44 AL nursing homes to receive rapid COVID-19 test machines

Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 9:21 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - 44 nursing homes in Alabama are set to receive point-of-care or rapid COVID-19 testing machines any day now.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will distribute machines to nursing homes in Jefferson, Lee, and Montgomery counties, which were deemed as areas of concern where the virus is spreading rapidly.

These machines can give results to a COVID-19 test in a matter of minutes, but they do have an error rate of about 12 to 20 percent.

"If somebody tests positive for COVID-19 with one of these machines, we can be very well assured that that person is positive. If somebody tests negative on this machine, we need to assume that this person could possibly be positive, and then order a PCR test for anyone who tests negative. Just to confirm if that individual is negative," said John Matson, spokesperson for Alabama Nursing Home Association.

This is just the first allotment of rapid testing machines.

Matson said other machines will be distributed in the future until every nursing home in the state has one.

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