The White House plans to send more than 2 million rapid COVID-19 tests to Tennessee between now and the end of the year. And the first shipment of about 130,000 tests is expected as soon as next week.
Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey says the tests are much cheaper than the ones in use right now and can provide results in 13 to 15 minutes.
“It’s a card, and it comes with a swab. And the swab, fortunately, is in the front of the nose,” she says. “It’s the nasal swab, not the nasopharyngeal swab that has to go pretty far up. So, another differentiator is that it’s going to be well tolerated.”
Piercey says the tests can be conducted without any special equipment and don’t require much training. They’ll operate much like a home pregnancy test, she says, revealing one line or two lines to denote a positive or negative result.
The health commissioner says the results are also more reliable for symptomatic patients than any other test on the market.
“If you have symptoms and you get this test, you’re 97% likely to have a true positive,” Piercey says, adding that more data is needed for asymptomatic people.
The state is working on distribution protocols this week. But the plan for now is to prioritize schools and long-term care facilities.