The state Department of Health has distributed 12 Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid test instruments to the counties, the DOH announced Friday.
The rapid coronavirus tests can produce results within 15 minutes when conducted in a certified laboratory, the DOH said.
“Having this capability to test a critically ill patient within 15 minutes is a great tool in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, DOH’s State Laboratories Division administrator. “It helps us detect the virus quickly and respond much faster to help the patient and inform staff to ensure safety measures are in place.”
Six instruments have been sent to county medical systems. Two each went to DOH District Health Office laboratories on the Big Island, Kauai and Maui, and six instruments went to clinical laboratories and health systems on Oahu.
Distribution for Oahu laboratories was based on health care and laboratory systems with the highest demand capacity throughout the state.
For neighbor islands, these instruments enabled testing on-island for the first time, according to the DOH.
Test kits, used with each instrument, can test up to 24 samples. Additional supplies of rapid test kits are expected to arrive next week.
In Maui County, the Abbott test was conducted on a hospitalized patient who tested negative and was subsequently transferred into hospice care. The equipment helped to confirm that the patient could be transferred safely to another health care facility.
The Abbott instruments were provided at no cost to the state thanks to federal funding.
The Food and Drug Administration specifies that use of the rapid testing equipment be conducted on symptomatic patients. Requesting physicians will utilize the test kits based on priority symptoms and factors.