Detroit approved for breakthrough, instant coronavirus test kits

The city of Detroit is getting breakthrough, instant COVID-19 testing kits to be used for first responders and health workers, Mayor Mike Duggan announced Monday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval for medical-device maker Abbott Laboratories to produce testing kits that can issue coronavirus results in as little as five minutes. The tests are sensitive enough to detect the virus before someone experiences symptoms - almost instantly after exposure.

Duggan said a limited number of communities would get these kits, but he managed to get ahold of the CEO on Sunday morning and by that afternoon, they worked out a contract.

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In the next week, Detroit will be issued five testing machines and 5,000 testing samples that will be up and running within a week, Duggan said. The city plans to roll out 250 tests a day. The tests will be used for health workers, first responders and also the city's bus drivers.

 “They will be providing kits to hospitals in southeastern Michigan,” Duggan said.

A number of hospitals already have Abbott testing machines for the flu, and those kits will be switched out for the COVID-19 testing kits. These will be used to test health care workers. Duggan said between 5,000-10,000 workers are quarantined in southeast Michigan. The area needs those workers.

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“It’s going to make the hospitals, police departments, and fire departments in this country far stronger in fighting the virus,” Duggan said.

According to Abbott laboratories, the tests can give positive results in about five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. The tests are mobile and can be used outside the hospital -- they’re about the size of a toaster.

The company says they are ramping up production to deliver 50,000 tests per day beginning next week.