Shortage of rapid-test kids may complicate return to school, Alonso says

Florida Department of Health Director of Palm Beach County Dr. Alina Alonso talks to the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. (WPEC)

Although we’re still in the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of school kids in Palm Beach County will return to brick-and-mortar classrooms next week.

The county’s top health official, Dr. Alina Alonso, says this may be complicated by a shortage of rapid-result COVID-19 test kits.

“Most kids are gonna have runny noses, sniffles, allergies. All these things. We’re gonna have to send these kids home because we don’t have rapid testing. We need to get that rapid testing from the feds. They bought up the whole supply,” said Dr. Alonso.

She also is expressing concerns that one of the fastest-growing categories of people with COVID-19 is the 15-24 age group. She says they’re having fun at house parties, which can lead to the spread of COVID-19.

“What’s happening is partying late at night, large congregations, house parties. They’re having fun, like any in that age group are having. Getting those kids that are lined up 150-200 waiting to get into a bar to party at night, that’s what we have to be able to stop,” she explained.

Dr. Alonso is warning the next 4-6 weeks will be difficult, as schools reopen in Palm Beach County.

“We were hoping to have them by the time we opened the schools, rapid testing so the nurses could identify and test the child right there," Dr. Alonso said.

Dr. Alonso says when kids return to classrooms, the ones who are ill will be sent home because they might have the coronavirus.

“We need to get that rapid testing from the feds. They bought up the whole supply," she explained.