The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs announced details of a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide additional diagnostic testing in Arizona, with a focus on Maryvale and south Phoenix.
The federal strike team, working with AZDHS, DEMA, and Phoenix Incident Command on logistics, will launch two testing sites that will provide free diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in these high-need, underserved communities.
“This rapid surge in testing will have an immediate impact in containing COVID-19 and help us to increase testing in communities where it’s needed most,” Gov. Doug Ducey stated in a release. “My thanks to our federal partners and their continued partnership and for continuing to step up to aid public health in Arizona.”
Testing begins Friday, July 17 for 12 days at South Mountain Park, 10919 S. Central Ave., and Maryvale High School, 3415 N. 59th Ave., both in Phoenix. Information on pre-registration for the testing sites will be available at www.azhealth.gov/SurgeTesting. To ensure an appointment and reduce wait times, participants are encouraged to pre-register.
Through this partnership, HHS has committed up to 5,000 tests per day — 2,500 at each site — to serve up to 60,000 Arizonans, according to the release. The test involves a self-administered nasal swab in a drive-thru stall. Those tested will receive five cloth face coverings. Results will be available within 24-48 hours from the time specimens arrive at the lab. The tested individual will receive the results through an online portal.
“Increased community testing is a critical public health tool to help us reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona,” Dr. Cara Christ, AZDHS director, stated in the release. “Over the last several months we have been working with partners across the state to increase COVID-19 testing. The high volume, rapid testing that our federal partners can provide will help increase testing to underserved areas of the state. We appreciate the help from our federal, state, and local partners to increase access to testing.”
The new partnership will further increase the number of people who are getting a diagnostic COVID-19 test. Since April, PCR diagnostic testing has increased nearly 570% from 52,866 tests in April to 367,992 tests in June, the release states. There have been 54,578 PCR tests reported in the first week of July.
“I’m proud to partner with local incident commands to get them the federal resources they need to conduct necessary testing,” stated Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, Arizona Director of Emergency and Military Affairs. “Flattening this curve requires a whole-of-community approach, and we will support Phoenix incident commands just as we did with the Navajo Nation.”
Arizonans can take the following precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:
Healthcare providers are offering testing at over 300 testing locations statewide. People are encouraged to follow the instructions on the testing website as many of the healthcare providers require individuals to pre-register for testing and may have other requirements to get tested. Testing locations along with appointment times and registration links can be found online at www.azhealth.gov/testing.