Three rural hospitals in Oregon will get COVID-19 rapid testing instruments, Gov. Kate Brown announced on Wednesday.
The first hospitals to receive the Abbott ID NOW machines are Curry General Hospital in Curry County, Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Morrow County, and Lake District Hospital in Lake County.
The point-of-care COVID-19 testing machines are capable of returning positive or negative test results in minutes. The three hospitals will begin validation testing this week, and rapid testing will not be immediately available to the public, Brown said in a release.
“Expanding rapid testing in Oregon is key to ensuring we have the capacity to track and contain new cases, keep Oregonians healthy and safe, and prevent future outbreaks,” Brown said. “Rather than taking hours or days to return a test result, these instruments are capable of returning positive or negative test results in minutes. This capability is especially crucial in our more remote communities, where rapid testing will help minimize the amount of travel needed for trips to the doctor’s office.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent Oregon 15 testing machines, the same number being sent to all other states, along with a small supply of testing kits and materials.
“I want to be very clear: the number of testing kits we have received from the federal government for these new machines does not even come close to approaching the need we have in Oregon right now,” Brown said. “I am committed to working with our federal partners to secure additional test kits as Abbott and other companies ramp up their production capacity.”
Although Oregon received 15 Abbott ID NOW instruments, the federal government shipped five boxes of testing kits with the machines, with 24 tests in each box.
Until more Abbott test kits are secured, the additional rapid testing machines cannot be distributed to priority areas.
With limited supplies, OHA will distribute Abbott ID NOW resources based on the following criteria:
- Areas of the state with no access to COVID-19 testing.
- Areas of the state with a limited number of first responders.
- Areas of the state where courier services for the state public health lab and commercial labs are limited or unavailable.
- Areas with a high population of older adults and other at-risk groups.
- Areas where hospitals or clinics do not already have access to an Abbott ID NOW instrument.