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Arizona's coronavirus 'Testing Blitz' aims to detect more virus carriers

Arizona's coronavirus 'Testing Blitz' aims to detect more virus carriers
Posted at 9:13 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 14:54:32-04

Governor Doug Ducey has launched a coronavirus "testing blitz," as health officials have said widespread testing is an important prerequisite to reopening businesses and loosening social distancing restrictions.

Arizona's per-capital testing rate has lagged behind many states.

Gov. Ducey's blitz has set a goal to test between 30,000-60,000 more people over the next three weekends; however, Arizonans, especially those with coronavirus-like symptoms are encouraged not to wait until Saturday. About 67,000 people have been tested statewide since the beginning of the pandemic.

An Arizona Department of Health Services website gives details of blitz testing providers and locations in Maricopa, Pima and Coconino counties. According to the governor's office, more sites in rural Arizona will join the testing blitz soon. Find a testing location near you in the map below.

Last week, the Arizona Department of Health Services loosened criteria, making nearly everyone who wants a COVID-19 diagnostic test eligible to receive one. To qualify, a person must believe he or she was exposed to the virus and make a commitment to self-isolate for several days while waiting for results.

Two major testing providers are Banner Health and Walgreens, which have drive-up locations in Phoenix and Tucson.

Appointments must be made in advance by calling Banner's hotline or registering on Walgreens' website . A Banner representative said that traffic for their locations has been light enough, that people can make same-day appointments to get the nasal swab.

Getting tested will either put your mind at ease or help public health officials track the spread. Many coronavirus carriers have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Tracking exactly who has the virus allows public health officials to contain it to small pockets of people. This allows the rest of the state to start getting back to business.

In addition to Canyonlands Healthcare in Page , which is participating in the governor's blitz, Coconino County has sites that are performing drive-up testing . Some locations have limited hours.

Yavapai County Community Health Services has an online list of medical facilities that are doing coronavirus testing. Hours of operation and testing requirements may vary.

COVID-19 diagnostic testing can be obtained at Banner Payson Medical Center or Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center in Globe, according to Gila County's health department. Cobre Valley administrators say they are prioritizing symptomatic patients due to limited testing supplies.

The Navajo County Public Health Department and La Paz County Health Department advise people needing testing or information about coronavirus to call 211.

If you can't find testing near you on the testing blitz website, you can check with your regular doctor for options.

There is a different testing process for people who believe they previously contracted the virus and have recovered. Arizona-based Sonora Quest is offering COVID-19 antibody testing, which requires a doctor’s order at this time. With the order, patients can have blood drawn for the antibody test by making an appointment at select Sonora Quest locations, The company does expect to make this testing available through their direct-to-consumer menu in early May.