Palm Beach County students with symptoms to receive rapid COVID-19 test

BinaxNOW test can produce results within 15 minutes, health officials say
Posted at 4:09 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 18:02:14-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — With more students returning to classrooms, thousands of rapid COVID-19 testing kits are heading to schools in Palm Beach County.

Starting next week school nurses will begin training and learning how to administer the BinaxNOW test to students on school campuses..

"Just a few swirls in one nostril. It does not have to go very deep like in the beginning of the pandemic," said Dr. Belma Andrić, the chief medical officer for the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, at a school board meeting on Wednesday.

Thousands of BinaxNOW testing kits are on the way, promising results in a matter of 15 minutes.

Experts said the rapid tests can't stop transmission completely, but they are the way of the future.

"What this test is going to do is make it easier to get updated information about someone if they're recently positive or not," said Dr. Moti Ramgopal, an infectious disease specialist at the Midway Immunology and Research Center in Fort Pierce.

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County said the school nurses will only test children with symptoms, and the kits are FDA approved.

Dr. Ramgopal admits you could still receive a false negative.

"It will give us more information about where we stand with each person or individual compared to the more time consuming PCR testing," Dr. Ramgopal said.

Being able to identify who is sick will also determine who will need to quarantine from the classroom.

"This test is good because it gives us rapid answer during early infection, and those are the kids that present in the health room with the symptoms," Dr, Andrić said.

The health care district said kits will eventually be given to, not only public schools, but charter and private schools as well.

A contract is currently in the works to allow staff members in the School District of Palm Beach County to be screened using the BinaxNOW test as well.