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Missouri to receive 100,000+ rapid coronavirus tests from federal government

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — More than 100,000 rapid COVID-19 tests are on the way to Missouri from the federal government, according to Gov. Mike Parson.

“We expect to receive 120,000 of these tests in Missouri by the end of this week, and nearly 2 million by the end of the year,” Parson said. 

President Trump pledged 250 million of these tests for states on Monday, encouraging them to focus on students in a bid to reopen schools. It is unclear, however, how many of the tests sent to Missouri will be earmarked for schools. 

The tests were developed by Abbott Laboratories and are part of a larger purchase by the federal government. The tests are about the size of a credit card, according to the company’s website, and can detect results within 13 minutes without use of specialty equipment. 

Additionally, Parson said the state purchased four additional testing machines to coordinate with the new saliva-based test developed at Washington University in St. Louis. Parson said the equipment would be distributed to the southwest, southeast, and central regions of the state in addition to Kansas City. 

“This is a very technical piece of equipment that will require proper infrastructure and trained personnel in order to operate,” he said. “We are having conversations as we speak to start the process to deploy this technology as quickly as possible.”

The test was approved by the FDA for use in August. Parson called it a “major development in COVID-19 testing technology” and said it would expand testing volumes and laboratory capacities.  

Parson said the state had recently reached a peak in its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, with more than 122,000 Missourians receiving tests the week of Sept. 14. 

Parson held Wednesday’s briefing virtually from the Governor’s Mansion, where he has remained in isolation after he and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 last week, taking only a few questions. Parson said he and the first lady are recovering well and plan to remain in isolation for the rest of the week. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.