WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Rapid tests that can detect COVID-19 within 15 minutes will be rolled out in Palm Beach County schools in a matter of weeks, officials announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at a special school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test will be available in schools starting after the Thanksgiving break, which ends on Monday, Nov. 30.
"Our school nurses have been trained, the state has provided us with nearly 9,000 tests with the assurance that more tests are coming," Fennoy told school board members.
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The BinaxNOW test, which is FDA approved, will only be used to test students who have symptoms of COVID-19 and is more than 80% accurate, according to health officials. It's unclear if school district employees will be tested as well.
The test is administered via a nasal swab and the results come within 15 minutes, health officials said.
"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. Belma Andrić, the chief medical officer for the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, said at a school board meeting last month.
The test from Abbott Laboratories has been highly touted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
"We are very excited about this," Dr. Andrić said. "Our main role is to prevent transmission in the schools."
According to the latest numbers from the School District of Palm Beach County, 239 students and 201 school district employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since Sept. 16.
"Our campuses reflect what is occurring in our community," Dr. Fennoy said on Tuesday.