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Rio Nuevo assists with COVID tests

Lowering cost for downtown businesses
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Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 21:23:07-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - To help downtown businesses rebound from the coronavirus, Rio Nuevo is working to make it cheaper and easier to test workers for the virus.

Businesses have had to adapt to survive the coronavirus. Knowing that employees have been tested can be a confidence builder that could help bring customers back.

It’s Rio Nuevos' mission to help build downtown businesses. Now, it is working to buy COVID tests in bulk to bring the cost down so downtown businesses can afford them.

To make testing easier and less expensive they’re working to avoid the tests that require a medical professional to put a swab way up your nose. Instead you’d give a saliva sample and combine that with samples from your co-workers to test everyone with one test.

Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker says, “Obviously if it shows positive, someone on the staff is positive and then you would have to go back and test everyone, but there are technologies being developed, where we could provide the public some assurances that the employees had been tested.”

The medical community says that sort of test is valid, but because COVID-19 may take two weeks between exposure and a positive test, tests will have to be done again and again.

Chairman McCusker hopes mass testing and buying tests in bulk will keep the cost low enough for businesses to afford.

“If it's 100 bucks a test and you got 25 employees, you know that gets pretty expensive but this idea of pooling means you literally are doing one test for the entire staff on duty. And you only then have to test the individuals if that test shows positive.”

But those tests and the customer confidence they should help build are part of the price of the rebound.