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On Thursday, the city of Detroit began testing its first responders, bus drivers and healthcare workers for COVID-19, using new rapid test kits that produce results in about 15 minutes.
Detroit is the first city in the country to start using kits from Abbott, a global healthcare company based in Lake County, Illinois, said Mayor Mike Duggan.
The innovative test kits will allow quarantined police and other first responders who test negative to return to work more quickly. Otherwise, they would have been in quarantine for days waiting for the test results.
“This is the game change we have been waiting for,” Duggan said Thursday in his daily press briefing.
The city spent $ 377,049 on Abbott test kits, instruments, control pads and barcode readers, according to the city’s March 29 purchase order. The purchase order did not specify the quantities for the equipment, but a spokesperson for Duggan said the city had purchased 5,000 kits.
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The rapid test kits are part of Detroit’s massive test effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Metro Detroit is one of the most affected regions in the country. On Thursday, the city had 2,860 positive cases and 97 deaths. Hundreds of police were quarantined and 91 members of the department, as of Wednesday, were positive.
Abbott specializes in diagnostics and medical devices. On March 27, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Abbott’s ID NOW platform to detect COVID-19. The appliances are the size of a toaster.
Duggan spokesman John Roach said he did not yet know if the city planned to buy faster-to-use test kits for residents.
The equipment is useful in the hot spots of the epidemic, said Robert Ford, president and chief operating officer of Abbott, in a statement issued after FDA approval.
“With rapid tests on ID NOW, healthcare providers can perform molecular point-of-care testing outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in epidemic hotspots,” said Ford.
A spokesperson for the company on Thursday confirmed that the rapid test equipment had been shipped to Detroit.
Detroit continues to offer driving tests to residents and others who have a medical prescription at the State Fairgrounds site near 8 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. On Wednesday, around 600 people were tested. Duggan said daily tests could reach 1,000 residents.
The city is in talks with local transportation to arrange trips for Detroiters who do not have a car. An agreement could be reached on Friday, said Duggan.
“We will continue until everyone in this city has equal access to the tests,” he said.
The city’s coronavirus website has more information on how to get tested and find a doctor to accept new patients, with or without insurance.
Contact Joe Guillen: [email protected]
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