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An abundance of COVID tests available in Pima County

Posted at 9:30 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 01:20:42-04

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — "Testing in Pima County is pretty much available to anybody who's seeking a test."

Spencer Graves uttering those words is a relief to a community just as much as it is to the people charged with keeping that community healthy.

Graves is the Program Manager at the Pima County Health Department.

"There's a lot of resources made available to make sure that we can test everybody in the county."

Graves said mainly it's resources like tests, testing sites and the staff to administer those tests, some contracted from private labs.

"Accu Reference, Paradigm and a couple of other vendors that are helping us set these locations up making it easily accessible for anybody."

Funding from the federal 'Cares Act' helped pay for the tests and staff, Graves said.

"We are going to make sure that there is ample testing for as long as possible, until there's a vaccine."

A giant leap from where he said the department was when the pandemic started.

"That was our scariest moment."

Graves said, in particular, assisted living centers were places that had the highest need for testing back in March.

"We needed to make sure that they were having tests done regularly so they could identify who needed to be isolated."

Today, Graves said, there's an abundance of several kinds of tests, including rapid strep testing, which can yield results in 15 minutes.

"It's very different than what we're looking at today. We have ample testing and we are able to test people more than once if needed."

Now, you can sign up for an appointment at any number of test sites for a free test around the county.

"In March and April we were caught off guard, no one was ready, the whole supply chain broke. Now, we're definitely in a better space."