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Palm Beach County school nurses begin training on rapid COVID-19 testing

Test can provide results within 15 minutes
Posted at 8:59 AM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 12:29:30-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Students have the day off from school Monday, but the learning continues for school nurses, who are expected to begin training today on how to administer the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test.

The test can provide results within 15 minutes and is designed for people who are experiencing symptoms.

While nurses begin their training, Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said details of the implementation and consent process are still being finalized. Contract negotiations are also being finalized so nurses can test employees as well.

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County's chief medical officer said while you can still get a false negative with the test, it can give pretty accurate results for people with symptoms.

Dr. Belma Andric says, "This test is really good for the first seven days of infection and that's the time we shed a lot of virus, so it makes sense," Dr. Belma Andric said. "Easy to pick up. There is no perfect test on the market. Both PCR and antigen test have pros and cons. This test is pretty solid with specificity if used appropriately."

Andric added, "This test is really good because it gives us rapid answer during the early infection and those are the kids presenting in the health room with symptoms."

She said so far, they have not seen any secondary transmission in the schools, meaning student to student. About half of the students who go to the nurse not feeling well end up being recommended for COVID-19 testing, she said.

The test is FDA approved.

As of Monday morning, the School District of Palm Beach County School COVID-19 dashboard showed 64 cases, including 31 students.