Florida A&M University (FAMU) this week received 175 boxes with about 7,000 test kits as part of a White House initiative to assist historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) to combat COVID-19.
The University is discussing setting up an on-campus location to conduct testing for students, faculty and staff.
The Trump administration awarded a $760 million contract to Abbott labs for the delivery of for delivery of 150 million rapid, Abbott Binax NOW COVID-19 Antigen Card Point of Care SARS-CoV-2 tests to expand testing across the country, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“Florida A&M University is committed to being an integral part of our statewide, regional and local community response to COVID-19. We’ve hosted a community testing site on campus since April and have benefitted greatly from having a free, walk-up COVID-19 testing site at Bragg Memorial Stadium,” said Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services and FAMU COVID-19 incident response commander.
More than 47,000 people have been tested at the Bragg Stadium site. Results are provided in about 48 hours. The free, no referral required walk up site is operated in partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Florida Department of Health and the Leon County Health Department.
As part of the University’s re-opening plan, more than 1300 students are residing in campus housing. Most classes are being taught online or by remote instruction. A majority of the staff works remotely and part time on campus. Faculty, staff and students are asked to conduct a self-check for COVID-19 symptoms before they come to campus or attend classes.
The BinaxNOW test is simple to use, does not require an instrument, has results in 15 minutes and costs only $5 per test, a Trump administration official told USA Today.
The donation of rapid testing kits gives the University another tool in the battle against the pandemic, Tatum said.
“Our recent acceptance of rapid COVID-19 antigen test kits from the White House Initiative on HBCU’s provides us with an opportunity to improve the level of service we provide to students, faculty and staff and will be an important asset in combating the spread of the virus,” Tatum said.
An administration spokeswoman said more than 350,000 Binax Now tests were delivered to HBCUs in order to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk communities, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.