AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending 8,730,000 state-of-the-art Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point-of-care antigen tests to the State of Texas.

The rapid point of care tests, which can diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as 15 minutes, will be distributed at the discretion of Governor Greg Abbott to support testing K-12 students, teachers, nursing home patients and staff, higher education, critical infrastructure, first responders, and other priorities as he deems fit.

The DHS said the Trump Administration has shipped more than 1,127,000 COVID-19 rapid tests directly to congregate care settings such as Texas nursing homes, assisted living facilities and to historically black colleges and universities in the state.

As of October 26 more than 3,276,000 BinaxNOW tests have been shipped to Texas.

(credit: Abbott)

“To facilitate the continued re-opening of Texas schools, businesses and economy, the Trump Administration has prioritized scaling up the state’s point of care testing capacity by making this $760 million national investment in BinaxNOW tests,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, MD. “Distributing these rapid tests directly to states is consistent with the Trump Administration’s successful, ongoing approach of testing the right person, with the right test at the right time, is working and the effort will continue until the pandemic is under control.”

Giroir pointed out that testing does not substitute for avoiding crowded indoor spaces, washing one’s hands, or wearing a mask when not able to physically distance.

“Combining personal responsibility with smart testing is a foundational pillar of the Administration’s national testing strategy,” he said.

DHS said the federal government purchased Abbott BinaxNOW diagnostic tests on August 27, 2020, to ensure equitable distribution of the first 150 million units – one day after an Emergency Use Authorization was issued by the Food and Drug Administration) – to ensure they would be expeditiously distributed to vulnerable populations as quickly as possible.

Now that initial distribution of these tests to all 50 states and the District of Columbia is well underway, it ensures the nation’s governors will not have to compete for the initial BinaxNOW shipments, or waste precious time to set up individual purchasing contracts with the manufacturer, the DHS said in a news release.