Nevada reverses block on rapid COVID-19 tests in nursing homes

In response to an order from the Trump administration, Nevada has reversed an order blocking nursing homes from using federally provided rapid COVID-19 antigen tests, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

Nevada nursing homes were ordered by the state to stop using Quidel or Becton, Dickinson and Co. rapid tests Oct. 2 due to concerns about false-positive results.  

In an Oct. 8 letter to state officials, Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, HHS assistant secretary for health, said the Nevada ban was "inconsistent with and preempted by federal law and, as such, must cease immediately or appropriate action will be taken against those involved."  

Dr. Giroir defended the federally supplied tests on an Oct. 9 call with reporters, saying the false-positive rate was low and the issue could be managed by using proper procedures to confirm results.    

"We are very disappointed by the letter received today from U.S. HHS Giroir, as our goal remains united in protecting those most vulnerable in our communities," said Ihsan Azzam, MD, PhD, Nevada's CMO. "We too want more testing with rapid turnaround in Nevada, but the results of those tests must be accurate as they affect clinical care."

"We are not saying the tests have no use, we are just saying pause for further review and additional training," Dr. Azzam said. The department released an Oct. 9 bulletin recommending homes continue to perform follow-up lab-based molecular tests for all results. 


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