Coronavirus Testing

Courtesy / John Brown University

The spring semester is already underway for John Brown University graduate students, but officials have pushed back the start for undergraduate students to Feb. 1 to allow time for faculty and students to be tested. Tests must be administered on or after Jan. 25. Negative tests need to be uploaded to JBU by 2 p.m. Jan. 29.

Courtesy / NOWDiagnostics

Springdale-based medical diagnostic biotechnology firm, NOWDiagnostics, has developed a rapid COVID-19 antibody test. The test, which is pending approval for emergency use by the FDA, will be made available to clinics, labs and for at-home use. It requires a drop of blood and provides results within 15 minutes.

Courtesy / ArkansasCOVID.com

This month, the Arkansas Department of Health cleaned up its COVID-19 data, which included adding 20,000 missing test results to Washington County's data set. The missing tests were mostly negative, which decreased the county's positivity rate from 20 percent to about 12. The correction also means that Washington County was testing at about the same rate as Benton County this whole time.

Courtesy / BD Veritor

Hundreds of rapid antigen test devices and sampling kits to detect acute COVID-19, which yields results within a half hour or less, are being distributed to county public health clinics, to help ease coronavirus testing throughput congestion in Arkansas. The new antigen tests are also available at a growing number pharmacies and medical clinics around the state.

On Tuesday, lawmakers on the Arkansas Legislative Council convened a special meeting to consider two funding requests from the Department of Health. One of the requests for $7 million dollars would be allocated to the Northwest Arkansas Council to carry out testing, contact tracing and case management programs that specifically target the Latinx and Marshallese communities. The funding comes from the $1.25 billion the state received from the federal CARES Act.

The governor, lawmakers and community leaders are urging the Arkansas Legislative Council to meet and approve nearly $7 million in funding for a COVID-19 response plan specifically targeting the state's Latinx and Marshallese communities, which have been disproportionately affected by the outbreak. The plan includes testing, contact tracing and enhanced case management.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-District 86, represents west Fayetteville and for the past two months she's been concerned about the 25 to 29 percent positivity rate of COVID-19 testing in Washington County when the CDC recommends that figure should be below 10 percent. In this case, a high positivity rate means there aren't enough people being tested. Clowney discusses why that might be and ways to increase testing in the county.

Namida Lab, a private biotech startup headquartered in Fayetteville, commercial COVID-19 serology antibody testing to the public and expanded blood collection locations around the state.

Correction: We report that Namida Lab has obtained FDA approval. The lab's test kit in use is currently in the pipeline for Emergency Use Approval with the FDA.