Carson City October 09, 2020
Today, officials from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued the following statement in response to a letter received from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. HHS) regarding a technical bulletin related to the discontinuation of antigen testing in Nevada’s skilled nursing homes.
“We are very disappointed by the letter received today from U.S. HHS Dr. Girior, as our goals remain united in protecting those most vulnerable in our communities from COVID-19,” said Dr. Ihsan Azzam, Nevada’s Chief Medical Officer. “If this laboratory data discrepancy had been reported to Dr. Girior, we would hope he would have taken the same action as Nevada to protect our vulnerable population and ensure no further harm occurred while we further conducted our investigation. We too want more testing with rapid turnaround in Nevada, but the results of those tests must be accurate as they affect clinical care. We all need to understand why there is a discrepancy in results. It could be the actual test, it could be the collection of the specimen, or it could be related to the process itself. Regardless, we need to better understand the issue before encouraging mass use of such tools among our most vulnerable citizens. We are not saying the tests have no use, we are just saying pause for further review and additional training.”
Nevada health officials have issued a new technical bulletin rescinding the directive to stop all use of COVID-19 point of care (POC) antigen tests until the accuracy of the tests can be better evaluated, as directed by the U.S. HHS Office of the Secretary. This effectively allows the use of such tests in all skilled nursing facilities. However, state and local health officials continue to evaluate and investigate the discordant results to better understand the root cause and to provide guidance based upon those findings.
A PDF of the full press release is attached to this email and the new technical bulletin is online here.