How to Request COVID-19 BinaxNOW Point of Care Antigen Tests and Molecular

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018

Division of Quality Assurance: Notifications & Updates

Attn: Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

How to Request COVID-19 BinaxNOW Point of Care Antigen Tests and Molecular

Frequent testing and testing at symptom onset is an effective way of detecting the presence of COVID-19 early, slowing the spread in our long term care facilities. The Department of Health Services (DHS) is pleased to announce an increase in its support of COVID-19 testing in nursing homes and Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) to include BinaxNOW point of care antigen tests. This opportunity goes beyond the molecular lab based testing currently provided by the state. The state’s newest service offering is in addition to the BinaxNOW distribution received by some facilities directly from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Abbott.

Which type of test should you use?

  • Antigen tests are best used in outbreak testing and testing of symptomatic individuals. Lab-based molecular testing continues to be the “gold-standard”.
  • The BinaxNOW tests may be appropriate if preferred testing is not available in a timely manner.

How to request BinaxNOW tests
Facilities are invited to request a supply not to exceed what will be used in a two-week period to support staff and resident testing strategy. Tests are not intended to test visitors and family. To order BinaxNOW tests from the state, complete the BinaxNOW Antigen Test Request form. Requests are reviewed and distributed weekly.

Qualified facilities must:

  • Be licensed, registered, or certified by DHS
  • Maintain a current CLIA certificate or waiver
  • Have access to molecular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing

If your facility is conducting molecular PCR lab based testing with a state sponsored lab for routine and/or outbreak testing, you are still eligible to request BinaxNOW tests from the state inventory. Questions related to the State’s BinaxNOW program? E-mail

How to request molecular PCR tests
Nursing homes, Community-Based Resident Facilities (CBRFs), and Adult Family Homes (AFHs) are eligible to receive state funded molecular PCR tests for routine COVID-19 surveillance testing. This is voluntary for ALFs and not required by CMS or the state. Outbreak testing will still be provided to all ALFs upon request, including Residential Care Apartment Complexes (RCAC). Questions about molecular PCR tests?

Nursing Homes
All nursing homes are partnered with a lab for routine ongoing testing. There is no change to your ordering process.

Assisted Living Facilities
If you have never requested PCR supplies and are not paired with a lab, please complete and submit the Assisted Living COVID-19 Testing survey. If you have completed the survey and have been partnered with a lab, orders can be placed through the State of Wisconsin COVID-19 website.

Additional information
DHS recommends a two-tier testing strategy for use of SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests. Refer to COVID-19 Health Alert #17 for more information on the use of antigen tests. Thank you for your continued efforts and support.