Trump health official blasts Nevada after state ends use of rapid tests in nursing homes

Trump health official blasts Nevada after state ends use of rapid tests in nursing homes

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ADM Brett P. Giroir testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 23, 2020.

Kevin Dietsch | Pool via Reuters

A top official from the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday urged Nevada to reverse its decision to suspend the use of two rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes, saying there is no “scientific reason” to justify its action with reporters.

“Nevada’s letter unilaterally prohibiting these tests is in violation of HHS’s PREP Act guidance. Under federal law, Nevada may not prohibit or effectively prohibit such testing.”

He said Nevada’s action “reflects a basic lack of knowledge” about testing and interpreting results. “Not just Covid testing but clinical testing in general,” he continued.

“The science is on the administration’s side and the administration is on the side of science,” he said.

Giroir wouldn’t say what action the federal government was prepared to take, only saying the government has “a number of enforcement mechanisms” at its discretion. He urged nursing homes to continue to use the tests, saying “there is no scientific reason to not comply with this.”

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Giroir’s remarks. 

Quidel and BD’s tests can provide results in as little as 15 minutes.

The Trump administration is requiring nursing homes to routinely tests residents and staff in an attempt to detect new Covid-19 cases more quickly. The coronavirus has hit nursing homes in the U.S. especially hard, and the administration has shipped thousands of tests across the nation. 

The FDA said it had received 302 “adverse event” reports as of Sept. 30, including numerous accounts of false negative, according to Reuters.

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