Several DMV-area hospitals and health centers are now offering a test for COVID-19 that can reveal results in minutes, WAMU reported Wednesday.
The Abbot ID NOW test, which will be used in 14 urgent care centers and three testing tents throughout D.C. and Baltimore, can deliver positive test results in five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, WAMU reported. Jennifer Smith, the director of the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences, said at a press conference Monday that the federal government provided D.C. with 16 Abbot testing machines and about 1,000 test kits.
“They can be put into a clinic,” Smith said at the press conference. “They don’t require a lot of bench space. They could be put into a mobile laboratory too.”
She said Cepheid GeneXpert, a medical company, also provided the District with “hundreds” of testing kits that can deliver results in about 45 minutes.
The Virginia Hospital Center announced in a press release Friday that it would be using the Abbot tests.
Tracy Connell, a spokeswoman for Inova hospitals in Virginia, told WAMU that many hospitals have the Abbot tests but lack enough testing kits.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said his health department has collaborated with the state’s hospitals to create a testing system that could deliver results in about 10 hours, but developing a more rapid testing system is key to re-opening the state’s economy, according to WAMU.
“We’re not where we need to be as of today, but each day that gets better,” Northam said. “To be able to have a turnaround time of 15 to 30 minutes, that’s really where we need to be, and we’ll need that information as we make these decisions to ease the restrictions.”