Alachua County is hoping to receive 15 COVID-19 rapid testing devices by mid to late October. But according to Assistant County Manager Tommy Crosby, there is a delay in the delivery of the machines which cost $5,000 each plus $40 per test.
Crosby said the County is having complications with the order because the machines are normally provided to hospitals.
The contracts for purchase are being reviewed, "and some of the language with their legal department," is being worked out, he said.
Crosby told the Board of County Commission at the Sept. 22 meeting that the company that sells the devices, Abbott Diagnostics, is reluctant to issue machines to the County because they are not a care facility.
The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to fast forward the distribution of some COVID-19 testing devices. Under the EUA, the FDA "may authorize the introduction of a medical product into interstate commerce when the product is intended for use during an actual or potential emergency."
Alachua County decided to purchase testing devices using CARES Act funds as the hurricane season began and schools were reopening.
The instruments with printers cost about $5,000 each, Crosby reported and, "The tests are the more expensive part, they cost approximately $40 each."
"If we can resolve the contract issues and get them ordered immediately, the soonest they would arrive is mid to late October," Crosby said. "We are diligently working to resolve the issues with the company."
County Commissioner Ken Cornell suggested that purchasing the machines for the Alachua County Florida Department of Health facility might expedite the order.
"It's not important if the County gets them," he said. "It could be FDOH."
Alachua County FDOH Administrator Paul Myers said he would try to help secure the devices. "We'll do what we can," he said. "These machines are in great demand, going to hospitals and long-term care facilities is a priority."
According to Myers, Alachua County has performed 163,390 COVID-19 tests as of Sept. 21st on 95,372 people and those tests have yielded 7,581 confirmed cases. The positivity rate for the 95,372 people tested is 7.95 percent.
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