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HHS testing official warns Nevada must drop antigen testing ban

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COVID-19 widespread testing is crucial to fighting the pandemic, but is there enough testing? The answer is in the positivity rates.

USA TODAY

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ top testing official said Friday Nevada’s ban on rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes could “endanger lives” and urged state health officials to immediately reverse course.

Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Nevada would face unspecified enforcement actions if state health officials did not remove an order instructing nursing homes to discontinue use of point-of-care antigen testing machines made by two companies, Quidel and Becton, Dickinson.

HHS  “expects immediate action from Nevada to reverse its unwise, uninformed and unlawful unilateral prohibition,” Giroir said Friday in a phone call with reporters. “Lives are at stake and our administration is not going to allow actions to risk our seniors or any other vulnerable or underserved population.”

Nevada health officials did not immediately return calls or emails from USA TODAY.

On Oct. 2, Nevada officials ordered nursing homes and other long-term facilities to discontinue use of the antigen testing instruments authorized by Food and Drug Administration “until the accuracy of the tests can be better evaluated.”

 (Photo: Becton, Dickinson)

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services chief medical officer and two other high-ranking health officials cited a high rate of false positive results at eight facilities that used the antigen tests, according to a bulletin for nursing homes and health-care providers.

But Giroir said Nevada’s ban represents a misunderstanding of the role of testing machines in screening large numbers of people who might unknowingly pass the virus to others.

HHS has purchased and sent rapid antigen testing instruments to nearly 14,000 nursing homes nationwide as part of a strategy to protect vulnerable seniors. Deaths in nursing homes represent up

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Drop ‘unwise, uninformed and unlawful’ ban on rapid testing in nursing homes

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ top testing official said Friday Nevada’s ban on rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes could “endanger lives” and urged state health officials to immediately reverse course.

Why widespread COVID-19 testing is crucial to fighting the coronavirus pandemic

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Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Nevada would face unspecified enforcement actions if state health officials did not remove an order instructing nursing homes to discontinue use of point-of-care antigen testing machines made by two companies, Quidel and Becton, Dickinson.

HHS  “expects immediate action from Nevada to reverse its unwise, uninformed and unlawful unilateral prohibition,” Giroir said Friday in a phone call with reporters. “Lives are at stake and our administration is not going to allow actions to risk our seniors or any other vulnerable or underserved population.”



Brett Giroir wearing a suit and tie: Adm. Brett Giroir, director of U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing, looks on as he testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 31, 2020.


© Kevin Dietsch, AFP via Getty Images
Adm. Brett Giroir, director of U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing, looks on as he testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 31, 2020.

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Nevada health officials did not immediately return calls or emails from USA TODAY.

On Oct. 2, Nevada officials ordered nursing homes and other long-term facilities to discontinue use of the antigen testing instruments authorized by Food and Drug Administration “until the accuracy of the tests can be better evaluated.”

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services chief medical officer and two other high-ranking health officials cited a high rate of false positive results at eight facilities that used the antigen tests, according to a bulletin for nursing homes and health-care providers.

But Giroir said Nevada’s ban represents

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Drop it like a panda at Tokyo’s new Ueno Park bathroom : The Asahi Shimbun

People hearing nature’s call near Ueno Zoo in Tokyo can now seek inspiration from some of the institution’s finest animals.

Those who use the redesigned public restroom in Ueno Park and grace its toilet seats are greeted by murals of popular animals–a panda, a giraffe, a lion and a penguin–as seen from behind, drawn on the interior of the stalls.

The design is intended to make the person sitting on the toilet feel like they are sharing a special moment with the animals.

The designers also added decorative objects reminiscent of animal droppings to help provide the bathroom’s ambience.

The Tokyo metropolitan government launched a project in spring 2019 to make the public bathroom, located near the park’s iconic fountain, stand out and draw attention.

Situated near many first-rate museums in the Ueno district, the redesigned bathroom, called the “Ueno toilet museum,” is a recent creation by students from the nearby Tokyo University of the Arts.

After being approached about the project by Tokyo officials, the art students came up with an idea to make the bathroom a space where users can ponder the meaning of poop, an essential part of daily life for humans and animals alike.

About 40 students from the fields of architecture, design and painting worked on the restroom renewal.

The project was a little backed up, though. It took nearly a year and a half for them to complete it, finishing about six months behind schedule due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The restroom walls are clad with “poop tiles,” which are shaped like the animals’ droppings. The rooms are designed to evoke the animals’ natural habitats, allowing visitors to feel like they are sharing a moment with the animals as they relieve themselves alongside them.

Tomoya Maki, a 25-year-old graduate student who led the

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