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COVID testing in Pima County ahead of the holidays

Results typically take one to two days
ASU says saliva test for COVID-19 could be a game-changer amid long wait times
Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 20:34:14-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Thanksgiving is less than a week away, but this year is a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is asking people to limit travel and take extra precautions when doing so.

“We really should not be having other families over to our houses for Thanksgiving. This is a good year for an intimate family Thanksgiving and then ZOOM with your family, your extended family,” explained Dr. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of ASU Biodesign Institute

However, if people are planning on traveling testing is a good way to make sure you're not spreading COVID-19 to family.

Doctor LaBaer said ASU's saliva tests or PCR tests are the most accurate.

“That's not to say it’s 100% accurate because as I said, it depends on when you collect the sample,” he said.

Arizona State and the Pima County Health Department have created more opportunities to get tested with results typically coming back within a day or two.

It’s easy to sign up for testing — just book an appointment online.

There is currently one drive-thru location at Pima Community College's west campus and there are locations like the Ellie Towne Center also offering the test.

The health department said two more drive-thru centers open at the beginning of December.

However, even if you do get tested, Dr. LaBaer said to continue following guidelines.

"Testing is not a substitute for all the other mitigation factors that we need to pay attention to. They still are relevant and we still need to follow those, but it is a huge benefit to also know who's positive and who's not positive," he said.

Doctor LaBaer said the best line of defense is simply wearing your mask.

“It's very difficult to get the virus if two people are together and they're both wearing masks because the virus not only has to get past the person who's sick-- their mask, but it has to get into the mask of the other person,” he said.