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Pima County's free COVID-19 testing continues for now

Covid testing
Posted at 12:19 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 14:23:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County's free COVID-19 testing will continue.

On Thursday, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry proposed that the county should stop testing for COVID-19 because the state may not reimburse the costs.

During a joint session with the Board of Supervisors and the Tucson City Council Friday, Huckleberry said testing at county sites will continue until March 2, the date of the next board meeting. He said he thinks there will be more clarity on funding from the state. He could also ask the board to hand over contracts to the state.

Board Supervisor Matt Heinz told KGUN9 that the state has done the vast majority of COVID-19 testing in Maricopa County, but Pima County has picked up the tab of nearly half the cost of testing.

Huckelberry's change of course comes at the same time the Arizona Department of Health Services is making $100 million immediately available to counties to support COVID-19 testing.

ADHS says it is "coordinating with local health departments to immediately allocate an additional $100 million in federal funding intended for staffing, laboratory testing, informatics, disease surveillance and other activities critical to combating COVID-19."

In a news released, ADHS said:

"Arizona received $418,951,131 as part of the $19 billion allocated to jurisdictions through the existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) cooperative agreement at the end of January. Under its funding agreement with the CDC, ADHS must submit the complete budget by mid-March. Following approval, funding will support projects across the state undertaken from Jan. 15 on. The immediate $100 million allocation is intended to provide critical funding to local health departments to continue to support testing efforts statewide as ADHS develops the overall budget."