get and when the state will have them available for use is in the planning stages.

“We are working with the statewide COVID response team to develop the plans and guidance, etc. for this new line of effort. Just trying to really advocate for realistic use of our existing time and resources to make that happen at the school level,” McGowin says.

The BinaxNOW antigen tests detect proteins on the surface of the virus.

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