3 Locations in Manatee and Sarasota Have the FREE Rapid Test for COVID-19
Sarasota - Robert L. Taylor Community Complex - 1845 34th St, Sarasota, FL 34234
Sarasota - Fruitville and Cattleman - 100 Cattlemen Road.in Sarasota
Palmetto - Bradenton Area Convention Center - 1 Haben Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221
These 3 State of Florida testing sites began using rapid tests in October, delivered to the sites “on a rolling basis” as the Florida Division of Emergency Management receives tests allocated from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Samantha Bequer, press secretary for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
“These rapid tests are another tool in Florida’s COVID-19 response to ensure that Floridians have every resource they need to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in their communities and the Division looks forward to ensuring this option remains available to all individuals interested in receiving a rapid test,” Bequer wrote in an email.
State-supported testing sites across Florida are seeing an increase in the number of people getting tested for COVID-19 as a result of the rapid tests, Bequer said.
HHS is supplying the state with Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNOW Ag Card tests (“Ag” is short for “antigen”). President Donald Trump’s administration announced in August a $760 million contract with Illinois-based Abbott for the distribution of 150 million of these rapid tests.
Results from the nasal-swab tests are sent by text message and email and reduce the wait time for results compared to PCR tests, which are sent to labs for processing and take about two to three days. Bequer said the rapid test results are typically available in one hour or, by the latest, at the end of the day.
But those test results often arrive even more quickly – within 15 minutes. The tests, which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, do not need any equipment and use a test card to process the results.
If the sites run out of rapid tests, Bequer said they will switch to offering only PCR tests.
The Abbott Laboratories, theBinaxNOW tests detect proteins, called antigens, during active infections, which is when someone is likely to be shedding the virus. The test is read as positive or negative visually, and the swab for the rapid test does not need to be inserted as far into the nose as in PCR tests. A company spokeswoman said the test “has high performance with sensitivity in the mid-90s.
Health Officials though do caution.... that a negative test could give a false sense of security.
A negative test today…. does not mean that a person will be negative tomorrow or the day after that.
A negative test does not rule out the need for other precautions, such as quarantining, wearing a mask or social distancing, because antigen tests can be “more prone to missing the virus when it’s scarce,” which may be the case in the initial days after an exposure.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Interim Guidance for Rapid Antigen Testing for SARS-CoV-2 website says the “sensitivity of rapid antigen tests is generally lower” than PCR tests and that PCR tests remain the “gold standard” for testing because they are more sensitive tests.
Antigen levels in specimens collected beyond 5-7 days of the onset of symptoms may drop below the limit of detection of the test. This may result in a negative test result, while a more sensitive test, such as RT-PCR, may return a positive result,” the CDC’s guidance website for antigen testing says.
Testing at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex runs from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or until capacity is reached seven days a week.
At the drive-thru site on Cattlemen Road, testing goes from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week.
The Bradenton Area Convention Center offers testing from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. seven days a week.
The rapid tests are available to anyone, regardless of age or symptoms.