Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) testing czar and assistant secretary for health, Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D., appeared on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Friday to discuss the rapid response COVID-19 test, saying it’s availability to the country is weeks away.
“We only have about 50,000 of those tests that could be done per day. So right now, we don’t want you being healthy and not sick to get this kind of test,” Giroir explained. “It really is a precious resource that we really want to use for the most important groups of our patients, like someone in the hospital that we need to make a treatment decision or let’s say in a nursing home, if there’s someone sick in a nursing home or exposed.”
Trump announced the new rapid test kit from Abbott Laboratories earlier this week, days after the company said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given them emergency clearance to produce the cartridge-based test. The company says the test delivers a negative result in 13 minutes when the virus is not detected.
MacCallum asked Giroir when the test would become available.
“So you’re saying very soon,” MacCallum said. “So that’s within a matter of weeks, if I understand you correctly.”
“That is correct,” Giroir said.
The host also asked Giroir how people would get the tests, and whether it would be through their doctors.
“We’re working on those concepts right now. But you can bet that there’s going to be many public options. Just think of going to your pharmacy for your immunization. You’re not sick. You can go in and have time with your pharmacist. You can get it at any doctor’s offices, any public health [sic],” Giroir said. “They’ll be sort of mass screening programs. So this is really a whole different situation than dealing with sick people with PPE [personal protective equipment]. This is a whole different ball of wax. And you will see this rolled out in a very effective, widespread manner.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.